Best Winter Fly-Fishing Spot 2020 | Arkansas River Tailwater | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Trout are a lot like humans: When it gets cold out, they tend to get lazy. This is especially true in mountain streams, where they go nearly dormant in cold weather. Fly anglers are better off fishing tailwaters (the sections of rivers just below the dam of a reservoir), and the Arkansas River Tailwater boasts the best winter fishery in the state. In fact, the Arkansas actually fishes better in winter than in summer. Nymphing is the can't-lose tactic here, but keep your eye out for dry-fly hatches. If you're willing to brave the cold, expect to hook sixteen- to twenty-inch rainbows. Looking to target warm-water species? The Pueblo Reservoir is a great spot for walleye, wiper, catfish, bass and crappie.

Nothing says fishing like a night spent soaking bait for channel catfish — and there's a damn good lake for it in Aurora. The 880-acre reservoir at Cherry Creek State Park offers anglers a chance to target America's favorite whiskered bottom-feeders, which are notorious for getting the late-night munchies. Wrap some chicken liver in old pantyhose and stick it on a circle hook, then chuck the bait out as far as you can and wait for your rod to tremble. (Pro tip: Use a loud strike indicator in case you doze off.) The park closes each night, but rangers will let you stay if you're fishing; after all, the catfish may not start biting until 2 a.m.

Colorado's newest state park offers an innovative way to let wheelchair users enjoy the outdoors. Special motorized chairs on treads let visitors with limited mobility explore certain trails, reach fishing ponds and see wildlife in the actual wild. Volunteers accompany users and their families to help them safely maneuver the specially equipped chairs, which are free to use with a daily parks pass. The park will start taking reservations for the chairs on May 1 at its website.

Colorado boasts 41 state parks, each more beautiful than the last, but some just stick with you long after you visit. Mueller State Park is one such place, a cliché of a picture postcard, with its panoramic views of Pikes Peak, miles of aspens and evergreens, springs burbling into wildflower-quilted meadows, and granite rock outcroppings spread all over its 5,000 acres. Elk frequently wander across this exquisite expanse, visitors spot the occasional black bear, and the only thing more abundant than the mule deer are the photographers hunched over their tripods, trying to capture it all.

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