Colorado Fishing Report

June 24th, 2017

The Colorado Angler Fly Fishing Report

 

Plan your next fishing trip knowing you’ll arrive without any surprises. Our professional fishing reports are updated weekly with stream and river flows, recommended flies, equipment, and special fishing tips for the most important fly-fishing destinations in Colorado. To see a detailed fishing report for a specific stretch of river, simply scroll below to read more information.. Make sure to check those out for your river of interest, as they will be able to answer questions pertaining to hatches and flies.

Understanding how fisheries change during the year, as well as how to approach them is key to growing an angler’s skill set. We hope you use this invaluable information to your advantage. Please feel free to call us at The Colorado Angler, at any time to discuss any questions and concerns you may have about the current conditions. Or stop by and see us in the Summit Place shopping center in Silverthorne, next to Blue Moon Bakery, Exit 205 on I-70, then south 1 block.

Call: Toll Free 855-CO TROUT (268-7688)

Summer Hours:

Monday – Sunday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

 

Recent Update: Saturday June 24, 2017

 

A continuation of improving conditions across most high country locations.  Peak run-off hit a couple weeks ago and most native flowing rivers and the drop in flows is quickly bringing them close to prime fishing. It will still take a little bit of time to get most of them to “perfect” levels but, there are freestones to think about if you are tired of the tailwater scene. The Colorado, Eagle and upper Arkansas all received a spike but will soon drop and be in the mix for incredible wade fishing.

Big changes on some of the tailwaters, as well. The Blue in town dropped and we are experiencing spillage! The Williams Fork below the reservoir increased steadily since Wednesday.  Denver Water has cut it’s release as inflows into the dam are on the decline.  Great news for those who fish the river in town, as it should bring hatches of Caddis and PMDs. While over in South Park, Spinney Mountain has finally bumped up to a fun level.

Although it has peaked and conditions are improving, run-off is a fact of life in Colorado but, it doesn’t have to be the end of your fishing on streams and rivers.  Be prepared for it and adjust your rigs and tactics accordingly.  First, bump up your weight, significantly.  Typically this is already the most overlooked part of most nymph anglers set-ups.  Keep in mind that many of the places you are going to find fish are going to be tight spots and you want your flies to get down as quickly as possible. Second, increase your tippet size substantially.  With the heavy flows and low visibility, you should be able to get away with 2 and 3x in most freestone situations.  Even in the relative clarity of a tailwater, high water will help you mask your tippet a little better. In most cases 3 and 4x should be camouflaged enough to fool trout.

As for your approach to the river. Look for the softer edge water along the banks and below structure. Many of these spots may only be the size of a small sofa or desk. Get it down quick. Keep in mind that as the water comes up, it will cover up obstacles and hazards. In some places where the river may be out of its banks by several feet and totally cover stream side willows. If you are familiar with an area, try to picture the river at lower flows so that you make your drifts in unobstructed lanes. And be prepared to lose some flies. No matter where you go for the next couple of weeks, be careful wading, these flows are pretty unforgiving. And definitely put on a life jacket if you are floating, there have already been fatalities on the Colorado and Arkansas this season.

Detail reports below will give more specific information on a particular stretch of river. Make sure to check those out for your river of interest, as they will be able to answer questions pertaining to hatches and flies.

 

Blue River Below Dillon Reservoir

Flow: 838 cfs
Conditions:  Flows have dropped slightly but not enough to make wade fishing easy for in-town anglers, definitely fish-able though.  Denver Water has scaled back the release of water in order for a spill.  We have spillage!  This could potentially bring us a great caddis hatch if the the water temperature hits the mid 50s. This morning, our temperature reading was 43 degrees, way warmer than normal.  Bump up your weight, at minimum a couple of BB or AAA to start and adjust from there depending on results. Tippet should be no less than 4x but, we recommend as high s 3x fluorocarbon if you need extra security.  Sight nymphing should be possible even at these higher flows.  That will help with success, as you want to make sure you are actually fishing to sheltering fish and not wasting your time on vacant water.  Fish tend to get pushed to the banks when the water is this high, fish pockets and deep troughs.  Tandem nymph rigs with a mix of egg patterns, San Juan Worms, searching nymphs, tailwater midges, caddis and dead drifted streamers are all good patterns to start with. Don’t throw the tiny sizes that work in the winter, bump all nymphs to #16 and #14. Our trips in town this week have continued to hook fish but, it is a slightly technical endeavor to say the least. 

Town Flies: Shrimp, Egg patterns, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Flossy Worm, Gummy Worm, Sparkle Worm, Red Neck Midge, Glassy Brassie, Mirage Zebra Midge, Desert Storm, Rainbow Warrior, Black Beauty, Brassie, UV Emerger, Biot Midge, Lil Spanker, Tungsten Psycho May-Black, Rojo Midge, Tube Midge – Black or Red, RS-2 – Black or Dun, WD40 – Black or Chocolate, Two Bit Hooker, Zebra Midge, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Green Psycho, Yaeger’s Soft Hackle. And work in a streamer every once in a while, as well. Often over looked but, randomly deadly.


Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 795 +/- cfs
Conditions: Flows have remained steady for the past week except for two hours on the 22nd.  Flows dropped from 900ish to 60ish then back up to the 800s.  These flows will still limit the amount of wade fishing that can be done but, it will be a change for the better for foot traffic.  Look for any available edge water and soft spots that you can reach from the near bank.  Go big with your weight and tippet size in order to get down to any fish that you may hook.  Look for nymphing to continue to be the most consistent approach throughout the day, and there should be a little action on streamers in those spots where you can swing them.  Large beaded searching patterns, Stoneflies, as well as Green Drake, Caddis and PMD imitation will be the best place to start. While it is a modest improvement for wading, this will be a bigger improvement for float anglers.  This will still be a swift current but, at this flow there will be more slack water to effectively fish. Heavy nymph rigs and streamers will cover this volume best.  As always, be aware of private property and respect boundaries. 

Flies: Big bead heads: Deep Dish Green Drake, Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser, Pheasant Tail, Stubby Stone, Twenty Incher, Rubberlegs, Psycho Prince, Green Drake Nymph, Duracell Jig, Flossy Worm. The Smaller Stuff: Aero Baetis, RS-2, Tung Psycho May, Split Case BWO, Barr’s BWO, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Juju Baetis, Red Neck Midge, Tube Midge, Biot Pupa, Mirage Zebra,Otter Egg. Sculpzilla, Sex Dungeon, Cheech Leech, Sparkle Minnow etc

 

Floaters should note: The river volume on this stretch of water can change on an infrequent schedule and often (like on the 22 for two hours). It is important to know the flow before you launch and make an honest assessment of your ability and watercraft capability.  Please respect private property rights along the river. Under 500 cfs, floating becomes questionable for clearance of certain boats.


Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)

Flow: 2277 cfs
Conditions: Flows were bumped below the confluence of the Colorado and Williams Fork due to the large release below the Williams Fork Dam. This is a large amount of water for those that are used to fishing this stretch in the middle of summer.  The river will be full bank-to-bank and even out of it’s banks in some places.  Keep in mind that wading will be tough but, focus on any softer currents along the edge, behind structure or inside of bends in the river where trout will be able to shelter from the higher flows.  The positive to the current conditions is that most fish in the river will be pushed out to this edge water and you shouldn’t need to get in the water to reach them.  Tandem nymph rigs with Pats Rubber Legs, mid-sized searching patterns and San Juan Worms would be the best place to start and adjust from there based on action.  Boost your weight up substantially and don’t use any tippet lighter than 3x.  Caddis have been moving up river and it shouldn’t be too long before thick summer hatches of PMDs, Yellow Sallies and Red Quills emerge for daily dry fly sessions.  Unfortunately, the other prevalent aquatic insect in Middle Park is starting to appear, mosquitoes.  Don’t be unprepared for the potential of encountering this epic summer hatch, as well.  Pack skeeter spray!Upstream of Parshall, the fishing has been consistent. Before Byer’s Canyon and in the canyon itself, the dry fly fishing has been great.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Hurless Stone Nymph, Flossy Worm, CDC Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead Nymph, Lil Spanker, Tungsten Hackled, Buckskin #16-20, Pheasant Tail #14-22, Black Copper John #20-22, Small Prince Nymphs, Black Pheasant Tail, Tung Psycho May, Split Case BWO, Tungsten Micro Mayfly Brown, Tungsten Juju Baetis, Aero Baetis, Root Beer Float, Zebra Midge, Red Neck Midge, Biot Midge, 5-0 Midge, WD40, Pure Midge Larva


Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 3440 cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions: Conditions had made a dramatic rebound in a very short time, however, we are back to high water with hit or miss fishing. Flows are up due to the Williams Fork release and clarity has dropped slightly.  It may look off color in the center of the channel but, if you look along the edges where there is a reference point you will see that it is from 18-36 inches depending on the day. This is a large amount of water, particularly if you are familiar with fishing this stretch later in the summer and wading will be limited.  Fish were spooked with the big jump in flow at first but are becoming more comfortable with time. As well, they are still pushed towards the edge water where it is easier to shelter from the higher than average flows, making them relatively accessible to wade and float anglers alike. Results have been best on nymph imitations, primarily for Stoneflies, Caddis and beaded searching patterns.  The most prevalent emergence at the moment has been micro sized Caddis in the late afternoon into evening.  There have been some opportunities to find fish rising to those Caddis, as well as to medium sized attractors.  Go big on the weight for your nymph rigs and don’t throw any tippet smaller than 3x. The streamer fishing has been hit or miss, there are days with fantastic results followed up the very next with barely a fish or two moved. It’s always worth giving it a try but, unless you are just a died in the wool junkie, be prepared to switch back to fishing bugs if the interest isn’t there in the meat. 

Floating Tip: As the river runs high, please proceed with caution. Lateral waves, standing waves, wave trains, and sleepers all become more prevalent in the canyon stretches and swamping of drift boats or flipping rafts becomes a possibility. If you are unfamiliar with the river at higher levels ask someone that is familiar with it about what to expect. And by all means, wear your PFD. Cold water and swift currents can neutralize your amazing swimming ability. There’s nothing cool about drowning.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Psycho Prince, Bead Head Hare’s Ear, G6 Caddis, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Duracell, Iron Sally, Masked Marauder, Copper John, San Juan Worm, Sculpzilla, Silver Bullet, Sex Dungeon, Cheech Leech, Crystal Bugger


Colorado Below Glenwood Springs

Flow: 11400 cfs
Conditions: Pretty much a low percentage option now that run-off is continuing to impact most of the tributaries up basin. Not only the main line of the Colorado but, add in the Eagle and Roaring Fork and clarity becomes limiting. If you are in the neighborhood and you happen to find clarity agreeable that day, then give it a go but, we wouldn’t recommend a trip to the lower river specifically to fish it alone. If you are not used to fishing water that carries a certain amount of color to it, here is a good general rule for the lower river: Green is good, brown is down. Whether it’s a foot, or four of visibility, as long as it has a greenish tint to it, you should be able to find feeding fish. With that being the case, take advantage of the situation to bump up your tippet size to 3 or 4x to give you a little edge in landing what you are able to hook. This stretch consistently produces some of the nicest Rainbows on the Colorado River and late winter to late spring is a great time to get out and explore this overlooked location.
 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Prince, Twenty Incher, Iron sally, Tungstone, Delektable Bug-Golden or Brown, Duracell Jig, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Bead Hares Ear, San Juan Worm patterns, Lil Spanker, Tung Psycho May, Big Spanker, Rainbow Warrior, Magic Fly, RS-2, Bead Eggs, Otter Egg, Flossy Worm


 

Arkansas River Above Buena Vista

Flow: 1690 cfs @ Granite & 505 @Hayden Meadows
Conditions: Flows are on the decline for wade fishing and there has been a dramatic improvement to clarity. Still going to be a little while longer before it is back to a manageable level but, it’s on the right track. At least above Balltown and the confluence from Lake Creek. The upper stretch above there, into Hayden Meadows is going to be the first best option as flows continue to drop. As of right now the available soft water that tends to hold fish at run-off is still far and few between. If you are headed up there, tandem nymph rigs with larger Stonefly imitations, beaded searching patterns and San Juan Worms would be the place to start. We think it may be the early to middle part of next week before the amount of soft water increases enough to offer more than marginal options. 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Duracell, Copper John, BH Pheasant Tail, BH Hare’s Ear, Lil Spanker, Hot Wire Prince, Psycho Prince, Yeager’s Soft Hackle J, Iron Sally, Hammerhead Jig, Flossy Worm, Silver Bullet, Sparkle Minnow.


Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 2910 cfs @ Salida
Conditions: High and dirty. Give it a rest for a while and at least let the flow level off and the dust settle. We are getting closer. 

Flies: Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Prince, Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Red or Chartreuse Copper John, Hot Wire Prince, Iron Sallie, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead, Duracell Jig, Barr’s Emerger, Juju Baetis, Tungsten Psycho May BWO, G6 Caddis, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, OCD Caddis, Para Winger BWO, Extended Body Para BWO, Caddis Dries, Hippie Stomper, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Rainbow Warrior, Poison Tung, Brassie, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Mirage Midge, Red Neck Midge, Biot Pupa Midge


Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow: 4440 cfs
Conditions: Big and dirty. However, peak has passed and it is on the drop. We recommend heading up valley with the masses and hitting the relative stability of the Frying Pan. 

Flies: Midge Emergers, UV Emerger, Tungteaser, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Pat’s Rubber Legs #8-10, Psycho Prince, Tungsten Yellow Sally, Tungstone, CDC Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Standard Pheasant Tail, Tung Psycho May, Split Case BWO, RS2, Frenchie, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Duracell Jig, Root Beer Float, Foam Wing RS2, G6 Caddis, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, Winger Para BWO, Christian’s GT BWO, Brooks Sprout BWO, Sparkle Bug, Elk Hair Caddis


South Platte River, Middle Fork

Flow: 280 +/- cfs
Conditions: Big and pretty dirty.  Flows on the decline though. 

Flies: Beaded Prince, Duracell Jig, Hammerhead Jig, Red Collar PT, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Big Spanker, Zebra Midge, Mirage Midge, Red Neck Midge


South Platte, Dream Stream

Flow: 249 cfs
Conditions: The Dream Stream flows have stayed consistent the past couple of days. Fish have become more familiar with the increase and it should produce for you. Great time of year to find Caddis emerging from the river, soon to be followed by PMDs. Take lots of bug spray, the mosquitoes are getting thick down there. 

Flies: Loop Wing Emerger, Pure Midge Larva Black or Pale Olive, Black, Red, Chartreuse Copper John, Juju Baetis, Buckskin, Caddis Larva, Poxybiot Nymph, Desert Storm Chartreuse, Tube Midge, Poison Tung, Zebra Midge Black/Silver, Barr’s Emerger BWO, RS2, Poxybiot Nymph, Egg Patterns, Cap’n Hook, Disco Midge, San Juan Work variations, Dave’s Hopper, Parachute Adams, Hippie Stomper


Williams Fork River Below Dam

Flow: 587 cfs
Conditions: . This will be a tougher approach than usual but, once the clarity settles down, it will offer some opportunity. Lots of weight and a keen eye to help find sheltering fish could produce some success. They are releasing a lot of water from the reservoir, might pass on this option until it comes down. 

Flies: Split Case BWO, Poxy-Biot Nymph, Buckskin, Flossy Worm, Little Brown Bug, Two Bit Hooker, Flash Back Pheasant Tail, Tungsten Micro Mayfly, Big Bear Baetis, Tungsten Psycho May BWO, Pure Midge Larva, Rainbow Warrior, Rojo Midge, Biot mayfly Emerger, #20-22 Green Copper John, Zebra Midge, RS2’s, 5-0 Midge, UV Emerger


Eagle River

Flow: 1610 @ Edwards 2150 cfs @ Gypsum
Conditions: Flows continue to run high but, they are on the drop and clarity has improved dramatically. There is definitely some available soft water along the banks and behind structure that is holding fish. Those spots will still be spread out, requiring anglers to be mobile and willing to move some distance up or down the bank to find those spots. This is a technical situation with current flows but, there are fish to be caught if you are committed to working the river. Tandem nymph rigs will offer the best shot during the heat of the day, with a mix of Stonefly, Caddis and beaded searching nymphs. In the evening there may be an increased possibility of fish eating dries for Caddis and attractors. 

Flies: Iron Sally, Duracell Jig, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Head Prince, Bead Head Hare’s Ear, Psycho Prince, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Buckskin Caddis, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Root Beer Float, Tung Psycho May, G6 Caddis, Lite Bright Caddis, Spaghetti and Meatballs.


Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conditions: The Park is open for the season. Results are hit or miss. Antero is now open for the season as well with incredible chironomid hatches. Mind the crowds.

Flies: Chirono Cones, Yankee Buzzers, Skinny Nelsons, Glass Chironomids, Wooftas, Peaches & Creams, Eggs, Squirrel Leech, Hale Bopp Leech


Delaney Buttes Lakes

Conditions: A good high-water-time-of-year option. Action has been decent to good on a mix of Chironomids, Callibaetis, Damsel and leech patterns.

Flies: Eggs, Hale Bopp Leech, Squirrel Leech, Egg Sucking Leech, Crank Shaft, Buzzers, Zebra, CDC Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Duracell Jig, Hammerhead Jig etc


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