Happy New Year from Trouts Fly Fishing and the Frisco desk!The holidays have passed and a new year is upon us. For most of us this is a welcome change. Not only to usher out 2020 but to also get through the hectic holiday season. To me this time of year also represents a fresh start in my fly fishing. The next couple of months I use days off to go explore, maybe find some warmer temperatures in lower altitudes, break free of the snowpack, possibly find some dirt to ground me, and enjoy some scenery out of the normal for life in the high country. This time of year I always feel a sense of freedom with new starts and new experiences on the mind.
This area just keeps making the list for many reasons. The valley is quite beautiful, there can be some warmer temperatures, the fish stack up in the deeper holes and there are many other activities that this valley offers. You never know, there could be some dry mountain bike trails to ride in Buena Vista or Salida and then add in Mount Princeton and Cottonwood Hot Springs and you could have quite the day.
The Colorado below Glenwood Springs:
This makes the list purely on my love of float fishing. I am always looking for a reason to use my boat, and well this is the place in the winter months. Then add in the healthy and hot fish the Colorado grows and you should really give it a look.
The Colorado at Parshall below the Williams Fork confluence:
This is a great time of year to fish these tailwater sections. Whether fishing the actual Williams Fork or below the confluence on the Colorado River, these options seldom disappoint. Look for Rainbows to be on the move and most days can offer dry fly fishing on the Colorado.
The Frying Pan below Ruedi Reservoir:
The Pan made the list this time as an option for tailwater fisheries. We have been talking about the Blue River lately and how good mysis fishery it can be. The Fryingpan is quite the fishery as well! It’s a good drive for most of us, but with temperatures in the thirties and some colder night temperatures, this makes this river a good option to think about.
The South Platte below Spinney Mountain Reservoir (The Dream Stream):
The Dream Stream is making the list again mostly because this section has been seeing consistent releases from Spinney Mountain Reservoir. This usually means some good fishing and with these consistent flows, and you may see lake fish starting to move up in the river from Eleven Mile reservoir. This could be a little early, but in my experience with the Dream Stream fish, is you never know.
The Wild Card*- The Gunnison at Pleasure Park
Throwing in a little something different for this the report, “The Wildcard”. This is a section that might not be as accessible, but I think would be well worth checking out. On this report, it is going to be the Gunnison River by Pleasure Park. This can be an overlooked river in the winter, at least if you don’t live on the western slope. As a tailwater section, the fishing stays productive through the winter. You can walk up in the canyon from Pleasure Park or float some sections just downstream for some great winter fly fishing opportunities. It’s a bit of a drive, but this section of river and area of Colorado is quite beautiful.
This fluorescent orange midge pattern with a black bead just catches fish. From the Blue River to the Colorado and Williams Fork, this is a fly you must have in your fly box for winter fly fishing endeavors.
The D Midge is a favorite as a last fly on my nymphing rig. Coming in red, gray and purple, all these colors will put fish to the net. Tied with a sleek body, glass beads and a little tuft to look like wings or legs, this fly can be fished in various situations.
I like this pattern in the gray/blue version. With the tungsten bead this fly sinks well into the water column where the fish are. Even though it was originally tied as a midge pattern, I have great success fishing this as a baetis pattern as well.
Another neon fly in this list! Both colors just catch fish, look super good in the water and are very durable. This automatically gets this fly added to my fly box, time and time again.
Hi-Vis Parachute Adams
You can’t go wrong with small Parachute Adams in your fly box for most winter surface feeding situations. Then add in some “Zaz” as some other Trouts experts like to say, or “Hi-Vis”, and you have an easier to see option for those small dry fly sipping risers.
Arkansas at Salida- 278 CFS
Colorado at Glenwood Springs- 1180 CFS
The Colorado at Parshall (Kremmling)- 432 CFS
The William Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir- 89.7 CFS
South Platte above Elevenmile Reservoir- 128 CFS
The Gunnison River below Gunnison Tunnel- 388 CFS
The Gunnison River at Delta- 522 CFS
The ten day forecast in the Frisco area looks to show colder temperatures with highs in the high twenties and low thirties. The lower altitude destinations will see highs in the upper thirties and low forties. We will have a few weaker storms pushing through Colorado during this period, but they don’t look like they will amount to much. Even with these fronts pushing through it looks like the sun will shine on most days. Looks like a good time to get on the water as long as you plan accordingly!