South Platte River Report: Late-January
Things are heating up on the Platte!
In true tailwater fashion, the South Platte is continuing to fish well through the winter months. While the weather has certainly been a little better some days versus others, the fish have remained hungry throughout.
Keys To Success: With the S. Platte being in full on winter mode, seek out stretches of the river with some deep/slow water nearby that can serve as a wintering zone for fish. "Deep" is a somewhat relative term depending on the stretch of river you're fishing however to me, water that is at least waist deep is plenty good. While dredging these deep, slow areas will certainly yeild a few fish throughout the day, focus your efforts on the shallower zones within 20 or 30 yards of these wintering areas. Fish will move into these shallower zones throughout the day to take advantage of the warmer water and feed on hatching midges and baetis. Look for 'walking speed' water near shelves/drop-offs/tailouts/eddies/etc to be congregating these shallow wintertime feeders. 10am-3pm is when the fish have been most actively moving into these zones.
Rigging: Weight, weight and more weight. I'm sure I sound like a broken record to some of you who follow this Blog regularly, but make sure you're using enough weight -even in the shallow zones- so that your flies are making semi-regular contact with the river bottom. Additionally, I highly recommend yarn indicators this time of year. The sensitivity you'll get from yarn is unmatched and will go a long ways in helping detect the subtle bite of a wintertime trout. Don't be afraid to set the hook either on anything that looks out of place. More often than not, your indicator is only going to pause/twitch and won't go completely underwater when getting a strike. Keep your flies tight and evenly spaced as well. I recommend 8-10" between each fly. This will likely seem a little strange if you've never fished your flies this close before but trust me, it works. For tippet I recommend 5x flourocarbon. If 6x makes you feel more comfortable then go that route. 5x is what I'm sticking with though.
Flies: As is always the case with the Platte, a good drift is still much more important than the exact 'right' fly. We've been catching them lately on eggs (orange, peach, tangerine) worms (brown or red, size 10-12), pat's rubberlegs (size 8-12), leeches (olive or black, size 12-16), rainbow warriors, jujubaetis, jujubee midges, pure midges, red copper johns, rs2's, two-bit hookers, freestone emergers, nonbead pheasant tails, black beauties, foamback emergers, etc. Keep all of these last flies in the size 18-22 range and you'll be in business.
Biggest Key To Success: COVER WATER! If you find yourself spending more than 15 minutes in one location you need to think about picking up the pace. Seek out as many of the shallower 'feeding zones' (mentioned above) throughout the day as you can. Click the hyperlinked 'Cover Water' to read an article on what I mean by this.
Interested in reading more on winter fishing? Click on the links below to see some other articles relevant to fishing this time of year.
Tired of not catching as many fish as you think you should on the South Platte? Consider hitting the water with one of our Professional Fishing Guides! We are currently offering Half-Day and Best-of-Day Guide Trips that are gauranteed to leave you a more knowledgable and confident angler!