Welcome to the Trouts Monthly Frisco/Mountain Forecast!
The next month will be full of colder temperatures and snow in the forecast. This is very welcome news! Maybe not for your immediate fishing opportunities, but for the fishing to come in 2023, this is a very good thing. With snowpack at average or above average in most areas, we are on a good track to some good conditions in the year to come. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this snowpack trend continues.
Here are some sections I will be looking to fish in the weeks to come.
The South Platte above Eleven Mile Reservoir:
With colder and snowy weather in the forecast, this is the time of year to get to the Dream Stream. With the snowstorms tending to stay in the mountains and clear of South Park, this offers a great way to escape the wintertime cabin blues. Look at the weather forecast in Hartsel, CO before you go! Look for any super cold temperatures and get an idea of how the wind will be blowing. You are pretty much guaranteed the wind will be blowing at some point, but there are plenty of bends to get your back to the wind.
The Blue River below Dillon Reservoir:
This section fishes great all winter long. To be honest, winter is my favorite season to fish this stretch. The cold temperatures won’t deter all the anglers but it will be manageable and the fishing tends to be quite good daily. Look to fish in the middle of the day for the best results and look to fish in the deeper holding water.
The Arkansas River around Salida:
Talking about escaping the wintertime cabin blues, the Arkansas River Valley is a great place to cure this ailment. We call it the banana belt up in the high country and you can usually expect ten to fifteen degrees warmer temperatures and drier conditions. The fishing can be quite good all winter long. Just look for ice flows or low overnight temperatures. You can also always look at some of the Salida webcams to get an idea of how the river is flowing.
The Williams Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir:
With colder temperatures for the weeks to come, tailwaters will be a favorite destination. This section is a favorite getaway in the winter months and while it is not easy to access, the fishing usually will pay off for the extra effort. Look to use small flies, light tippet, and fish the deeper holding water.
The Colorado below the Williams Fork Confluence:
If you hiked into the Williams Fork and it seems to be fishing tough, a good option is to walk down to the confluence with the Colorado. The trout tend to be a little less picky in the Colorado with the added water volume and added bug life. Most days offer some great nymphing but you can usually see some midge hatches and may have the opportunity to fish dry flies.
This may be my favorite dry fly midge pattern. With its easy-to-see foam post and orientation, this pattern looks great on the water and fools the fish consistently. I like to fish it in both gray and black and will carry it in sizes 20-26.
If we are going to be fishing the Blue River, this is a go-to mysis pattern in my fly box. With its sparse tie, this fly looks extremely good without looking too good or looking better to the angler than the fish.
The winter months are when I mostly fish egg patterns. As a representation of a large source of calories, this fly can get the trout's attention. I will often start with this as one of my attractors and see if I get any interest. If the interest isn’t there, I will change to a more traditional nymph and midge combination.
This is a great attractor pattern for the winter months. I will fish the tungsten beaded or the unweighted variety depending on the river and water I am fishing. The tungsten-beaded version will help your flies get down quickly but if you are fishing for selective trout you may want to fish the unweighted version.
This is a great winter pattern that fishes well from tailwaters to freestones. I like to fish both the blue and red versions. What sets this fly apart is the segmented creamish-colored body and the blue or redhead to add some attraction. Try fishing both colors to see if the trout are eating one over the other.
The South Platte above Eleven Mile Reservoir- 134 CFS
The Blue River at Highway 9 Bridge Below Breckenridge- 19.2 CFS
The Blue River below Dillon Reservoir- 77.1 CFS
The Williams Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir- 108 CFS
The Colorado at Kremmling- 513 CFS
Lake Creek below Twin Lakes- 16.1 CFS
The Arkansas at Granite- 111 CFS
The Arkansas at Salida- 258 CFS
The Arkansas at Wellsville- 267 CFS
With colder winter temperatures dominating Colorado, look for warmer days to get out for your fly fishing adventures. The trend of a snowstorm moving across Colorado weekly and lasting two to four days seems to be staying around till the end of the year. With all signs from the weeks and months prior, this trend seems likely to continue into the new year. If you are up in the mountains and not fishing, the snow conditions for skiing and snowboarding have been great. Makes sure you stop by and say hi at Trouts Frisco!
Happy Holidays from all of us at Trouts!