Author: Will Rice
If you are not an avid winter angler, the value of research and preparation cannot be understated. This is part III of a three part series. Click here for Part I and Part II.
Understanding what is going on in the river before you get there can be the make-or-break component of a productive trip. Don’t hesitate to check out our fishing reports or give us a call here at the shop if you are looking for winter fly fishing trip ideas. We can get you started in the right direction – and also put you in touch with the right folks at the right fisheries.
Remember that a lot of great water you fished in the spring or fall months is not fishable in the winter - it is frozen over. But, there are a number of great dam controlled tailwaters across the state that offer great winter fishing opportunities. Talk to local shops around your target destinations.
Thinking about checking out the tailwater on the Yampa? Talk to the Steamboat Flyfisher.
Interested to know what’s going on at the Fryingpan River? Give the guys up at Taylor Creek a call.
Thinking about checking out the Arkansas below Pueblo? See what Royal Gorge Anglers have to say about the conditions.
How about a road trip to the San Juan? Give our friends at Duranglers a call.
Another game changer you need to think about differently when the temperature drops and you have a fly rod in your hand: safety.
Make sure you let people know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Even if you are traveling with a buddy. Make sure that you travel with extra clothing – and if you can, bring them along with you in a small back pack, especially if you are going to be hiking any distances from your vehicle. Items to bring as a back up plan in the case that you take a swim in near freezing H20: polypro shirt, bottoms, gloves, extra pair of socks and a winter hat.
“If you fall into the water in winter, best case scenario you’re done fishing for the day,” said Reid Baker, Guide Manager at Trout's Guide Service. “Worst case you’re in serious trouble. Make sure you cross or wade at the safest places possible. Don’t take chances. Wear plenty of layers and keep an extra change of clothes in your car in case you get wet.”
You also need to be prepared to be patient in the winter. A lot of winter fishing can include great expanses of quiet seclusion and solitude. Relax. Enjoy it.
“That’s the magic about fishing in the winter,” concluded Baker. “Generally you get a lot more river to yourself and there’s nothing like fishing a section you’re used to seeing dozens and dozens of anglers on reduced down to a small handful. Maybe its even just you out there. Sure maybe you’re bundled up, maybe you’re cracking ice out of your guides or you need to take a warm up break in your car. But, those little things can keep the masses away. With the proper equipment, mindset and tactics, you’re able to have great days on the water in Colorado 365 days a year.“