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January 27, 2015
Ice conditions may have deteriorated across many regions of the state due to the unusually warm temperatures we have been experiencing. It is hard to predict spot conditions with any accuracy because they can change so quickly. Ice may be unsafe for human activities, so please proceed with caution.
Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area
The reservoir is about 90% ice now and the ice thickness ranges from 0-7”. Please use caution as conditions are constantly changing! Questionable areas on the main body are camouflaged by snow. There is no open water for shore fishing at this time except for a small area in the Marina at the fishing pier. The thickest ice will be in the back of the coves. The water level is also coming up. A few reports of trout, walleye and some perch being caught using jigs will meal worms and minnows. Some nice rainbows ranging from 2-3 pounds have been caught in the marina cove using minnows. Most reports on perch are mostly small ones 6-8” using jigs tipped with wax worms in 8-12’ of water. Try deeper water for larger perch 30-45’. For more information call 303-326-8425. January hours 7:00 am-6:00pm. Closed to boating for the season. This includes hand launched watercraft such as float tubes, paddle boards, canoes etc.
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. WILL REOPEN MARCH 1ST 2015. FOR MORE INFORMATION call 303-326-8430. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures only. Only watercraft capable of being launched by hand permitted and electric motors only. All watercraft must be inspected prior to launch at this time.
Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
The few trout that have been pulled out have been with unspecified power bait.
The lake is currently being reported between 17 to 22" thick with 6" of new snow in many areas, although there are wind blown areas that are clear of snow. TROUT: (FAIR) The annual massive winter stocking has been completed. Lots of little fish are out there, so bigger fish on the prowl. Large trout eat lots of stockers too! It is not all that unusual to catch a large Trout on your tip up when fishing a waterdog or sucker for Pike. The little fish have speed to their advantage as the larger fish move much more slowly in the winter. That's why an easy meal is often the ticket for them. When the fish are rejecting your offerings try an easy meal. A single salmon egg fished directly on the bottom or even Power Bait on a three inch leader. You'll want to use a spring bobber or sensor with this technique. You will see your sensor move ever so slightly and if you are quick enough its, fish on! GOOD reports with several nice 5+lb, 6.5lb, & 8.2lb trout this weekend - The Stoll Mtn, Lazy Boy and west to the Inlet triangle is still getting the most reported results.
KOKANEE SALMON: (FAIR to SLOW) Fish are being caught from Goose Island all the way down to Deer Island. Move if your spot is dead, they can be located. Limits may be hard to come by, but 5 or 6 will do. Size varies with mostly smaller ones showing up of late. Swedish Pimple's, Kastmaster and Krocodile's are effective if tipped with meal worms. Try a 3/8 oz Kroc (White Pearl) on the end of one rig. Its gets down fast when you need to and the fish are not shying away because of the size. Work them vigorously.
NORTHERN PIKE: (FAIR) Action has improved slightly. At least more pike are being seen. The stockers have brought them out of hiding. North Shore anglers have reported seeing huge Pike picking up easy meals. Your easy meal offering is a water dog or whole sucker on a tip up. It doesn't get any easier than that. Lots of stockers and numerous big fish, both Trout and Pike, are in 8 or less feet of water.
DREAM STREAM (GOOD): Nice big fish being caught with wooly buggers, hares ears and san juan worms, most action mid morning to mid afternoon. Attention Ice Fishermen: Please remember that ice is inherently dangerous, especially at this time when it is just beginning to form. Ice thicknesses may vary considerably within relatively short walking distances. Please remember that if venturing out onto the ice it is advisable to drill test holes as you go out, wear a PFD, carry at least 75 feet of rope and go out with a second person.
Small areas of the reservoir have been exposed time to time and no news has been given by anglers pertaining to successful catches. However in the recent past the report has been that anglers are having success with different kinds of power bait, fireballs, and worms. Reminder: access to the south shore of Flatiron Reservoir is at Cheyenne Day Use, just south of the gate on County Road 31. It is usually open 8:00 a.m.-Sundown. It will be closed when there is ice cover as has been the case lately.
The lake will most likely have limited access due to ice cover with the drop in temperature. As of now, Fisherman’s Cove has been bringing in trout using power bait and salmon eggs.
Spinney Mountain State Park is closed for the winter. The Park remains closed until the ice comes off the reservoir in the Spring of 2015.
DREAM STREAM: (GOOD) Nice big fish being caught with wooly buggers, hares ears and san juan worms, most action mid morning to mid afternoon.
RIVER ABOVE SPINNEY (FAIR): Wooly Buggers, Damsels, and Trout Trap Jigs are working well in the mornings and evenings, with the typical mid-day slow down. (Courtesy of Chaparral Gen. Store)
St. Vrain State Park Ponds
All ponds on the North and South sides of the park are open to fishing and have been stocked several times this year. Fishing for bass and trout is good! Bald Eagle Pond is artificial flies and lures, and catch and release only. Don't forget your fishing license!
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Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado
Buena Vista-Salida Area: Flows in this segment are in the 300-350 cfs range now and visibility is good though there is significant ice in Browns Canyon. Most fish have migrated toward winter water - areas of good holding water adjacent to current. These can be the long, slow, deep pools or smaller shelf holes. Either way, fish will be most active during the warmest part of the warmest days, though any day in the 40s with an overnight low in the 20s ought to be productive. Stonefly/attractor nymphs paired with midge larvae seem to be the best combination. The Arkansas River has a fair water temperature differential from Buena Vista to Salida, with more active fish to be found between Big Bend and Salida then up in Browns Canyon and above. With the recent cold weather, many fish are now located in winter holding water. As a result, focusing on deeper, slower runs is important. And since fish are congregating in these locations, once fish are located, working an area hard makes more sense than continually moving into new water.
Below Salida: We've got some very nice weather moving into the valley for the next seven days (at least), with highs in the 50s projected from Saturday through Thursday. With accompanying overnight lows forecast to be in the upper 20s, this should generate some very productive winter fishing in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and up through the Big Bend reach to the bottom of Browns Canyon. The go-to rig at this time of year couples a golden stonefly with a striated midge larva. For those with the casting confidence, splice an attractor nymph between them. Key to success at this time of year is targeting those parts of the river that hold a good congregation of fish, and then making sure one is fishing down to their depth. Places with some deep slow water and a mid-speed current going past will provide winter fish with an easy resting place adjacent to a good warm-day chow line. Bighorn Sheep Canyon is rife with such winter water and fish will be actively working the calm side of those seams from 10:00 to 3:00 or so during the warm weather ahead.
Boats Ramp Closed to boating until March 15. The lakes will be closed to all trailered boats, and only open for hand launching. Fishing is starting to pick up a bit, only a small portion of Martin is open, the rest of the lake is still iced over, as is Horseshoe. Stop by the visitor center to let staff know how the fishing is, or to show off an impressive catch!
Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
Fishing seems to be picking up at Elkhead with fisherman reporting ice 5" to 8" at the north end; anglers are reporting catching pike and crappie. Ice varies on the lake so watch out for those gray spots. As always use extreme caution when on the ice.
The ice on both Highline and Mack Mesa Lakes is not safe to go onto! There is still no open water along the shore lines of Highline Lake. The open water in the middle of Highline is spreading daily; we are watching its progress! The conditions at both lakes change daily, so contact the Visitor Center for updated information.
Both Highline Lake and Mack Mesa Lake were stocked with 2,400 trout earlier this fall.
If you catch a fish and would like your photo posted on our Big Fish Board, just stop by the Visitor Center or track down a Ranger, and we'll take your photo and post it! Stop by the Visitor Center and take a look at what others have caught. We have a huge variety of Power Bait in the Visitor Center, but we are out of nightcrawlers for the winter.
You can also pick up your 2014 and 2015 fishing licenses on your way to the lakes. Just stop by the Visitor Center!
Highline Lake and Mack Mesa Lake are closed to boating for the season.
Fishing is available at Mack Mesa Lake! There is fishable open water on the north shore and from the pier on the south side of the lake.
James M. Robb
Due to unseasonably warm conditions, ice has receded at Fruita and Connected Lakes, with Fruita almost completely open water. Duke Lake at Connected Lakes is frozen with 0-2 inches of ice, but the other lakes have areas of open water. The edges are soft at Corn Lake with ice 0-2 inches. Island Acres Old Orchard has 0-2 inches of ice. Roans Pothole at Island Acres has small areas of open water. Ice thickness varies and is never considered "safe", please use caution!
Ice fishing is slow. The last group we spoke to had a little success but it took all day. Ice is between 0 and 12 inches with some slush in spots.
Rifle Gap Reservoir
Fishing has started to slow, with the west end producing better than the east end. Trout have been active throughout the lake. The ice varies from 5 to 8 inches throughout the lake. There are weak spots around the edges and open water at the east inlet. Always use caution when fishing on the ice and be sure to fish with a buddy. Ice fishing on the lake can be tricky here at Rifle Gap. Ice thicknesses vary across the reservoir as a whole, and can vary significantly even a few yards away. Ice rescue stations are located at popular areas around the lake, but nothing can provide for your safety like taking proper precautions and planning and preparing for the unexpected. Recommended items to bring along are ice awls, life jacket, rope and a fishing buddy.
The reservoir was stocked earlier in October with 35,000 rainbow trout. Anglers are reporting up to 18"-20" rainbow trout while icefishing on the inlet, Morrison Cove and Keystone. Powerbait, salmon eggs, wax worms and tube jigs are the popular choice of anglers. The lake is iced over. The responsible harvest of pike at Stagecoach is encouraged. For current flows please visit the USGS website. The lake is iced over. The ice thickness varies throughout the lake anywhere from 8"-14" with the inlet having the thickest ice and the middle of the lake being the last to freeze. There is a layer of crust on top with some slush on parts of the lake. Snowmobiles are not recommended at this time and please use caution as we are have early season conditions. For additional updates along with the latest ice report look up Stagecoach State Park on Facebook.
Reports lately have been great fishing in the Marina area, Placer cove has been fishing very well. The last group were using crawlers and eggs on a Jig and caught a "whole mess of em" Ice is between 0 and 14 inches with some areas of slush on top.
Twelve plus inches of ice with a layer of surface slush. Fishing has been good. Seeing some nice 10-12" Brookies and large Rainbows. Best luck seems to be in mornings with a jig with meal or wax worms. Unsafe conditions can always exist so please USE CAUTION!
Currently the lake has 8 - 10 inches of ice. Always remember to use caution when accessing the ice. Anglers have reported catching some very nice rainbows in the 14 - 16 inch range using meal worms and ice jigs. The park has about a foot of snow on the ground.
There are still a couple spots of open water on the river but some anglers are reporting catching browns and a few pike out of the Yampa. Use extreme caution when around the river ice.
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Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
Anglers have reported catching crappie from 6-10 inches, perch 5-7 inches and trout from 10-14 inches. Smaller catfish have been reported, as well as largemouth bass. Anglers have been catching mostly in the cove near the dam, but there have also been a few accessing the ice from the West Side Day Use Area and Clear Fork campground. The lake has been completely covered in ice since December 25. It has snowed several times on top of the newly formed ice. This snow acts as an insulator, therefore slowing the freezing process. Currently, anglers have reported 6-10 inches of ice in some places. With the warmer weather, the edges of the ice decay in the afternoon. In some places the bad ice is only a foot from the bank, but other places it could be 20 feet out. Also, the water level is coming up 5-6 inches per week which breaks the ice from the shoreline. If you are planning on going onto the ice, be sure to drill test holes as you go so you can judge the integrity of the ice. Never go on the ice alone, and always wear a life jacket. Remember, no ice is safe ice!
Jackson Reservoir (Mancos State Park)
The lake is ice-covered. Ice thickness varies but averages approximately six inches of clear, hard ice with approximately three inches of milky, rotten ice on top. As always with ice, especially in Colorado's widely variable climate, use plenty of caution. See tips on ice safety. Ice fishing is very good for rainbow and brown trout averaging 11" and small yellow perch. Pods of nice 8-10" perch are available when you can find them, or they find you. The inlet channel (if you're up for a bit of a walk or ski) and along the rip rap of the dam are good spots. The trout are often suspended in the water column. If you have a second rod stamp or multiple anglers in the group, try one presentation within 6" of the bottom, and others suspended. Small jigs (1/8 oz) and small spoons (e.g. 1/8 or 1/4-oz Kastmaster) tipped with mealworm, waxworm, or a small piece of nightcrawler are excellent options. If you're chasing the perch: try deep (40 feet+) water depths and fish a compact (small hook size, but at least 1/8 oz...1/4 oz if you can keep the hook size small) jig or spoon right on bottom. Use a very sensitive rod and preferably braided line with a flourocarbon leader for extra sensitivity and low stretch at that depth. Tip the jig or spoon with mealworm, waxworm or earthworm pieces. Let it touch bottom, and slowly raise and wiggle. Very high numbers of small yellow perch are common. Good luck!
The Durango Herald recently compiled a piece on Mancos State Park ice fishing. A park pass is required on vehicles in the park. Daily park passes are available at the self-serve pay station at the park entrance. There is no limit on the number of perch you keep. Perch population numbers are very high, resulting in some stunting, and you are encouraged to keep them; the daily limit for trout is 4. For fishing rules/regulations and information, please visit the Fishing page.
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