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Winter Fly Fishing in Colorado

Winter Fly Fishing in Colorado

Challenges and Opportunities During Winter

Fly fishing in Colorado during the winter months can present some unique challenges and opportunities on the water. The colder temperatures, shorter days, and often unpredictable weather can make it more difficult to stay comfortable and find success, but with the right approach and gear, it can also be some of the most rewarding and enjoyable times to fish. Here are some tips for making the most of fly fishing in Colorado during the winter:

Dress Your Body and Your Gear

Dressing in layers is key to staying warm and comfortable on the water. Wicking base layers help regulate body temperature and moisture levels, while mid-layers provide insulation and waterproof outer layers protect against the elements. By layering clothing, it is easy to adjust as needed throughout the day to stay comfortable as the temperatures and activity level fluctuate. It is a good idea to bring extra layers in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, as well as gloves and a hat to keep your hands and head warm.

It is important to be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions when fly fishing in Colorado during the winter. Always bring plenty of warm clothes, gloves, and a hat, and pay close attention to the forecast before heading out. It is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when it comes to winter fly fishing in Colorado. Be prepared for ice to form on the guides and line, as this can be a common occurrence during the colder months. A good way to prevent this is to use a fly line dressing like “Shakey Jig” or to carry a small cloth to wipe the ice off as needed.

Flies, Lines, and Rods for Cold Water

When it comes to fly selection and tactics, using a fly line with a slow sink rate and heavy flies can be effective for getting the offerings down to the depths where the fish are holding during the winter. It is also a good idea to focus on fishing in the morning and evening when the water is at its warmest and the fish are most active. In terms of location, look for areas of slow-moving water and target deep pools, as these areas tend to hold the most fish during the winter. It is also helpful to pay attention to the weather and water conditions, as these can affect where the fish are holding and how they are behaving.

To help turn over heavy flies and get them down to the fish, use a shorter rod (9 to 10 feet) and a weight-forward line. This setup allows for more precise casts and better control of the depth of the flies. It is also a good idea to use a reel with a good drag system to help land larger fish, as well as a quality fly line that can withstand the cold temperatures and rough handling.

One additional helpful tip is to keep your flies clean and in good condition. In the winter, the water can be clearer and the fish can be more selective, so it is important to use flies that are well-presented and look natural. This can involve regular cleaning and maintenance of your flies, as well as making sure to use fresh ones when necessary.

The Season of Solitude and Beauty

Overall, fly fishing in Colorado during the winter can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience with the right approach and gear. By dressing in layers, using the right fly line and flies, targeting the right areas and times of day, and being prepared for the elements, it is possible to have a successful and comfortable day on the water. Remember to always respect the fish and the environment, and have fun out there! Whether you are a seasoned fly fisherman or a beginner, there is something special about the solitude and beauty of winter fly fishing in Colorado that is worth experiencing.

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Comments (2)

  • James Brown
    January 13, 2023 at 4:12 pm Reply

    My hope is that Rare Waters will be offering limited access to private spring creeks or small wadeable freestone creeks that have wild trout and reliable hatches.

    I can float the big rivers with a guide anytime. These are almost always accessible but the smaller rivers on ranches and farms are usually posted.

    Although some of your clientele may want general information about fly fishing, camping, family activities, etc., I’d like to see more targeted information. I enjoy fishing over wild rising trout. I can use information about seasonal hatches. If I’m paying $200 a day to fish I expect to have a half mile of water to myself. I’d like to see detailed angler feedback on your rivers posted online so I can judge if driving hundreds of miles to try a new creek is worth it to me.

    I see that you are based in Colorado and most of your rivers are in that state. As I live on the Northwest Coast I am mostly interested in rivers that you may add in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Western Montana.

    Good luck with your business and please keep me informed.


    • RareWaters Staff
      January 13, 2023 at 4:28 pm Reply

      Thanks for your comment, James! Our properties typically have much more than a 1/2 mile of water to fish and our daily rod limits prevent them from being overfished. If you’re interested in river reports and fly recommendations, definitely check out our Cutthroat Membership (plus, it’ll get you $25 off every booking, which brings the average cost down to $125/day). Most of our properties have reviews from anglers who’ve fished them, so feel free to poke around!

      We are actively seeking properties in the Northwest and have a few Oregon properties in the pipeline. If you’re subscribed to our email list, you’ll be notified whenever a new property comes online.

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