January 26, 2011
Author: Trouts Staff
It always amazes me how little recognition Colorado gets for it’s Winter fly fishing possibilities. When you mention the phrase “winter fishing” to most people, and image of sitting in a shanty on a frozen lakes is most peoples initial thought. The reality is that there are so many world class trout fisheries right out our back door, most of which fish phenomenally during the winter months. So in hope of encouraging some of you to get out, and at least providing some useful information to the rest of you, I am pleased to offer the TOP 5 WINTER TAILWATERS for 2011, enjoy!
1. Cheesman Canyon – South Platte River
River Basin: South Platte River
Ideal Flow: anything over 100 cfs is great
Suggested Flies: eggs, worms, scuds, Barrs BWO Emerger, Miracle Nymph, Rojo Midges
Pros Tricks & Tips: It’s simple, MOVE. Don’t get stuck sitting in one hole all day. Move until you find feeding fish, catch a few, & move until you find more feeding fish. Those who are willing to move will be the ones catching fish.
Detailed River Information: The famed waters of the Cheesman Canyon section of the South Platte River has always acted as a proving ground for Colorado anglers. If you can catch a fish in Cheesman Canyon, you can catch a fish anywhere! And while Cheesman will test the skills and wits of any angler during the summer months, Winter time can prove to be an equal challenge on most days. But when the fish are hungry, the bugs are out, and the flows are ideal, the fishing can be absolutely phenomenal. In the end, through years and years of fishing this famed Colorado Tailwater, I have come to one simple conclusion about Cheesman Canyon; you have to put your time in, plain and simple. If you’re only willing to visit this fishery once and a while, you’ll probably always have a poor perception of it. But if you put in the time, and accept that some days will be better then others, you’ll be lucky enough to experience Cheesman on one of those days when everything just seems to go your way.
2. Frying Pan River
River Basin: Colorado River
Ideal Flow: anything over 50 cfs
Suggested Flies: mysis shrimp, BWO emergers, frying pan emerger, biot emerger
Pros Tricks & Tips: 6X and 7X fluorocarbon is a must! Although you may break off a few more fish, the amount of added hookups you’ll get by downsizing your tippet makes this move well worth it.
Detailed River Information: The Frying Pan is the epitome of Colorado Tailwaters, and winter can be one of the best times to visit. The unmanageable crowds of summer are gone, there is an amazing amount of bug life in and around the water, and you can almost always count on fish feeding on the surface. While catching fish still requires small leaders and tippet, well presented flies, as well as a stealth approach, most anglers will find more success during the winter months then one may think. Be prepared for cold conditions, as the Frying Pan in the winter is an arctic environment that sees little sunlight on most days. But for those willing to brave cold finger and iced eyelets, a world-class winter fishery will await you.