Conditions Report - Statewide
It is still not time to hang up the waders and fly rods. Winter can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding times of the year to fish. Trout throughout the state slow their feeding patterns as the metabolism decreases. Another tough part of winter fishing is less than ideal conditions on the rivers. Flows are low, water temperatures are cold, and water is crystal clear. We are seeing these typical conditions across many of the flowing waters in the state. Tailwaters are still available for fishing and will keep rivers relatively ice free for varied distances downstream. Top release tailwaters are releasing much cooler water so the open water below does not extend very far. Bottom release tailwaters release warmer water in comparison and can keep rivers open for much longer stretches. Statewide we are really starting to see the canyon sections of rivers and streams with a lot of shelf ice that makes fishing very tough. Stretches of rivers that receive more sunlight throughout the day are staying open better but may have some slush flow in the mornings that will dissipate by around 11:00am.
Colorado Fishing Atlas
Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
Eleven Mile State Park
As of 2/20/2019, the ice is reported at 17 to 20 inches on most areas of the lake with 6 to 10 inches of snow on top. The wind can cause the snow to drift in some areas. Fishing for trout has been very good the bite has definitely moved to an early morning bite, before and as the sun is coming up. Trout are being caught in many different areas, some fish are being caught in all different water depths, the fish deeper seem to be suspended about 15 feet below the ice. Many different baits have been successful in catching fish. Large tube jigs on the bottom have been working along with spoons for the more aggressive fish. Kokanee Salmon are also being reported as good, look to the deeper waters to find schools of salmon suspended 15 to 35 feet below the ice, some sort of attractant such as a set of cowbells on a jigging machine is important to keep fish in your area. Heavier spoons have been working well, such as Kastmasters or Swedish Pimples. Northern Pike fishing is still sporadic but is expected to pick up closer to the late ice season as the fish will move into the shallows for the spawn.
Eleven Mile State Park
Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon
As of 2/22/2019, flows have decreased over the last two weeks and fish are expected to start holding tight to the typical winter holding spots, being deeper slow runs that will have open and thus a bit warmer water. Look for small midges and emerger patterns to be productive in the open runs and deeper pools. During the winter season it is important to try to drift flies mid water column rather than along the bottom. There has been some slush flow on the coldest morning in the sections further downstream from the tailwaters. Fishing is best between 10 am and 3 pm. Flows: 80.1 CFS (2/22/2019)
Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon
As of 2/18/2019, ice at the reservoir has been reported between 20 and 24 inches. Fishing remains good for trout in the 16 to 19 inch range. There have also been reports of some much larger fish being caught. White and pink tube jigs tipped with waxworms or mealworms seems to be working well. The best bite is being reported in the early morning hours to late morning with the bite dying off quickly after that.
North Sterling State Park
As of 2/12/2019, the lake is being reported as full with no water coming in and no water going out. There are some larger pockets of open water near the middle of the lake. The edges do have some open water. The ice that remains is unstable and only being reported around 2 inches thick. Fishing report - not enough reports coming in for reliable information since ice conditions have only recently allowed fishing.
North Sterling State Park
As of 2/21/2019, ice in the marina cove ranged from 5 to 6 inches. Ice on the main body of the reservoir ice is thinner around 3 inches with some of the reservoir beginning to open back up. Fishing is good for trout using spoons or small jigs tipped with waxworms. Anglers have also reported success during the low light hours catching walleye in the deeper portions of the marina area using a minnow on a jig. Reports of Yellow Perch and Crappie have been few and far between.
As of 2/17/2019, ice on the south side of the reservoir is reported about 5 inches thick, the recent cold weather has helped to keep the ice on the lake and harden up most spots. Fishermen are reporting success with jigs and meal worms. Walleye, Crappie and some smaller Wipers are being caught near the pump house. Please use caution on the ice and always carry safety equipment such as a PFD, whistle, ice picks, and a spud bar.
Jackson Lake State Park
Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado
Arkansas River-Lake Pueblo
As of 2/22/2019, the flows have stabilized and the river is running low, although this is relatively normal for the winter season it can still make fishing tough. The water clarity is fantastic so be sure to use a stealthy approach in an attempt not to spook fish. Look to smaller midges and generalist nymph patterns to be producing. On a warm sunny day do not be afraid to tie on a dry fly and see if you can get some surface action as this tailwater section is known to have sporadic mayfly and trico hatches throughout the winter. Flows: 33.40 CFS (2/22/2019)
Arkansas River at Pueblo Reservoir
As of 2/16/2019, the water level is slowly rising and the lake is approximately 65 percent of full pool. The visibility is good although there is some debris flowing in and is more noticeable on the west side of the reservoir. Current water temperatures are in the mid 30's. Fish activity has remained slow with the low water temperatures. Expect the spring fishing to be good as water levels rise with runoff and water temperatures warm.
Arkansas River Salida to Canon City
As of 2/22/2019, water temperatures are in the mid 30's and some ice flow is present on the coldest mornings. Clarity has been good upstream of the Vallie Bridge, below Coaldale the conditions deteriorate due to runoff from the Hayden Pass Fire burn scar. The shaded portions of the reservoir have considerable ice shelfs. Fishing is productive during the warmest parts of the day nymphing small midge patterns mid water column in the deeper sections and slower runs. Flows: 280 CFS (2/22/2019)
Arkansas River - Near Salida
Trinidad Lake State Park
As of 2/20/2019, The lake is at 742 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6185.68. The lake has very little ice left on it and fishing from shore is now possible. No reports from shore fisherman as of yet, fishing is thought to be slow as the open water season begins.
Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area
This 762-acre impoundment is located off of E. Quincy Avenue, two miles east of E-470. As of 2/14/2019, current ice conditions range from 0 to 7 inches with the thickest ice in the back of coves. The main body of the reservoir recently froze and is reading 3 to 3.5 inches thick. Use extreme caution, the water level is rising and the aeration system is on. No open water currently for shore fishing. Trout fishing success varies from slow to good using mealworms and jigs. Perch action is sporadic with some good reports occasionally, otherwise perch fishing has been slow. February park hours: 6:30am to 6:30pm. For more information call 303-326-8425.
This 881-acre impoundment is located in Cherry Creek State Park, in Aurora. There are two entrances to the park, the east entrance off S. Dayton St. and the west entrance off S. Parker Rd. As of 2/20/2019, ice conditions vary in areas of the lake but average ice thickness is around 4 to 7 inches. As always caution is advised and it is important to carry all safety equipment for a self-rescue if needed. Fishing has been fair for walleye with fish being caught on jigging spoons and Jigging Raps in 13 to 18 feet of water. The walleye bite seems to be best in the last hour before sunset or in the low light dawn hour. Fishing for panfish is fair to good fishing submerged trees or weed beds from 10 to 19 feet of water. Minnows and spoons seem to be most productive, the key is moving around until you find the fish. The best locations are where mudflats give way to deeper water and fishing right on the break lines.
Cherry Creek Reservoir
This 1,356 impoundment is located in Chatfield State Park. As of 2/20/2019, the lake is iced over with ice thicknesses ranging from 4 to 8 inches. The ice on the south end of the reservoir is more solid and consistent compared to ice on the north end. As always caution is advised any time you are venturing out onto the ice. The fishing has been sporadic with some anglers catching decent numbers of trout on spoons tipped with waxworms or mealworms. There have been some nice rainbows caught through the ice this season. Anglers have been reporting sporadic success catching walleye, perch, and smallmouth on the underwater structure near deep water throughout the lake. Minnows seem to be helpful in catching fish recently.
Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
As of 2/22/2019, due to the consistent flows and water temperatures that have been recorded recently at this tailwater the fishing has also remained relatively consistent. Look for fish to be holding to the slightly deeper sections. Good flies to use are small, size 18-22, midge as well as Mysis shrimp. A good strategy would be to use a midge and mysis pattern together to garner as much attention from fish as possible. Another key is a small strike indicator that will not spook fish on this heavily fished stretch of river. Flows: 52.9 CFS (2/22/2019)
Blue River - Silverthorne
Frying Pan River
As of 2/22/2019, flows have recently stabilized on the Frying Pan near Ruedi Reservoir. Expect the tailwater section to be the most productive during these winter months. Some of the current, hot patterns to try out include Cane midge, black beauty and mysis shrimp in the #20-22 sizes. As with most winter fly fishing allow the fish to warm up a bit and you will be able to fish for the actively foraging trout. Flows: CFS 64.1 (2/22/2019)
Frying Pan - Ruedi
As of 2/22/2019, winter fishing is the name of the game now on the Colorado. Fish are becoming less active in the cold weather so it is important to fish the warmest part of the day giving the fish a chance to become more active. Ice is starting to affect the well shaded areas of the river so look for runs that receive more sunlight throughout the day. Heavier nymph rigs with Tungsten bead heads are going to get the flies to the fish. Point flies include stoneflies, worms, and egg patterns. Tailing patterns should include your midge and emergers such as Zebra midges and Flashback emergers. It wouldn't be a terrible idea to try to fish a jerk bait slowly for the larger slightly more aggressive fish. Flows: 368 CFS (2/22/2019)
Colorado River - Near Kremmling
As of 2/7/2019, 22 to 24 inches of ice with 3 to 6 inches of snow cover with drifting near the edges. The water clarity is great, and you can see all the way to the bottom! The fishing is starting to really pick up again after the tournament in early January. There is still a large range of fish being caught with most fish between 14 and 19 inches. Lures that have been producing waxworms, mealworms, and small jigs with plastic tails tipped with a waxworm, and gold spoons.
As of 2/7/2019, North Delaney: 24 to 26 inches of ice with 3 to 6 inches of snow cover with drifting near the edges. Fishing feedback seems to be slow. South Delaney: 22 to 24 inches of ice with 3 to 6 inches of snow cover with drifting near the edges. Feedback on fishing is that south is more active than North Delaney but has definitely slowed since the Delaney's Tournament.
As of 2/20/2019, currently anglers are reporting catching rainbows in the 16 - 18 inch range on PowerBait and ice jigs. The lake has approximately two feet of ice, however, please use caution when accessing the ice for fishing. The gravel pit and south road are closed for the season. We have approximately 4 feet of snow on the ground. The Visitor Center is open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Vega State Park
As of 2/15/2019, ice fishing has been good at the south end of Highline Lake, near the dam. Crappie, bass, and catfish are being caught. There is some open water on the lake that the geese have been keeping open. The open water does not quite extend to the shore so there is limited opportunity for shore fishing at this time.
Highline Lake State Park
Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
As of 2/22/2019, reports are coming in that the catch and release section of the river is fishing really well as of late. As one of the best tailwaters in the state, the fish are weary and it may take a lot of work to get a strike. The best time of day has been between 11am and 3pm. Fish have really started to stack up in their winter positions in preparation of the upcoming season. Mysis Shrimp patterns should be an effective fly for the winter months. Flows have remained pretty low and clear so lighter rigs and tippet will be a good idea. Brown trout will also be looking for high calorie meals once the spawn wraps up so a few streamers in your arsenal will be a good idea to have on you for the next few weeks. Flows: CFS 56.8 (2/22/2019)
Blue Mesa Reservoir
As of 2/18/2019, the entire lake has capped with varying ice conditions from 6 inches to 18 inches thick. Really good reports of trout are coming in and a few lake trout have been caught through the ice in Iola Basin as well as Elk Creek. Anglers are catching trout off of chartreuse colored jigs tipped with mealworms and gold minnow baits at about 10-15 feet of water. Anglers are starting to report some better salmon action in various areas of the lake. Now that ice has formed in the deeper areas of the lake, look to start using tube jigs in the white, pumpkin seed or even green colors to fish for the lake trout. Check in with a local tackle shop to get the latest ice conditions as they will change daily.
Blue Mesa Reservoir
Taylor Park Reservoir
As of 2/20/2019, the lake is capped with layered ice, anglers are reporting a layer of 3 inches of ice followed by about 4 inches of slush and finally 10 to 12 inches of hard ice. Snow is beginning to make the walk down to the lake from the paved road very difficult unless you are on a snowmobile. Fishing for smaller lake trout has been fair using darker colored tube jigs as close to the bottom as you can jig them. Some trout have been caught suspended off the bottom. Look to the east part of the reservoir for pike fishing as there are some large pike present in this reservoir that will slide up shallow as spring approaches.
Taylor Park Reservoir
As of 2/5/2019, the lake level is 6015.22 feet and the water temperature at the boat ramp in Arboles is approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit. There have been no recent reports from fisherman as to how the fishing has been. The boat ramp at Two Rivers Marina is expected to re-open on March 1st.
Navajo State Park