While we’ve flipped the calendar to December here at Cutthroat Anglers, it seems like fall won’t loosen its grip. We’ve had awesome Fall weather all November and it looks like that trend will continue through the start of December, at least. Before the snow starts to fly, get out fishing. You’ll sure wish you had when January hits! This month's fishing outlook will cover where to fish, how to fish in the winter, and our favorite bugs for December.
WHERE TO FISH?
The Blue: The Blue below Dillon Reservoir is one of our favorite consistent fisheries for December. While people usually fish right here in town, the Blue North of Silverthorne and above Green Mountain Reservoir is an excellent option to avoid crowds and find some really nice fish. As you travel North of town, fish numbers tend to decrease but crowds disappear and you can occasionally find escapee trout from local ranches that stock large trout! The key to the Blue is finding deep water where the fish concentrate. With Dillon Reservoir being one of the deepest reservoirs in the state and the water being fed to the blue from the bottom of the reservoir, the water is extremely cold year round in the Blue. This means that fish push to slower deeper water where they can conserve energy rather than expending calories fighting the current. One of our favorite tactics for fishing the Blue is sight fishing and while its especially important in the town section, it is an underutilized technique North of Silverthorne. The other advantage to this technique is that once you find a fish in the winter there are typically more with it. Fish pod up in the winter as they all look for similar slow deep water to live in, so typically when you find one fish there are many more around.
Colorado at Parshall: The Colorado River below the Williams Fork confluence is one of our favorite options for December. The Williams Fork keeps the Colorado River ice free below the confluence since the water is warmer coming out of Williams Fork Reservoir than water that isn’t controlled by a dam. Whether it be the plentiful public access, awesome baetis hatch, or number of fish the Colorado at Parshall is a crowd favorite for December. Fish tend to concentrate in this stretch from other parts of the Colorado since it stays ice free while other parts freeze over which the fish prefer. It's also normally a few degrees warmer closer to Parshall than in Silverthorne in December so it's a good place to escape the cold!
Hit the Freestones (Colorado, Eagle, Arkansas): One of our favorite December strategies is to fish the local freestones as they begin to freeze for the winter. The fish know that their opportunity to feed with open water is dwindling so they will take advantage and eat as much as possible. Obviously this is good for fishermen since they will eat big flies like worms, eggs and stoneflies and they will eat as many of the small bugs as possible, too. Technical fish will lose their picky attitudes at time this time of year and it can be awesome fishing. Give these spots a try and try swinging a streamer down deep and slow!
OUR FAVORITE DECEMBER TACTICS
In terms of what tactics we are using for the month of December, think “low and slow.” As we mentioned earlier, fish like to pod up in the slow and deep pools when water temperatures begin to drop. Be sure you are adjusting your nymph rig regularly to match the depth of water you are fishing. Typically, we like our nymphs to be ticking the bottom before you get halfway through your drift (but not dragging the bottom). This will ensure your flies are getting down to the feeding zone through the majority of your drift.