Many of us simply hang up the waders when the first snow starts to fly but for some of us, this is the time of year to bundle up and enjoy winter fly fishing in Estes Park. Not everyone is willing to wait until spring, including the guides at our Estes Park fly shop, and for good reason! We love being on the water and winter can’t slow us down. In fact, some of the best winter fly fishing in Estes Park can be found during the cold months of December, January, and February. Of course, even when it is cold, the weather in Colorado is almost always perfect. Even in the winter, we get just enough sunshine to keep a smile on the faces of just about everyone you will meet. If you haven’t tried winter fly fishing before, now is the time!
Isn’t Winter Fly Fishing Cold?
Well, yeah it’s cold. It’s January in the Rocky Mountains. Of course stretches of temperate weather are not uncommon either, meaning that the trout fishing is almost always accessible. Winter fly fishing in Estes Park is one of the more magical experiences you can have. Let’s face it, you need to be prepared, and jumping into the Big Thompson river in a pair of blue jeans is not the best idea. An angler needs the proper gear, and the willingness to work a little harder for the fish of a lifetime. That being said, winter fly fishing is not much different than skiing when it comes to comfort level.
Do the Fish Still Bite?
Unlike the chattering squirrels that live in the pines lining the river, trout do not shut down during the winter. As long as they have running water, they will be just fine, even if the river is completely frozen over, which rarely happens here in Colorado. And fortunately, trout will feed all year round. In warm water fisheries like reservoirs, ponds, and lakes, the fish will still feed but they will hang out in pockets of warmer water near the bottom. Due to the nature of a frozen lake, and the behavior of fish during the winter, the best course of action is to drill a hole and wait for the fish to swim by (which, if you are interested in a guided Lake Estes fishing charter, give us a call and we can talk more about it with you.) Trout, on the other hand, are constantly moving but they tend to stay in the same holes throughout the year. When winter is here and the snow is building up in the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park, the water level in our rivers tends to drop considerably. What is left is prime trout habitat and they can be dramatically easy to find in the lower water. We will target deeper water while winter fly fishing and you can be very successful.
What Will They Eat?
Trout in the winter are still hungry, despite the cold. They will still rise to something that looks tasty floating by. In fact, there are numerous hatches that occur, even in the middle of winter. Catching one of these while winter fly fishing is truly a remarkable experience and can produce incredible action. Of course, you will want to be prepared when such an event happens and match your flies accordingly. Winter will produce hatches of midges and all sorts of critters under the surface. These creatures will be the bugs that trout will gorge themselves on in the spring and summer when they move past the larval stage and take flight. This time of year you will want to fish deeper to mimic those larvae and entice a bite. Weighted flies and sinking lines are the usual winter fly fishing setup for a fly rod, as this will get you down to where the fish are.
Where Can I Experience Winter Fly Fishing?
Regardless of where you live, a trip to go fly fishing in Estes Park is an excellent way to spend a vacation, even a mid-winter excursion. In addition to some of the finest winter fly fishing in the country, we have a huge selection of outdoor activities. Pursuits like Rocky Mountain National Park snowshoeing, skiing, tubing and ice skating are all within reach when you visit our Estes Park fly shop. Of course, once you finally decide to get involved with winter fly fishing, don’t say we did not warn you, it has become almost cult-like among its many devotees. Either way, whether you just want to experience the rush of catching huge fish with tiny flies or just want to sit back and take in the unparalleled scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park, a day on the river is exactly the place to be. If you are ready to book an Estes Park guided fly fishing trip before the snow is gone, we have two words for you, do it. Kirks Flyshop will outfit you with everything you need to be nice and warm on the river. We will make sure you have every opportunity to experience the joy of winter fly fishing in Estes Park.