Arkansas River Headwaters
The upper river is not productive during the winter (December through February). Anglers are better served by travelling downstream to the Salida area during this time. Sunny days following warm nights will provide the best action. The middle river drops around 1,000 feet in elevation between Buena Vista and Salida. At this time of the year, the resulting difference in water temperature is substantial and has an impact on the aquatic insect activity as well as the metabolic activity of the fish. There is still plenty of good fishing in the Milk Run, Browns Canyon, and the Big Bend area. Expect fish to be actively feeding subsurface on midges, though they will also take caddis larvae and golden stonefly nymphs. With these low flows, Browns Canyon is easily accessed by wading across the river at Hecla Junction. With the colder weather and shorter days, expect Bighorn Sheep Canyon trout to be finalizing their winter plans. Warm, sunny days will still find plenty of fish on the feed in the pocket water with mid-speed current and good structure, but expect more and more fish to be congregating in the deeper, slower runs that we term "winter water". There they can be best tempted by striated midge patterns (black beauties, zebras, etc...), golden stonefly nymphs, and "meat & potatoes" nymphs like pheasant tails, hares ears, and princes. Focus fishing efforts on the period of peak sun/warmth between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (Courtesy of ArkAnglers).
Clear Creek Reservoir*
The reservoir currently has about 10 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout near the boat ramp using meal worms, jigs, and PowerBait.
The reservoir currently has about 12 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout using meal worms, earth worms, PowerBait, and jigs.
The lakes currently have about 10 inches of ice.
Just a reminder: Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures only.
De Weese Reservoir
There is currently about 6 to 12 inches of ice varying throughout the reservoir. The best ice is below the lodge (12 inches) and by the dam (6 to 8 inches). Anglers have had success catching average sized trout with a few in the 18 to 20 inch range using jigs tipped with meal and wax worms.
The reservoir currently has about 10 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout using PowerBait, grubs, and meal worms.
The lake currently has about 12 inches of ice. There is a spring near the center of the lake that keeps the ice weak in that area, so please use caution. Anglers have had success catching trout with most types of bait.
San Isabel Lake
The lake currently has about 5 to 10 inches of ice. There is open water near the spillway and the shorelines are still soft, with cracks and ridges along the ice due to windy conditions. The action has been slow recently, but anglers have had success catching few trout. While ice fishing is possible, extreme caution is advised.
The reservoir currently has about 10 inches of ice. Anglers have had success catching trout with jigs and PowerBait.
The current temperature is in the low 30 degree range. Anglers have had success catching trout along the shoreline using PowerBait, doughbait, and worms. There have been a few reports of perch as well. Ice has started forming in the Reilly Canyon area and along the south shore. At the moment, it is extremely thin, but has been staying throughout the day and continuing forming over night.
Just a reminder: boating has closed for the season as of December 1st.
Trinidad Lake State Park
The reservoir currently has about 8 inches of ice. Anglers have been catching average sized trout using jigs, lures, PowerBait, and meal worms.
The lakes currently have about 8 inches of ice. The ice is still very thin near the boat ramp and no vehicles are allowed on the lake at this time. Anglers have had success catching trout using jigs with sucker meat, grubs, PowerBait, and meal worms.
(*) Indicates to contact the CPW Salida Area Office at 719-561-5520 for current ice conditions