Colorado Fishing Report

July 16th, 2014

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 8 am – 6 pm, Sunday 8 am – 5 pm



Recent Update: July 11, 2014

Peak Summer fishing is here. Heavy spring flows are down to great levels just about everywhere now, and the few that are still on the high side, are fishing well anyway. Strong and diverse hatches of bugs are emerging from every river in the state, making it hard to choose a destination. Although, you really can’t make a wrong choice in river right now.

Pale Morning Duns, Caddis, Yellow Sallies are wide spread with good showings of Green Drakes and Red Quills on select rivers.

Wade fishing on the upper Colorado has been productive, particularly on the upper stretches from the Parshal area through Gore Canyon on down to State Bridge. Floating this section has also been quite productive with great action on nymphs as well as drys into the evening. You will see Caddis, PMDs, Golden stones and a few Yellow Sallies throughout the day, while the dry fly action has been much more productive during the last few hours of daylight.

Drakes, PMDs and even a few Red Quills have been spotted on the upper Arkansas river between Balltown and Crystal Lake, with an abundance showing up when the clouds roll in. The evening rise has consisted of mostly Caddis with scattered Drakes and PMDs.

While out west the Roaring Fork is teeming with activity. Drakes, Sallies, PMDs, Caddis even Baetis are all happening somewhere on that river.

Detailed reports on the right side of this page 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: 637 cfs.
Conditions:  After a second jump in flows the past 2 weeks, a steady downward trend this week has flows coming into a real nice level.  This remains a Tailwater release so, flows are cold in town and still heavy on the Mysis.  However, there are plenty of patterns working well, from San Juan Worms to Mayfly and Midge imitations, even dead drifted streamers at times.  This is still a good amount of water for town so, high water adjustments need to be made.  Mostly in the form of additional weight and a little larger tippet size.  You want it to get down quick in those quiet water lies where the fish are concentrated.  Wading at this level will still be a bit sporty and too high to cross.  Make responsible decisions when stepping into the river, at 38 degrees it will be a cold swim.Town Flies:  Candy Cane, Stalcup’s Mysis, Kingery’s Mysis, BTS Mysis, Flossy Worm, San Juan Worm, San Juan Flash Worm, Split Case PMD, Split Case Green Drake, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Kingery’s Cap’n Hook, Pure Midge Larva, Tube Midge Black or Red, Winter Baetis, Two Bit Hooker, Rainbow Warrior, Wooly Bugger Black or Olive

Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 1250 cfs.
Conditions:  It’s up, it’s down, it’s unstable.  Still a higher flow for wade fishing the Canyon.  But, the trend is downward, we think, and bugs should start popping soon.  Look for Caddis to be a large percentage of the emergence, with PMDs and Drakes to follow shortly thereafter.  Once flows drop under 1000 or so, things should start to improve, with prime being anything under 850.  Best bet will still be fishing deep nymph rigs with a good amount of weight, under and indicator.  Start with a larger imitation for a Stonefly, big Mayfly or beaded searching pattern followed up with a San Juan Worm or Egg Pattern.  And streamer patterns are always in vogue through the canyon.  With the flow still on the high side, it may be worth using a sink tip line to help get those down and keep ‘em in the strike zone longer.  Evenings may start to offer some dry action with Caddis patterns as well.  Please be respectful of private property along the way.Flies: Big bead heads: Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser, Pheasant Tail, Stubby Stone, Twenty Incher, Rubberlegs, Psycho Prince, Mr Peacock Ice, Flossy Worm, Split Case BWO, Barr’s BWO, Juju Baetis, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Winter Baetis, Black Beauty, Rojo Midge, Otter Egg, and Morrish’s iron sally.

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.

Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)

Flow: 736 cfs. @ Parshall
Conditions:  Stream flows continue their decline and conditions are now prime for wade anglers to take advantage of a broad range of summer hatches.  Look for Caddis, PMDs, Yellow Sallies to be wide spread, with smaller localized emergences of Red Quills and Golden Stones.  Wading at this flow is very manageable but, will still offer some restrictions for crossing the river in certain places. (particularly below Parshal where the Williams Fork increases volume.)  Mid to late morning has been about the time for surface activity to start and that can run into early afternoon on the sunny days or late in the afternoon on cloudy days.  On those days when the sun shuts down the rise mid-day, we have been seeing a second round of surface activity in the evening lasting until dark.  Before and after the hatches, there has been good action on a mix of nymph and emerger patterns for the prevalent hatches.  As the sun gets higher in the morning and the bugs start to drift, make sure to run some drifts through the riffles and into the heads of pools and flats where trout will often congregate to feed on those drifting nymphs before they break the surface.  What ever you do, do not forget to bring your bug spray.  Particularly if you are going to stick around into the evening for some late dry fly action.  With this years high water spring and flooding, there is no shortage of Mosquitoes.

Flies:   Mercer’s Poxyback PMD – Standard and Beaded, Barr’s PMD Emerger, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Two Bit Hooker Red, Buckskin Caddis, Graphic Caddis, Little Brown Bug, Iron Sally, Tungstone, San Juan Worm Patterns, Hot Wire Caddis, Juju Baetis Red, Parchute Extended Body PMD, Burk’s Silhouette Dun Sulphur, No Hackle PMD, Melon Quill, Stimulator, Pearl and Elk Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis Olive and Yellow, Garcia’s Mini Hot

Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 2400 cfs.
Conditions:   Stream flows below the Blue confluence into Gore Canyon and below continue to run more than double their historic levels for this time of year.  And that has been awesome.  Great action up and down the river on all methods of flies; nymphs, dries and streamers.  The higher flows have trout well dispersed and well fed, as summer hatches are in full swing.  There are Caddis, PMDs, Yellow Sallies and even a few Golden Stones scattered around.  Dry dropper or nymph rigs have been most consistent under sunny conditions.  However, if afternoon clouds roll in the dry fly fishing has been off the charts.  If it doesn’t cloud up in the afternoon, stick around until the evening when the last 2 hours of daylight can be non-stop on dries.  Even with the high water clarity is in great shape, with more than 3 feet in the upper stretches.  In fact that greater volume helps to dilute most run-off from any rain storms that blow through with the recent Monsoon kicking in.  Wading may still be a bit limited in some places but, the river for the most part is back within it’s banks allowing for good foot access.  Floating has been very productive, albeit a little busy with rafters and kayakers at times.  If you are going to float you need to keep in mind that this is a much higher than average amount of water and with that comes the need to be attentive to hazards that may exist.  A number of boats have been flipped or sunk, mostly by people unfamiliar with the river at these levels, and most of that could have been avoided with a little attention.Flies:   Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis, Hippie Stomper, Parachute Silhouette Sulphur, Para Wulff, Chubby Chernobyl various colors, Fuzzy Wuzzy, Rusty Spinner, Parachute Adams,  Tungteaser, Rubberlegs, Beaded Pheasant Tails, Beaded Hares Ears, Tungsten Prince, Rubber Leg Mr Peacock, Miscellaneous Streamers: Sculpzilla, Silver Bullet, Space Invader, Beldar, Bead Head Buggers in Black or White

Colorado Below Glenwood Springs

Flow: 11,100 cfs.
Conditions:  Once again a decent option, even though it may seem a little off color.  Generally speaking a good rule of thumb is: green is good brown is down.  Even if it is only a foot or so of visibility, if there is an overall greenish hue to the river it should be good to go.  But, when that color shifts to brown it tends to turn off.  Good evening Caddis action still happening on the surface with solid nymphing through the day.  With the flows still being fairly high a double nymph rig would be the most productive way to go during the day but, carry a dry fly rod with you in case you happen upon that pod of risers.

Flies:  Mr Peacock Ice, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Tungstone, Iron Sally, Bead Prince, Twenty Incher, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince, Bead Hares Ear, Tungstone, Barr’s Emerger PMD, brightly colored San Juan worm, Sculpzilla, Space Invader, Silver Bullet

Arkansas River Above Buena Vista

Flow: 980 cfs. @ Granite 275 @ Hayden
Conditions:  Some very good action on the upper most part of the river right now.  Particularly the area from Balltown up (Balltown is where the intersection of HWY 82, the road to Independence Pass, hits HWY 24.) This is where the discharge from Twin Lakes via Lake Creek hits the river.  Fishing below there is still good but, it is over 3 times the volume, making wading a little more limited.  Fishing through the Reddy Lease, Hayden Meadows and Kobe access is very good right now.  Strong hatches of Caddis, PMDs, Yellow Sallies are mixed in with localized hatches of Red Quills, Green Drakes and a few Golden Stones.  Dry fly fishing is water levels are starting to drop to a point where fishing has once again become an option, albeit a relatively high water option but, an option none the less. Clarity is good with over 2 to 3 feet in most places. At these levels wading will still be tough and you will want to use caution, watch for drops and swift currents. Big dry dropper rigs are a good way to cover water at the moment using a larger foam dry that will hold up at least one, or preferably two nymphs. In spots there may be some Baetis or Caddis around as well. In the higher part of the valley such as Hayden Meadows focus on any break of the current you can find. The soft water inside of bends in the river as well as below islands can produce some good results. There is still a good amount of water right now and you may have to cover some ground to find those quiet spots. Streamers can be a good way to do that and have been productive the past few days now as the flow has come down.

Flies: Chubby Chernobyls, Foamulator, Beaded Hares Ear, Hot Wire Prince, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Hot Wire Caddis, Tung Z Wing Caddis, Tungteaser, CDC Hares Ear, Twenty Incher, Mr Peacock, RS-2, Zebra Midge, White Streamers

Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 1860 cfs. @ Salida
Conditions: Big but clear. Things are just getting into the range we like to see. This river, like many around, fishes great on the drop. As high spring flows start to recede and clear all of the fish are jammed on the banks and looking to refuel after weeks of limited forage and expending energy. This is one if the best times to fish it. Hit the banks with Stimmies and foam attractor dries dropping your beaded searching nymph of choice. Wading will be a little less comfortable than ideal for a while yet but, find the quiet water along the banks and you will find the fish. You don’t have to wade very much at all, keep it tight to the bank and watch your footing. Floating will definitely be the best approach right now and action will be very good on all three styles: Dries, Nymphs and Streamers. It’s all about the banks right now. Summer hatches of Yellow Sallies and PMDs won’t be far behind.

Worth Noting: This is now the third year of a program to re-establish Pteronarcys Californica to the Arkansas. Over the past 3 years CPW has transplanted about 90 thousand Salmonfly nymphs from the Colorado River to the Arkansas and distributed them just above and below Salida. We are keeping an optimistic eye on the river here to see if this insect will take hold and produce a revived population.

Flies: Chubby Chernobyl, Madam X, Foamulator, Stimulator, Bead Head Pheasant Tail # 14-16, Tungstone Golden #12-16, Tungsten Yellow Sally, Iron Sally, Chartreuse Copper John #12-16, Chartreuse Hot Wire Caddis, Hot Wire Prince, Pat’s Rubber Legs #8, Slumpbuster, Silver Bullet, Autumn Splendor, Sparkle Minnow.

Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow: 3,500+/- cfs.
Conditions: Very close to going off. Yes, there have been some days with enough clarity, combined with enough of a drop in flows to have some good action. Just when it looks like it’s going to fall into the groove, another heat wave moves in and flows climb back up to 4,000+. However, the consistency is just about to hit. We really like the river to fall to 3,000 at Glenwood to start to become manageable. That will still be on the high side but, there is enough break in the current for anglers to find some very willing fish. Water temps are hitting 54, which is starting the early summer Caddis hatch and it won’t be long before the rest of the hatches fall into places. Drakes, PMDs Sallies, oh my. If you find a day when things are off color or spiking from heat, take the turn up the Frying Pan and fish some clean water. Just be prepared for the crowds, as this is about the only game in town with regards to moving water clear enough to fish in the Glenwood to Aspen area. There has been some decent action to Blue Winged Olive adults at times, as well as Caddis.

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, STD Baetis and a variety of Eggs.

South Platte River, Middle Fork

Flow: 220 +/- cfs.
Conditions: Starting to get to a manageable level for wade access. For the most part the river is back within it’s banks and there is enough quiet water to find some good trout lies. Just about any technique can do the trick right now. There is still enough water that full on nymph rigs will be the way to fish the deeper bends and pools but, for those of you that would rather not look at an indicator, there should be enough cut banks and inside corners to fish a dry dropper set up. And streamers are always a good option with the brown trout population on the Platte. We are still looking for it to get just under the 200 cfs level for it to really take off but, there is definitely enough approachable water to make it worth the trip. For the nymphs try a larger beaded searching pattern or Stonefly imitation followed up with a variety of other staples for this fertile river. Caddis, Baetis, Green Drake and San Juan Worm patterns can all work well throughout the year. Our approach would be to fish our way upstream with that 2 fly nymph set-up and then switch over to streamers for the walk back down and cover some of the same water again. It shouldn’t be long before things fall into place on this great fishery.

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

South Platte, Dream Stream

Flow: 308 cfs.
Conditions: Flows have leveled off and are holding steady. The river may be a little higher than many are familiar with, but fishing can still be very good at this level and will have a tendency to clear out some of the traffic. 5x tippet may still be necessary in the upper reaches but, as you move down 4x should do the trick. The good news is that the river at these levels not only carry a little more food from the dam, there is also a little more cover to the angler, so less spooky fish. Tandem nymph rigs will still be the best method for the time being but, once the lake fills and starts to spill over we expect the Caddis to start to hatch. A mix of Caddis larva, Baetis and PMD nymphs as well as some well drifted San Juan Worms, Leeches and Scud patterns with the higher flows will be a good start. Traffic has been very stout with the high water the past couple of weeks. That should start to drop off here in the next week or two as more fishing options come on line with run-off abating. Another option in the area is to head further downstream below 11 Mile Reservoir into 11 Mile Canyon. Again this is a tailwater and will be busy during run-off but, there are not as many guide services permitted to fish that stretch and traffic may be slightly more manageable.

Flies: Black Copper John #22, Juju Baetis, Buckskin, Desert Storm Chartreuse, Tube Midge, Midge Biot, UV Emerger, Poison Tung, Zebra Midge Black/Silver, Barr’s Emerger BWO, RS2, Poxybiot Nymph, Egg Patterns, Pure Midge Larva, Cap’n Hook

Williams Fork River Below Dam

Flow: 716 cfs.
Conditions: A noticeable drop in flows from the dam but still pretty high for the size of this river. This will pretty much shut the river down to all but the hardiest of waders and most advanced anglers. Even those skills will leave you out matched. There may be a spot or two that you can pull a fish from but, it will be limited. Your best bet may be to give it a rest for this tailwater for the time being. Just above and below the confluence with the Colorado River will find the Salmonflies in full effect. That may be where the action is best. Or take a break from the trout and head up to the reservoir and try your hand at some Pike fishing, which is starting to ramp up and can offer a fun distraction through run-off.

Flies: Caddis Larva, Buckskin, Heavy Metal Worm, Flossy Worm, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Little Brown Bug, Two Bit Hooker, Flash Back Pheasant Tail, Split Case BWO, 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: Starting to see some good signs of Spring on the lake. The Chironomid hatch has begun, look for them to emerge later in the morning. Action has been moderate for this popular still water destination, with a variety of nymphs and streamer patterns working throughout the day. Fishing may be slow to start some days so you may want to stick around to at least early afternoon, as it seem like some days it takes that long to get going. For nymph rigs, use a mix of Chironomid, Calibaetis and smaller Midge nymph imitations in a static indicator rig. Vary your depth initially with a two fly rig to see if there is any particular level where trout are feeding. Also worth trying would be slow retrieving streamers that imitate Damsels, Leeches or Crayfish. If the wind picks up later in the day, try suspending any of those streamers under an indicator and let the waves jig them up and down. That is unless the wind really kicks up, then get off the lake and fish another day. Daily access is at the South Ramp, with the North ramp only being open Friday – Sunday.

Flies: Yankee Buzzer, Jumbo Juju, Tak’s Chironomid, Garcia’s Rojo Grande Midge, Rapunzel Damsel, Gaviglio’s Calibaetis Nymph, Poxyback Calibaetis Nymph, Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Diamond Lake Special, Wooly Bugger – Black, Olive or Brown, Hale Bopp Leech

Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conditions: Hearing slightly more consistent reports from here than up the road at Antero. The Chironomid hatch has started and is producing some steady results using subsurface imitations as part of a multi-fly nymph rig. There may be the occasion for some dry fly activity for adult Chironomid patterns as well, it’s just that the wind has been so consistently present that there have not been enough days when it’s not blowing the adults off the water. At this time of year we recommend a mix of Chironomid, Calibaetis and small Midge nymph imitations fished under an indicator as a static nymph rig. Mix up the depth at various points with your flies in order to pin point any particular level the trout may favor for feeding. For those of you that can’t focus that long on an indicator, try a slow retrieve with streamer patterns that imitate Leeches, Damsel Fly nymphs or Crayfish. And this time of year always offers the chance at cruisers along the dam picking up Egg patterns.

Flies: Yankee Buzzer, Jumbo Juju, Tak’s Chironomid, Garcia’s Rojo Grande Midge, Rapunzel Damsel, Gaviglio’s Calibaetis Nymph, Poxyback Calibaetis Nymph, Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Diamond Lake Special, Wooly Bugger – Black, Olive or Brown, Hale Bopp Leech

Delaney Buttes Lakes

Conditions: All three lakes are open, with mixed results. None of them are on fire but, action has been good enough to warrant a return trip or two for Nick “The Kid”. The North lake has produced some of the nicer fish, particularly if you are not averse to fishing at night. With shore anglers doing as well, if not better than boaters. East and South have been producing slightly more action, with a smaller size on average. Streamers have been as productive as anything but, we always like to give it a try with our favorite lake nymphs under an indicator, as well. While you are up that way, don’t overlook the large impoundment just to the east, Lake John. Action over there has been slightly more consistent, with average fish running 18-20 inches.

Flies: Egg Patterns, Bead Pheasant Tail, Bead Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Jumbo Juju, Hares Ear, Zebra Midge, Tak’s Chironomid, Hale Bopp Leech, LE Leech, Wooly Bugger in Black, Olive or Brown, Sculpzilla

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