Colorado Fishing Report

June 23rd, 2015

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 river, simply scroll below to read 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.

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)

Spring Hours: Monday – Saturday 7 am – 6 pm, Sunday 8 am – 5 pm

 

Recent Update: June 23, 2015

 

Although river levels continue to run very high in almost every stream in the state, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as it appears that run-off has peaked in the past 5 – 8 days depending on elevation.  While we certainly haven’t seen a major drop on most rivers, there are signs that things could improve quickly now that flows have stopped rising.

The big difference to the high flows now that they have started to fall, will be clarity.  When rivers rise they generally inundate previously dry channels and bank sides, picking up debris and sediment that had been “high and dry”.  That is what causes the majority of color in the water.  Once those flows peak and re-establish a river channel, that debris will be moved downstream and the stream bottom will stabilize, and along with it clarity.

Now that we have turned that corner, just about every river will see improvements and offer increasing amounts of available water.  Most notably the Colorado and Eagle, with the Arkansas to follow shortly, albeit with the better access starting in the upper valley and then working down river as flows continue to diminish.

And from the “You may not believe this category”: For those of you that missed out on the hatch this year, you may still have a chance.  As of Tuesday the 23rd, large numbers of adult Salmonflies are still present in the upper reaches of Gore Canyon.  If you are up for the hike, drop what you are doing and get in on the action.

Detailed 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: 1590 cfs.
Conditions:  Denver water has maxed out the release in town as they prepare for the lake to spill in the next week or two.  The hope is that they have managed run-off so that as the lake fills and spills over the top it won’t get much higher than it is now and if it does it won’t run that high for too long.  There is actually a positive to this in that when the lake spills over, water temperatures rise dramatically, which in turn produce some fantastic hatches through town and below.  Including Caddis, PMDs and the elusive Green Drake.  In the meantime, fishing has remained technical, but productive for skilled anglers.  Focus on any soft water that you can find, no matter how small, along the edges, on the inside of bends and below islands.  The entirety of the water in town is still coming from the bottom of the dam, which is cold and Mysis shrimp laden.  Nymphing continues to offer the best approach with a mix of Shrimp, Egg, Worm and Baetis patterns carrying the lion’s share of success but, also some action on streamers, large stones and searching patterns as well.  This is as high as the water has been yet this season and weight will continue to be a major factor in your success.  Keep in mind that most of the fish you are targeting are holding in very small/short lies.  This will require your flies to drop very quickly in order to get in front of the fish before blowing past them into the heavy current.  We recommend 2-3 AAA to start with and then bump it up accordingly depending on location.  Same thing for tippet.  Start with 3X and adjust up or down if needed.  Although, we wouldn’t expect to land too many if dropping to 4X.  Traffic does remain light for the Blue but, when you consider the diminished access due to high water it is still fairly busy.  Be patient and show your fellow angler a little courtesy by not crowding into water that may not support more than one angler.Town Flies: Stalcup’s Mysis, BTS Mysis, Charlie’s Mysis – All in size 14-16, Copper John 16-20, Kingery’s Cap’n Hook, Pure Midge Larva Red, Tube Midge – Black or Red, RS-2 – Black or Dun, WD40 – Black or Chocolate, Two Bit Hooker, Winter Baetis, Black Beauty, Disco Midge, Desert Storm, Rainbow Warrior, UV Emerger – Black or Brown, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Wooly Bugger Black or Olive, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Flossy Worn


Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 2390 cfs.
Conditions:  Another ramp up in releases, now running over two grand.  This is getting to a tough endeavor for finding available spots down here to wade safely and find fish.  It is not entirely unfish-able but,it will be limited to say the least.  If you go your best bet will probably be a tandem nymph rig with a mix of larger Stonefly patterns, beaded searching nymphs, large Mayfly imitations and San Juan Worms.  There had been a good Baetis emergence prior to the big flush but, our guess is that may be done for now.  Typical of heavy flows, make sure to bump up your tippet size and the amount of weight on your rig.  Look for any soft edge water or eddy seams that may offer a sheltered lie for trout with access to a food stream.  At this water level it may be high for boaters to get under the bridges as you float through the ranch below Spring Creek Road.  We would certainly urge caution in that regard and recommend against putting yourself at risk for harm or trespass.  Know before you go.Flies: Big bead heads: Tungsten Split Case Green Drake, Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser, Pheasant Tail, Stubby Stone, Twenty Incher, Rubberlegs, Psycho Prince, Mr Peacock Ice, Flossy Worm. The Smaller Stuff: Split Case BWO, Barr’s BWO, Juju Baetis, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Winter Baetis, Black Beauty, Rojo Midge, Otter Egg. Streamers: Silver Bullet, Slumpbuster, Sculpzilla, Tungsten Thin Mint. Dries: Winger Parachute BWO, CDC Baetis Parachute Dun, Mole Fly, Sparkle Baetis, No Hackle Slate Gray.

Floaters should note: The river volume on this stretch of water can change on an infrequent schedule and often. 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. At 1,500 cfs the bridges are impassable.


Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)

Flow: 3900 cfs. @ Parshall
Conditions:  Down from peak flows just last week of 4500.  As we have been cautioning, this continues to be a very robust amount of water for this time of year as upstream releases, combining with melting snow have pushed this river up to a level that will give most anglers pause but, a step in right direction.  At this rate it may be best for most to look elsewhere for their Spring fishing.  If you do give it a go here, tandem nymph rigs with plenty of weight or streamers will be the best way to search for feeding fish.  Larger Stonefly nymphs, beaded searching patterns, as well as Eggs and San Juan Worm patterns.  Concentrate on the quieter lies along the banks and inside of riffles.  There will be days of better clarity at times, but we don’t think that will be as limiting as the flows.  The positive will be the complete lack of competition.  All of that being said, the area above Parshal will see a substantially less amount of water as it is above the added flow of the Williams Fork.   Yes, the flows there are big at the moment as well but, clarity is very positive for fishing.  Be careful where you walk and how far you get from the safety of the bank.  Nymph rigs using large stones and beaded searching patterns and San Juan Worms will be best.

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Kaufman Stonefly Nymph,  B-1 Bomber, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Beaded Prince, Twenty Incher, Two Bit Hooker Red or Olive, Tung Split Case BWO, BLM, Buckskin Caddis, San Juan Worm Patterns, Juju Baetis Red or Purple, Small Eggs,


Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 6900 cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions:  It appears as if flows may have peaked on Friday and have declined a noticeable amount.  Of course that is all relative as the river is still higher than an average peak during normal years.  Clarity has stabilized and is in great shape for the volume of water still in the river. What will be the bigger issue will be finding the structure with all this extra water.  As the river spill out of it’s banks it not only covers the normal channel and structure, causing trout to shift to new favorable lies for feeding and sheltering but, it also covers all kinds of bank side vegetation that now becomes a minefield of snags as anglers drift nymphs searching for trout in this “new” water.  Fortunately you should be fishing a heavier tippet size and will be able to retrieve most of your snags.  While not ideal conditions, there are fish to be found even at these higher flows.  Focus on the softer edge water where trout will look for shelter from the current.  Nymphing will constitute the majority of feeding, and typical summer patterns have been productive: larger Stones, beaded searching patterns San Juan worms etc.  Water temperatures have been on a mostly steady climb and have even reached 60 this week, spurring a nice little PMD hatch for the late morning/early afternoon.  That and the emergence for Yellow Sally Stoneflies and scattered Caddis are starting to drive good action, where you can find that soft water.  Although conditions look prime for streamers, that bite remains slow at the moment. There have been some days with moderate success but, we have had far more consistency on the bugs lately.

Salmonfly Update:  If you are still looking for legitimate dry fly action on adult Salmonflies, it can be had.  As of Tuesday June 23, there were large numbers of them deep in Gore Canyon.  BUT, this is not an easy endeavor.  It is a very rigorous hike into the heart of the canyon, at least 2 miles and the further you hike the better.  Be prepared with water, food and a head lamp for the hike out, just in case you get so caught up in the action you lose track of time.

Flies:  Chubby Chernobyl, Foamulator Orange or Black, Kaufman Stonefly Nymph, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungsten Split Case PMD, Poxybiot Nymph, Beaded Pheasant Tails, Beaded Hares Ears, Hot Wire Prince, Ice Prince Blue, Tungsten Prince, Rubber Leg Mr Peacock, San Juan Worm patterns, Miscellaneous Streamers: Sculpzilla, Silver Bullet, Space Invader, Beldar, Bead Head Buggers in Black or White


Colorado Below Glenwood Springs

Flow: 17,200 cfs.
Conditions: Big and dirty. It’s a shame, Spring fishing had been so good and the Caddis were thick. Probably going to be out of the rotation for some time. Check back mid July.

Flies: Mr Peacock Ice, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Twenty Incher, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Bead Hares Ear, San Juan Worm patterns.


 

Arkansas River Above Buena Vista

Flow: 2210 cfs. @ Granite. 875 Hayden Meadows
Conditions:  Very large and fairly off color.  BUT, not totally out of play.  There have been some big declines in the upper river, 40% lower than peak last Thursday.  If you stay above the confluence with Lake Creek, where Twin Lakes dumps in, you can find some water to fish.  Just this week we had some success on a couple of guide trips in the Hayden Meadows stretch.  It is still very high for that area but, there are enough braids and bends and soft spots to hook a few fish.  You’ll have to cover some ground to move from soft water spot to soft water spot.  That will be as big of a factor to your success as what you throw for flies.  The sheltering water that is out there right now are generally small spots, that might only hold a couple of fish and then you will have to move to another spot to find the next couple of fish.  Larger beaded searching nymphs, mid-sized Stones and Caddis imitations along with San Juan Worms have been productive. It looks like peak should happen in the next few days, then hopefully a steady drop to summer flows.Flies: Two bit Hooker, Beaded Hares Ear, Hot Wire Prince, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Copper John, CDC Hares Ear, Twenty Incher, Mr Peacock, RS-2, Flossy Worm, Stimulator, Hippie Stomper, Parachute Adams, Parachute Extended Body BWO, Sprout Baetis, Mole Fly, Sparkle Baetis, No Hackle Baetis, Winger Parachute


Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 4000 cfs. @ Salida
Conditions:  Big and Dirty, but flows have leveled off.  Still our of commission for the time being.  Run-off is in full swing and has come with a vengeance.  However, indicators on the tributary streams in the upper valley offer hope that we could see some limited access in the next week or so.  Still just a little too dirty to hit any of the limited soft water out there.  As it comes down we’ll let you know when that will be worth a look.

Flies: Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Prince, Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Red or Chartreuse Copper John, Hot Wire Prince, Tungteaser, Tungstone, Biot Epoxyback Stone, Iron Sally, Psycho Prince, Barr’s Emerger BWO, Juju Baetis, Loop Wing Emerger, Split Case BWO, Tungsten Psycho BWO, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, Foam Caddis, Spotlight Caddis, Hippie Stomper, Parachute Mayfly imitations, Chubby Chernobyl, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Foamulator


Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow:  5000 cfs.
Conditions:  Big and Dirty!  However, already dropping steadily from peak flow at 8,000 just last Thursday.  This one can drop fast and before you know it things will be in full swing.  There should be some limited soft water and enough clarity as it drops into the 4,000 cfs range.  Once it hits 3,000 float fishing will take off.  Just in time for those fantastic summer hatches of PMDs, Green Drakes, Yellow Sallies, Caddis and Golden Stones.  We’re starting to lose sleep in anticipation of all those bugs.Flies: Twenty Incher, Tungteaser, Stubby stones, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Standard Pheasant Tail, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungstone, Copper Johns, Hares Ear, Mr. Peacock, CDC Prince, Split Case BWO, Barr’s BWO Emerger, RS 2, Tungsten Psycho May, Hot Wire Prince, Two Bit Hooker, Juju Baetis, Biot Midge, Zebra Midge, Black Beauty and a variety of Eggs.


South Platte River, Middle Fork

Flow: 450 +/- cfs.
Conditions:  Big and rolling.  Off color.  But, on the mend from it’s peak just 8 days ago, which is a positive development.  The current decline is a little flatter than other rivers but, as this gets into the 250-200 cfs range, it should improve dramatically.  For now, run-off is peaking in South Park and conditions are sub-prime to say the least.  Not totally out of the question for finding a fish BUT, a very low percentage opportunity.  The river will be out of it’s banks in many places, making it difficult to locate the true bank.  As with all high water situations target the available soft water.  Tomahawk State Wildlife Area will have a good amount of that type of water in some of the big bends that produce a back eddy.  Nymph rigs and streamers may be the higher percentage approach but, high water also washes terrestrials into the river and can produce some limited dry fly fishing.  Our advice would be to fish your way upstream with bugs, then when you turn around to head back to the car cover that same water with that streamer set-up.

Flies: Chartreuse Copper John, Rainbow Warrior, Egg Patterns, Hot Wire Prince, Beaded Flash Prince, Tungteaser, Tung Psycho May, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Rainbow Warrior, Autumn Splendor, Slumpbuster, Sparkle Bugger, Silver Bullet


South Platte, Dream Stream

Flow:  937cfs.
Conditions:  Very large but, very clean, and a slight improvement from peak flows last Friday of 980 cfs.  This will be a slower, steady decline compared to other rivers in the state.  Along with the run-off increases, Denver Water needs to drain Antero Reservoir upstream, which will impact flows here for some time.  At these high flows it is a South Platte experience so far from the norm that everybody should at least go check it out.  Sure it’s not ideal conditions, but there are fish to be had and enough soft water edges to find them on.  Sight fishing will be less than ideal in most places, which may limit your productivity as this place is best fished when you are targeting fish that you can see.  However, where you can’t spot em, concentrate on those soft water edges with a mix of nymphs including Caddis Larva, PMDs, Scuds and San Juan Worms.  Step up your tippet from the typical minute diameters required here to at least 4x and bump up the weight as well.  The most overlooked adjustment to be made will be the amount of weight added to the line.  This is often the single largest determination between success and the skunk.  Don’t be shy with your split shot.  This is where sight nymphing can really help illustrate how much weight it takes to get your flies down to holding/feeding fish.  Keep an eye on the target fish as your rig drifts into his feeding lane and see how the fish reacts.  Often times no reaction can mean the fish didn’t even see the fly.  Whereas even a refusal to your offering at least meant the fish has seen it and just didn’t like it for one reason or another.Flies: Loop Wing Emerger, Pure Midge Larva Black or Pale Olive, Black, Red, Chartreuse Copper John, Juju Baetis, Buckskin, Caddis Larva, Hunchback Scud, 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


Williams Fork River Below Dam

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Flow: 730 cfs.
Conditions:  After jumping up to a peak flow of 850 for the past week, a modest drop over the past few days.  We do expect this to continue as inflows into the reservoir are dropping quickly.   This is a very high flow, that is possible for experienced anglers on this small tail-water but, it is a technical proposition that may intimidate some.  As with all above average flow situations, adjust your strategy as much as you adjust your set-up.  First, with regards to your set-up, increase both your tippet size and the amount of weight added to your line.  Look for those sheltered lies and quiet water along the edges to find fish holding out of the heavier current that might still be a shock to them after the prolonged low winter flows.  A wide range of patterns should work for the time being as the large flows will carry more food, as well.  San Juan Worm, small Stonefly nymphs, Caddis and Mayfly imitations should all produce some action.  As the flow drops, look for fish to move into a wider range of water types and be widely distributed throughout the river.  This is still a much better option in this valley than just below its confluence with the Colorado River.  With that popular piece of water currently out of it’s banks in spots, a lot of the usual angler pressure that will frequent it at this time of year will now move up onto the Willie’s. So, be prepared to find above average traffic at times.

Flies: Poxy Biot Nymph, Buckskin, Flossy Worm, Little Brown Bug, Two Bit Hooker, Flash Back Pheasant Tail, Split Case BWO, 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


Antero Reservoir

Conditions: Closed for Remodeling


Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conditions: Open for the season and results have been solid. Action has been reported on a wide range of nymphs including insect and spawn patterns.

Flies: Jumbo Juju, Yankee Buzzer, Skinny Nelson, Chartreuse Copper John, Hare’s Ear, Egg Patterns


Delaney Buttes Lakes

Conditions: North has slowed but, East and South continue to produce decent results on Chironomid and Calibaetis patterns.

Flies: Jumbo Juju, Rojo Grande, Yankee Buzzer, Tak’s Chironomid, Poxy Back Calibaetis, Hares Ear, Chartreuse Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince.


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