Harlan's Fishing Outlook for February

Published by: Harlan Kimball

Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow and is calling for six more weeks of winter! Whether you love it or hate it, Phil reminds us it's time to start looking at the current snowpack situation. The Colorado Headwaters snowpack is looking promising at 134% of average, but after looking at the graph below, we still have a ways to go. According to the Climate Prediction Center, the month of February will bring average precipitation and slightly below average temperatures. Obviously, we would like to see above average precipitation, so let’s just hope the weather center is off their game this month.

Being in the midst of winter, midges are going to be the name of the game for the next month or two. On sunny, windless days there have been very productive midge hatches on the Colorado River near Parshall and below Glenwood Springs. Noses have been breaking the surface starting around 1-2pm for a productive couple of hours of winter dry fly fishing! Size 18-22 midge dries trailed behind a larger Parachute Adams has been the go-to with some fish even taking the larger size 16 parachute! When nymphing, take your time and find runs with slower moving water and depth. Most fish have been caught on small egg patterns and size 22 midge patterns. Old school attractors like Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns are always worth trying out as well. Don't sleep on streamers this time of year. The key here is low and slowww. Fish are in their most lethargic state this time of year and that means getting that streamer close enough they can feel the feathers tickle their nose. Try smaller streamers like Sculpzillas, Baby Gongas, and Mini Peanut Envys. 

Now let’s talk ice fishing! We’ve noticed how many of you are out there on the ice this year and we wanted to give you some reports from our latest outings on Dillon and Green Mountain Reservoir. Dillon has been seeing some great fish numbers in the mornings with things becoming less productive in the afternoon. Small orange tube jigs have been attracting a lot of fish. Kastmasters, and small Dynamic Tungsten Jigs with a small wax worm have been very productive for trout and salmon. If you’re looking for numbers of rainbow trout, focus your efforts on water 8-15 feet deep. If arctic char and brown trout are your cup of tea, try drilling holes in about 30-50 feet of water.

Looking for lake trout? Take a short trip north to Green Mountain Reservoir. Unlike Dillon Reservoir, most of the action on Green Mountain has taken place in the afternoon. If you’re willing to brave out a snow storm, it can be well worth it. Fish have been more active during the overcast/snowy days. Try anywhere from 40-80 feet of water, and if you find a flat section above or below a drop off, you should have luck. White and chartreuse tube jigs have been the ticket at Green Mountain. HD Ice lures in the rainbow and brown trout patterns have also been bringing fish to the surface. 

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