Harlan's Fishing Outlook for December

The snow has arrived and we couldn't be happier. Everyone at the shop is crossing their fingers for a deep snowpack this year. It's been a while since we've had a large spring runoff and our rivers could use a bit of a flush. In the meantime, we are enjoying the solitude of winter fishing on The Blue, The Colorado, and some local reservoirs that are still yet to freeze.

Be ready for freestone rivers and creeks to cap over with ice this month (if they haven't already). Tailwaters are going to be your best bet for finding open water and willing fish. The Blue River in Silverthorne and below Green Mountain Reservoir will stay ice free throughout the winter and offer great nymphing and possibly dry fly fishing opportunities. In terms of rigging and fly selection, keep it simple. This time of year midges and baetis are going to be your bread and butter fly patterns. Don't be afraid to mix in a small stonefly or egg pattern as your attractor. Focus most of your efforts on slow moving water and deep pools. Fish will start to conserve energy when the water temperatures become close to freezing.

Before the reservoirs and lakes ice over, we are getting in as much predator fishing as possible. Big trout and pike like to cruise the shoreline in search of an easy meal before they get into their winter slumps. This is a great time for fly anglers to target fish they might not otherwise get a shot at during the summer months when fish tend to be deeper. Get after it sooner than later as we only have a couple more weeks of open water left. 

Be prepared for the cold this winter. Here are a few tips to stay out on the water longer: 

- Bring an extra pair of socks! Having a dry pair of wool socks to put on after a long drive can keep you on the water longer. 

- Have a good pair of fishing gloves. We love to use Glacier Gloves and Simms! 

- Bring a cup of joe or make some hot toddies! Who doesn't love a warm riverside cocktail? 

- Layering, layering, layering! Having some base-layers, mid-layers, and a quality jacket will keep you on the water longer than your fishing buddy that had to go warm up in the car. 

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