Conditions Report - Statewide
Rivers and Creeks
Winter is right around the corner and river anglers will soon be forced to fish tail-water fisheries that provide steady flows throughout the winter. Now is the time to get your last fishing trips in at your favorite small creeks and slow flowing tributaries. Many waters throughout the state are still providing excellent dry fly fishing opportunities on mid-sized (#14 - #18) caddis and blue winged olive patterns. Dropping a small midge nymph (#20 - #22) off of the dry fly is producing fish during the warmer hours of the day. As the blue winged olive hatches begin to thin out going into December, expect the fish to start focusing their diet on small midge adult and nymph patterns. There is no need to start fishing before the sun has warmed the water, but the fishing will remain steady in the evening hours until sunset. Focus on fishing deeper holes with slow flowing runs as the fish will start congregating to these areas to conserve energy. The fish will not travel far to bite your fly this time of year due to their slower metabolism, so be sure to cover every section of the run before moving on. If you are not catching fish in an area that looks productive, try changing your fishing position, use a smaller indicator, or add more split-shot to your line before switching flies. If these changes do not produce bites, try using smaller fluorocarbon tippet (6X – 7X) matched with a smaller fly. However, do not end a day on the water without also trying large nymph patterns (#8 - #12) such as black and golden stoneflies, San Juan worms, eggs, and woolly buggers. To prevent from spooking the fish, winter anglers should approach runs from downstream with stealth, and should also avoid entering the water near the good areas. The low and clear water conditions, along with the limited areas to fish during the winter months will cause the fish to be more aware of their surroundings due to daily fishing pressure. Catch and release anglers should be aware that the fish will take longer to revive during the winter months and the fish should remain in the water as long as possible. This means dealing with cold hands for extended periods, or preparing a method to safely release the fish including using catch and release gloves and/or using your fishing net to revive the fish under water.
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Conditions Report - Metro Denver Area
All boating will close on December 1, including all hand launched watercraft. The current water temperature is around 47 degrees and the water level is low. The public dock has been pulled for the season due to the low water level. Repair work is being done to the face of the dam. Some boat anglers may experience difficulties trying to launch and trailer. The trout fishing is rated as fair to good from shore. The best areas have been off the west and east end of the dam. The west shoreline and south shoreline are fishing well for anglers using PowerBait and we have received a few reports from anglers using spoons. Shoreline access is excellent due to the low water level. Boaters are reporting fair to good success for trout trolling with pop gear, crawlers, and silver bright colored spoons and spinners. The walleye action is rated as slow to fair with a few good reports coming in recently from anglers trolling with bottom bouncers, jerk baits, and jigs tipped with crawlers. Some walleye are being caught from shore for anglers using jerk baits.
The current water temperature is around 47 degrees and the water is about 2 feet down. The walleye and trout are still biting well throughout the reservoir. Most of the fish are being caught in deeper water around 25 to 35 feet of water by anglers using jigs and spoons.
Chatfield State Park
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Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
All boat ramps are closed for the season. You may still hand launch small vessels from shore. Anything with a gas engine must still be inspected prior to launching. The gravel pit area is open. Please use caution when driving near the lake as it is easy to become stuck. The fishing has been good with angler's reporting catching some nice rainbows in the 12 to 18 inch range using Power Bait, worms, and spinners. No ice has started forming on the lake as of recently.
Vega State Park
The fishing is heating up with anglers reporting good numbers of fish being caught both in the reservoir and below the dam. Many anglers are having luck and often limiting out on rainbow trout at the Inlet/Lot14/Lot16 area, Keystone Cove, and Morrison Cove. Many anglers are having luck using PowerBait, night crawlers, spoons, jigs, and crank baits
Stagecoach State Park
The river is fishing great right now and it is currently flowing around 40 cfs. The river can get crowded, so the early mornings and late evenings are the best times to fish. The fish are rising to small caddis patterns on the surface. Anglers should be using 6x fluorocarbon tippet or smaller with a micro split-shot.
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Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
The lake is currently around 40 degrees and about 23 feet down. It is now closed to boating. The walleye and crappie are coming out at the South Ramp Parking Lot on the west side mainly on jigs and worms. The catfish are coming out at the inlet on chicken liver and shrimp. The outlet has been salvaged and drained.
North Sterling State Park
South Platte River at Deckers
The river is currently flowing around 90 cfs near Deckers. The fish are being found in the deeper holes and the fishing has been productive lately for anglers using nymph rigs. Purple midge and blue winged olive patterns are the best flies to use. Anglers should use 6x tippet, but 7x tippet is a good idea if the fish are not biting your flies. The best time to fish is between 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The dry fly fishing is slow, but a dry and dropper rig can produce some strikes, especially if the fish are being indicator shy.
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Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado
Arkansas River Headwaters
The upper river is in excellent shape, and is very easy to wade. The fish will still come up and eat smaller flies on the surface, but nymphing some of the deeper runs and pools are beginning to prove more effective. The best hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. At the middle section near Salida, flows have dropped 150 cfs due to the decreased release from Twin Lakes, leaving fantastic wade fishing conditions in the middle basin. This should be an excellent week for anyone looking to fish the river, as strong midge activity gets fish moving in the morning, and late season blue winged olives continue to hatch sporadically in the afternoons. Flows are higher than we usually see this time of year, which makes for great late season float fishing conditions and concentrates fish more towards the banks.
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
Fishing from south shore has been decent. The current surface temperature remains near 40 degrees. Anglers are catching fish throughout the lake with worms and PowerBait in rainbow and peach colors. Boat anglers have been catching mostly trout and walleye. Trolling less than 2 mph with a worm harness has worked around 20 feet of water.
Trinidad Lake State Park
The current water temperature is around 53 degrees and the water clarity is about 4 feet in depth. Anglers are reporting seeing a lot of shad and the bigger fish are actively feeding on them. The west end of the lake is fishing the best. Boat anglers are having the most success using jigs and spoons in the morning hours. Anglers are reporting that the waterfowl hunters are causing some crowding on the water.
Lake Pueblo State Park
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Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
The river is currently flowing around 200 cfs and is getting lower by the day. The temperatures have been warm recently, creating great fishing opportunities. The blue winged olives are still around, but the midges are becoming a major food source as we approach winter. Nymph rigs have been the most productive, but streamers are getting more bites by the day as we enter the post brown trout spawn.
The reservoir is currently fishing well for rainbow trout by anglers using spoons. The salmon are running and are still in good condition.
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