The lakes are beginning to freeze over, and the ice guys are getting after it in the high country. For those of us who arenít ice anglers, there is no need to put away the poles just yet. The state allows for plenty open water opportunities that I want to talk about today.
If youíre a fly fisherman or just like fishing rivers in general, you can find open water year-round. It is true that sections of river will freeze over, but there are plenty of spots along the river with faster flows and deeper water that will hold fish all winter long. I havenít targeted these fish in years, but if memory serves me correctly, small nymphs work wonders all winter long.
Secondly, most lakes are closed off to launching boats over the winter months, but many of them still allow hand launching of smaller vessels, and of course you can always fish these places from shore. Up north you have Carter Lake and Horsetooth Reservoir which will have open water the majority of the year. Also down south you can often find open water on Pueblo Reservoir. The changing water levels in these reservoirs doesnít allow them to form a layer of ice that caps the entire reservoir.
Earlier this year, it wasnít until February that Satanka cove at Horsetooth finally froze over making hand launching unavailable. I was out on the reservoir in my kayak during some of the nicer days in January and caught a lot of smallmouth in 30-60 feet of water. If you'd like to see footage of these trips then feel free to browse my youtube channel to see those videos. It is important to play these fish slowly if you are pulling them up out of the depths so that they are able to adjust their air bladders as they ascend the water column. Playing these fish too quickly will lead to them quite literally blowing up. Besides the smallmouth bass, these reservoirs also host a good population of trout, walleye, wiper, crappie, etc. that can be caught throughout the winter months as well.
Finally, if mother nature prevents you from getting out much over the winter, take that opportunity to get your gear ready for spring. Clean your rods, service your reels, organize your tackle, and, of course, take advantage of holiday sales to restock your favorite lures at a discount!