Welcome to the Trouts Monthly Frisco/Mountain Forecast!
I think it is safe to say that winter has come to the high country. In the last week, we have seen colder temperatures and good amounts of snow. This moisture is a certainly welcome and we hope to see this trend continue for the winter season ahead.
The cold came in quite quickly. I was surprised and so are the trout. Look for temperatures and the fishing to stabilize in the days to come. As we get into our next month, look to fish some lower elevation rivers or tailwaters to find some warmer water and air temperatures.
The South Platte above Eleven Mile Reservoir:
Since we are talking about tailwaters and winter fly fishing, this section of river fishes great all winter long. Look for the pools and try to find the magic drift to pick off the many fish that should be stacked up in these holes for the winter months.
The Blue River above Dillon Reservoir:
In my opinion, this section is one of the most overlooked winter fishing locations. With some spring creek-like conditions, this section stays flowing and warmer all winter long. There are plenty of fish holding water and some nice resident browns and rainbows. Look for Kokanee Salmon to move up out of Dillon reservoir to bring even more life to this section. You can consistently catch fish all winter long on nymphs, dry flies, and streamers.
The Blue River below Dillon Reservoir:
This classic winter tailwater section has to be one of your must-fish destinations for the winter months. I personally think this section fish the best in the winter months, if you can manage the cold temperatures. You will most likely have to use small flies and light tippet but don’t underestimate seeing a midge hatch and the possibility of fishing dry flies. Fish the middle of the day and look for the deeper holes and runs.
The Colorado below Glenwood Springs:
As we keep moving into shorter and cooler days, I will start moving my fishing experiences down the valley and into lower altitudes. This area is a great place to extend your fly fishing season, whether you are float or wade fishing. Besides the extended season and warmer temperatures, this area offers some active and feisty trout looking to fatten up for the winter months.
The Arkansas River around Salida:
With colder temperatures taking its grip on Colorado for weeks to come, this area has great potential to find some warmer ambient temperatures. These warmer temperatures should also keep the water a little warmer and this should make for some active mid-day trout. Look for the deeper holes and runs and find that magic drift to catch the trout that are stacked up in the hole.
The Colorado below the Williams Fork Confluence:
This is most definitely a favorite winter fly fishing destination of mine. With the Williams Fork tailwater bringing in some warmer water to the Colorado, the fishing reacts to these temperatures with some positive results. Nymphing will be the go-to technique, but this is a section you can have the opportunity to catch trout on dry flies all winter long.
This is a great pattern to have in your fly box year-round and in every size. For the winter months, I will be using sizes 20-26 and these small sizes can work quite well to mimic the midge hatches. Parachute Adams are easier to see with their white post and float and land well in many conditions. If the trout are being picky, you might even try trimming the tail off to help match the hatch.
This fly selection on the blog will contain the nuts and bolts of winter fly fishing and this fly definitely falls into that category. This is another pattern that I think you should have in the fly box year round. If you’re fishing tailwaters, you may want to lean to the smaller sizes, but with freestones, you might find the larger sizes can work well. For this reason, you will see a good size and color run of these patterns in my fly box year round.
For more nuts and bolts, here is the black beauty. This fly has probably caught me more fish than almost any other fly in the winter months. That might be a bold statement, but it could very well be true. The dark color might just be what you need to have your fly stand out in the water column.
If the trout are not eating black then you might try the Miracle Nymph. Or try both first and see if they like one over the other. You might find that both are working or find a clear favorite color and then you can throw another pattern into the mix. This classic pattern has a cream body and muskrat head and is a very realistic representation of midge larvae.
With the previous flies, we covered dark and light colors. I like to throw in a little color if dark or light don’t seem to be producing. Red is a favorite color in the winter months and the flash can be a very key attribute to attract the trout's attention.
The South Platte above Eleven Mile Reservoir- 139 CFS
The Blue River at Highway 9 Bridge Below Breckenridge- 25.5 CFS
The Blue River below Dillon Reservoir- 77.1 CFS
The Williams Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir- 147 CFS
The Colorado at Kremmling- 519 CFS
Lake Creek below Twin Lakes- 19.8 CFS
The Arkansas at Granite- 99.2 CFS
The Arkansas at Salida- 271 CFS
The Arkansas at Wellsville- 308 CFS
Winter has come to Colorado! The last week we have seen some cold temperatures with some snowstorms. Look for this trend to continue for the weeks to come. We will see storms and a cold front move through with periods of clearing and warming after. Get out on the warming trends and let's hope for plenty of snow this winter to fill our rivers and reservoirs for next summer.