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Winter Fly Fishing in Colorado Part III

January 22, 2013
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.“

Click here for Part I and Part II of Winter Fly Fishing in Colorado. 



Posted in Education |   10 Comments


#1. Posted by Dave on January 23, 2013

Is the river in the first picture the Yampa?

#2. Posted by Mark McKenny on January 23, 2013

I love everything about winter fly fishing except the ski traffic.  My guess is the Roaring Fork riv in pic #1.

#3. Posted by Doug Smith on January 23, 2013

Colorado River

#4. Posted by Graham on January 23, 2013

Leave the PBR’s for the summer - too low alcohol content leads them to freezing up.

Need a beer that’s a little stiffer!

#5. Posted by Todd on January 23, 2013


#6. Posted by Eric on January 23, 2013

Platte River

#7. Posted by Hank b on January 23, 2013

North platte

#8. Posted by Hank b on January 23, 2013

Actually looks more like the gunnison not far below the confluence of east and Taylor.

#9. Posted by J on January 23, 2013

Def the Collie ..!

#10. Posted by Will Rice on January 24, 2013

We have a winner: Mark McKenny! This photo was shot on the Roaring Fork in January.  Stop into the shop and pick up your new F3T Trucker Hat. Don’t forget to pick up for F3T tickets as well.  The stack for the 8:00pm showing is running low and it will most likely sell out today.  Thanks for following Trout’s Fly Fishing.

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