Conditions Report - Statewide
This can be a strange time of year for many anglers, rivers are gearing into full winter mode with ice starting to build in the higher elevation streams and many lakes are beginning to cap over with ice taking the chances of shore or boat fishing away. We have experienced some milder weather lately which has left us in a fall/winter limbo which can be especially difficult for the lake anglers. The good news for ice fisherman is it appears that we will get another decent storm system moving in this weekend or as early as the end of this week. Summit County, for example, is getting some precipitation currently then the storm moves on giving way to some cold, nightly temperatures which will be perfect for icing over the reservoirs. Most of the state can expect this storm to bring in some colder weather and possibly precipitation in a lot of counties. For reservoirs along the Front Range, the walleye and bass seasons are coming to a close but the trout bite is on. The rivers and streams are entering winter mode, especially in the higher elevations. Low flows, cold temperatures, and clear water mean the fish are stacking in the deeper pools and runs. Nymph and midge rigs will be the go to bugs moving forward but streamers are still going to get you fish for a couple more weeks. Send us pictures of those catches so you can show off your angling fame to your friends and family!
Colorado Fishing Atlas
Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
Eleven Mile State Park
As of 11/30/2018, reports are coming in that the ice has capped around 95 percent of the lake. It is slowly but surely starting to freeze over. Experts do warn with the mild temperatures recently that the ice is not very thick in many areas and if the wind picks up, the ice will become even more unstable so best to avoid ice fishing the reservoir for now. The forecast is showing some colder temperatures around the corner, in particular, this weekend. Keep an eye on reports or contact a local bait and tackle shop to get the most current ice conditions before heading out there. Based off of the late, fall fishing reports, many anglers are expecting the early ice fishing to be excellent for trout and bring in new pike fishing opportunities. Kokanee fishing could also pick up as it was very slow in the fall. Guides suggest that January is going to be about the time to expect the salmon fishing to get better.
Eleven Mile State Park
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
As of 11/26/2018, Spinney Mountain State Park has closed for the season.
Spinney Mountain State Park
Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon
As of 11/30/2018, the flows have bumped significantly in the river system but the question is for how long. Most likely they will settle back down but for now, take advantage as the fish will be feeding and less likely to spook. Not much will change in terms of fly selection but obviously, the big difference maker will be getting the correct amount of weight so the flies get to the bottom. Guides suggest using various baetis and egg patterns. This weekend is showing some cloud coverage and possibly some precipitation which should improve the fishing as well and also will also make for some prime streamer fishing opportunities. Flows: 100 CFS (11/30/2018)
Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon
As of 11/30/2018, flows have recently been bumped up almost to the historical averages but are also trending downward. The fishing remains good and ice has not accumulated much especially in the lower sections. Since a lot of the stream does not get much daylight, guides suggest waiting until the afternoon when things warm up a bit. This weekend could be a prime fishing opportunity as we will get some good cloud cover and cooler temperatures but not frigid. Fish will be feeding in the deeper runs and pools. Also, an important consideration will be the higher flows and cloud cover, fish will not be as easily spooked which will be good. Fly patterns are going to remain about the same so tie on your Hare's Ears, Copper Johns, midges in the black and brown patterns and even some smaller emergers. Flows: 32.2 CFS (11/30/2018)
As of 11/30/2018, ice at the reservoir has been reported at around 6-8 inches thick in areas. Although that is sufficient for walking on, we are still in the early ice fishing season window and South Park has had mild weather like a lot of the state so caution is advised when heading out there. The fishing reports are really good so far this season. Anglers are experiencing 30 minutes to an hour of nonstop action then an hour or two of no bites. Guides suggest the fish are cruising around in search of food so patience could be key if you find a decent spot. Anglers are having luck close to shore but at the edge of the weed lines where there is depth but still close to the thick vegetation.
North Sterling State Park
As of 11/30/2018, there is no safe ice yet and water temperatures have been close to 40 degrees with the mild weather we have been having. The lake is about 15 feet down but slowly rising. The fishing is rated fair for walleye, crappie and wiper. The reservoir is closed to boating. The inlet is on and outlet is off.
North Sterling State Park
Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado
Arkansas River-Lake Pueblo
As of 11/30/2018, the fishing remains decent but somewhat crowded as the real estate for the trout is decreasing as they begin to stack in their winter positions. Blue winged olive, midge and trico activity have all been strong lately. The trico spinner fall has been observed in the late mornings and evenings while the midges are active during the afternoon hours. Pheasant tails, blue winged olives, trico emergers, and some baetis nymphs are all good options. Streamers and egg patterns might also be a good idea to tie on your rigs. The weekend appears to have some cloud coverage on the way which will be great for streamers. Flows: 50.5 CFS (11/30/2018)
Arkansas River at Pueblo Reservoir
As of 11/30/2018, the walleye are still biting in particular that vampire shift at night. During the day anglers are getting good catches around 25-30 feet of water when vertical jigging slap Rapalas and jigging Rapalas. At night the walleye are moving to the shallows chasing bait fish so shad imitations are working well. Crappie are also a hot item on the reservoir right now and hitting live baits especially minnows. Pro Rogue in the clown colorations are doing very well for both the walleye and the crappie at the moment. The bass fishing has been very slow but some reports of catches are still coming in. Right now is a good opportunity to take advantage of the remaining open water fishing before the bite really slows down for the winter.
As of 11/30/2018, recent reports are showing some really good fishing. The mild weather in this freestone river stretch of the Arkansas has been very favorable for fishing as the trout have been very active. The fish will still be primarily stacked in their winter waters but they have been feeding more heavily. This week's forecast is similar to last week's until this weekend when temperatures drop and some precipitation hits. The temperatures for the weekend do not appear to be too cold during the day but nightly temperatures look to dip into the teens so fishing will be best once things warm up in the late morning or early afternoon. Leading with a golden stonefly followed by a baetis nymph, midges or caddis larva are recommended. Fish will typically be in the deeper runs but during the warmer days, they have been observed moving into some of the riffles to feed on some of the insect drifts. Flows: 245 CFS (11/30/2018)
Upper Arkansas - Near Salida
Trinidad Lake State Park
As of 11/30/2018, The lake is at 714 surface acres with a surface elevation of 6183.16. Surface water temperatures are around 35-40 degrees. South Shore fishermen are catching trout on homemade dough bait, PowerBait (green color) and worms all along the shoreline which has been decent with all species of fish. The river at Reilly Canyon has slowed down to a trickle and heavy willows/vegetation has emerged around the lake. The most action for fish is occurring in the early mornings and late evenings. Ice has been forming in the protected coves, but is still extremely thin. Boating is closed for the season.
Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area
This 762-acre impoundment is located off of E. Quincy Avenue, two miles east of E-470. As of 11/30/2018, the reservoir is closed to boating which includes all hand launched watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, float tubes etc. Trout fishing from shore has been really good lately! Best areas have been from the dam using PowerBait from a slip rig and bright colored spoons and spinners. Some nice size rainbows from 16-20 inch ranges have been caught recently. For more information call 303-326-8425. Park hours December 7:00am-5:30pm. Closed December 25th.
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 11/30/2018, not much new for Cherry Creek. The fishing has been reported as fair and the walleye bite is wrapping up like the rest of the metro reservoirs. Some walleye can still be caught using shallow reactionary bite techniques but the fishing will most likely be inconsistent.
Cherry Creek Reservoir
This 1,356 impoundment is located in Chatfield State Park. As of 11/30/2018, the walleye bite has tailed off and will probably be about done here soon for the season. A few reports are still coming in with some catches but they have been few and far between lately. The bass fishing has remained decent as it also is coming to its end. The smallmouths will be found in their typical stomping grounds such as the gravel pits, on rocky points, and along the shelves. The trout bite is what has really picked up lately and should continue to be decent as we head into ice fishing season, granted this year's weather allows for it in the metro area.
Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
As of 11/30/2018, fishing has been decent lately with the warmer temperatures. Ice has not built up much yet in the lower sections of the river so take advantage of the good wading opportunities. No changes inflows over the last couple of weeks so fly patterns and techniques will be essentially the same for the Silverthorne section. Below Silverthorne, the egg patterns have been really popular with the trout. Dredging a midge along the bottom will get to the most fish however so take advantage of the sight fishing opportunities and cast the rig upstream enough so the terminal fly gets to the bottom before reaching the trout. Streamer fishing is still in the game and guides are suggesting Li'l Kims and Tan Peanut Envys to get the bigger fish. Flows: 54.8 CFS (11/30/2018)
Blue River - Silverthorne
Frying Pan River
As of 11/30/2018, flows haven't really budged on the Frying Pan so expect this to be the norm for another month or so. The hatches are down to just midges and baetis basically and the strongest hatches occurring around 11am to 3pm. Brown trout are still spawning so REDDS are apparent and need to be avoided and left alone. Look for the flows to be increased in early January and be prepared with some mysis shrimp patterns closer to the tailwater section when this occurs. Some of the current, hot patterns to try out include split case blue winged olives, Cane midge, and Tim's mysis in the #20-22 sizes. Streamers are still an effective technique so consider some slump busters and autumn splendors for a chance at some bigger fish. Flows: CFS 41.2 (11/30/2018)
Frying Pan - Ruedi
As of 11/30/2018, winter fishing is the name of the game now on the Colorado. Take your time in the mornings and enjoy a hearty breakfast and a hot coffee as the fishing will be slow early in the day until temperatures pick up a bit. 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. Streamer fishing is still an option and could be a great technique this weekend with the cloud coverage we are supposed to get in this section of the state. Flows: 462 CFS (11/30/2018)
Colorado River - Near Kremmling
Yampa River - Chuck Lewis Wildlife Area
As of 11/30/2018, the fishing has been good lately especially during the days that have some overcast and even precipitation. Ice is beginning to build up in areas so fishing will be limited to the open water sections. Your typical nymphs and midge patterns are doing well in the deeper pools and runs but don't be surprised if some hatches come off and encourage some surface activity during those overcast days. The forecast is showing some colder temperatures and snow which should be great for fishing given there is not much ice accumulation. Good flies to consider for your rigs are leading with a leach or egg pattern followed by a juju baetis, RS2, black beauty, or a blue winged olive pattern for a dry fly pattern. Flows below Stagecoach Reservoir: CFS 30.1 (11/30/2018)
As of 11/30/2018, the ice has been getting thicker by the day. The roads are in good shape and accessible. There are about 3 inches of snow on top of the ice. The last ice measurement at Lake John was about 5 and a half inches. The fishing is good right now with mealworms, wax worms, and HD Ice Lures. All roads are accessible at Cowdrey and the Delaney's. Cowdrey measured at about 6 inches of ice but there is still some open water so be careful while on the lake. All of the Delaney's measured between 5.5-6 inches of ice and have about 3 inches of snow cover on the ice.
Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
As of 11/30/2018, the river has continued to fish well as we have not seen too cold of temperatures to bring in an abundance of ice yet. Ice is developing in some areas however but the river is definitely fishable in many spots. Baetis nymphs and midge larva are working well paired with long, small leaders as the water is gin clear and low allowing the trout to sense your presence more easily. The blue winged olives and midges are hatching sporadically during the mid-afternoons especially on the cloudy days. Parachute Adam's and Griffith's gnats are working well for topwater action. This could be a great time to get out on the Gunnison as the crowds are very low and the weather is still allowing for some good fishing as the ice has not overtaken the system and the temperatures are still mild. Flows near Gunnison tunnel: CFS 324 (11/30/2018)
San Juan River - Near Pagosa Springs
As of 11/30/2018, the late fall fishing season has hit the river as the flows are dropping to the winter normal CFS. Water is going to remain clear as flows drop so sight fishing will improve. Nymph rigs are going to be the main story especially with bigger attractors such as a Pat's Rubberlegs, stoneflies, and egg patterns. Trailing patterns include Copper Johns, Prince nymphs, and caddis larvas all ranging in the #16-20. The midges guides are suggesting to use include Mercury midges, Disco midges and Black midge pupas in the #18-20 range. Like most of the Colorado rivers, the streamer fishing is still strong and the season is still a ways away from being considered over. Flows: 56.1 CFS (11/30/2018)
San Juan River
As of 11/30/2018, reports are coming in that the catch and release section of the river is fishing really well as of late. The best time of day has been between 11am and 4pm when using midges and blue winged olives. Fish have really started to stack up in their winter positions in preparation of the upcoming season. The browns are still spawning so please be careful where you tread and cast your flies. Flows have remained pretty low and clarity clear so lighter rigs and tippet will be a good idea. Streamers are still an option as well given the favorable conditions of cloud cover and mild temperatures. 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 55.6 (11/30/2018)
Blue Mesa Reservoir
As of 11/30/2018, ice has been forming nicely along the banks of the reservoir especially in the Iola Basin. Reports of about 8 inches of ice in areas closer to shore. The ice does taper off so be careful if you are trying to get out away from the shorelines. Really good reports of trout are coming in lately but not much in terms of kokanee or lake trout. Ice anglers are catching trout off of chartreuse-colored jigs tipped with mealworms and gold minnow baits at about 10-15 feet of water. When the ice caps over sufficiently 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. It is still early ice season so extra caution is needed and the buddy system is vital while out there. Check in with a local tackle shop to get the latest ice conditions as they will change daily.
Blue Mesa Reservoir