Get Hooked on Winter Fishing in Colorado

Don’t tell any Colorado anglers we let you in on this, but winter is one of the best times of year to fish our rivers, lakes and streams. Whether you want to cast from the shoreline or chill in an ice shanty, the state's many winter fishing options are sure to lure you in.

Winter fly-fishing with 5280 Angler — the one that didn't get away
Winter fly-fishing with 5280 Angler — the one that didn't get away
Fishing With Bernie — a successful family ice-fishing adventure
Fishing With Bernie — a successful family ice-fishing adventure
Guided tenkara outing with RIGS
Guided tenkara outing with RIGS

Winter Fly-Fishing in Colorado

Winter fly-fishing may be the best-kept secret in Colorado. Hook up with a guide to learn about new fishing tricks, local streams and hatches.

Minturn AnglersMinturn

A sparkling blanket of snow and uncrowded rivers make the perfect bait for a guided wade trip. Head to the Vail Valley with a veteran fishing guide, where folks of all skill levels have the chance to hook a rainbow trout from slow-moving winter waters. Choose from either the Colorado or Eagle rivers.

St. Peter’s Fly ShopFort Collins

Practice your back casts during a part-school, part-fishing trip. On this outing, you’ll build your fundamental fly-fishing skills and get tips on everything from achieving an extended drag-free drift to adding 20 feet to your cast. Some guided trips are offered during the winter.

5280 AnglerArvada

Walk and wade with this outfitter, who has an admitted love affair with Colorado’s trout and promotes best catch-and-release practices. Spend a day on the South Platte River with your new best friend/fishing buddy — one of 5280’s personable guides. Trips include all the equipment you’ll need, from boots and waders to rods, reels, flies, terminal tackle and a cooler.

Colorado Wilderness Rides and GuidesDenver, Boulder & Estes Park

Serious fishing fans can book a multi-day trip with Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides. Custom adventures to top fly-fishing destinations are based on a client’s goals and skill level. Guided fish-and-float trips include a fly-fishing “school,” all necessary gear and access to Colorado’s remote streams. You might just luck out and catch a rare greenback cutthroat trout — the official state fish.

Tenkara in Snow-Flanked Streams

Colorado’s shimmering streams are the perfect place to try tenkara, an ancient Japanese method of fly-fishing that uses a lightweight bamboo rod, line and fly without a reel.

Frying Pan Anglers, Basalt

Frying Pan Anglers is happy to take fly-fishing novices under their fins and teach them the art of tenkara. The easy-to-learn style of fishing is great for newcomers and happens to be one of the most effective ways to snag trout. Book a guided trip and fish along the crystal-clear Gold Medal waters at the confluence of the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork rivers.

Royal Gorge AnglersCañon City

Build your skills with a Colorado big fish — Royal Gorge Anglers is the oldest outfitter on the Arkansas River. You’ll take a guided trip through the southern Rocky Mountain canyons and learn cutting-edge American tenkara techniques, like nymphing, plus traditional Japanese fly patterns.

RIGS Fly Shop & Guide ServiceRidgway

These guides cast a wide net as both the first tenkara fly-rod dealer and endorsed tenkara outfitter in the state. Join them for an expertly led adventure in southwestern Colorado’s scenic, high-mountain headwaters. RIGS’s guides really know their stuff, so expect to get schooled as you go.

Mountain AnglerBreckenridge

Join Summit County’s oldest fly-fishing guide service and the only one to offer area tenkara excursions. To ensure things go swimmingly, all trips are private (with three people max per guide) — and you must make a reservation. Locations include the Colorado, Blue and Eagle rivers along with limited outings on private local ranches.

Colorado Ice Fishing

You know it’s ice-fishing season when Colorado’s mountains are snowcapped and the lakes are solid glass. Join a growing group of hearty winter fishers with the help of an area outfitter.

FishHead OutdoorsPueblo

Treat yourself to an outstanding fishing experience with heated huts, high-tech sonar and all of the equipment you’ll need, including custom ice-fishing rods. Guides can help you find and reel in stealthy trout, salmon and pike.

Tumbling TroutLake George

This locally loved shop and guide service is owned by Michele White, a certified professional guide and published author (you can browse her fish tales in the fly shop). During ice-fishing season, which typically runs from late December through mid-February, join a Tumbling Trout guide on the Antero Reservoir’s thick ice. An insulated pop-up ice-fishing tent makes things cozy as you keep an eye out for the glistening rainbow trout swimming just below your boots.

Fishing With BernieGranby

You’ll have a whale of a time with owner Bernie Keefe or one of his experienced guides. Keefe has been operating on Lake Granby for more than 25 years and is especially sought after by those in search of trophy lake trout. For ice fishing, Keefe and his guides have been known to drill up to 100 holes to find the best spot.

Blue Mesa FishingGunnison

Bring the whole family for a kid-friendly ice-fishing trip. All group trips take place on the Blue Mesa Reservoir, home to the best Kokanee salmon fisheries in the state. Half- and full-day salmon and trout fishing trips are offered with knowledgeable guides. Just remember to dress your little guppies super warm for their big day on the ice.

Tacklebox Tips

Want More?

Learn about Colorado’s popular ice-fishing spots

Find family-friendly fishing excursions

Check out fishing hotspots around the state


Photo credits: Matt McCannel; 5280 Angler; Fishing With Bernie