Winter fly fishing on Colorado waters is an almost ethereal experience. The scenery is astounding. You have the water to yourself and the pace is relaxing. All you need is the appropriate clothing to stay warm in winter temperatures, and some slight adjustments to your gear and technique. Drop in to your local Minturn Anglers shop and they will quickly set you up with everything you need for a successful and comfortable day of winter fly fishing. They will also suggest which tailwaters are most active at the moment, and the best route to get there.
Colorado winter weather can change from minute to minute, so be prepared with clothing that will keep you comfortably warm and dry, even when nasty weather hits. I use boot foot waders to keep my feet warm, and often use chemical heat packs between two socks to keep warm on colder days. I favor capilene liner gloves with a couple of finger tips cut off, as well as a pair of fingerless gloves overtop. I bring a number of pairs, so that I can replace them when they become wet. I rely on micro fleece cold weather wading pants to let me fish in safety and comfort. Finally I choose a jacket and headgear that will allow freedom of movement and still keep me warm. I usually spend considerable time at the Minturn Anglers store, trying on different outfits until I find one that is just right.
While I am there, I also stock up on my supply of useful winter patterns. Hatches are limited in the winter, usually to midges and blue-winger olive mayflies. These are small patterns, so I also stock up on light-weight tippets as well. Minturn staff always remind me that a drag-free drift will be needed to persuade slow moving trout to become interested in my fly. They also suggest using sufficient weight to place the fly into the lower part of the water where the fish are holding. The best recommendation I’ve heard there that to avoid ice forming in the guides of my rod is to simply spray some PAM non-stick cooking spray on those guides before you head out to the river.
Gear up and get out on the water! You’ll find it much more enjoyable than counting the days until spring and simply leafing through the latest fishing magazines and catalogs.