Colorado Fishing Report

February 26th, 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: February 26, 2015

 

A short break in the snow this morning as sunshine has returned for a few hours before the next system moves through later this afternoon.  The forecast for the central mountains calls for that to continue on and off through the weekend.  We couldn’t think of a more perfect situation, powder turns in the morning and tight lines in the afternoon.  Although we have seen a steady parade of weather moving through over the past week, fishing remains solid on both freestone and tailwater options, with far less traffic than on Bluebird days.  For those anglers that are willing to brave the snow as it falls, the benefit of limited pressure is reward enough.

Good fishing continues on the Blue through Silverthorne, where Denver water continues to release water in an effort to reduce inventory in preparation for the spring thaw.  Further north on the Blue, Green Mountain Canyon is a good option for serious anglers that are willing to put in a little extra effort in order to find some solitude along with a shot at a big Brown.  To the south, the Arkansas remains a viable option for both wade and float fishers, despite some early morning ice flow early in the week.  In the event you find some of that ice, by mid-day it should clear leaving you plenty of water for the afternoon.  And in the most positive development this week, we saw our first Blue Winged Olives of the year on the lower Roaring Fork.  Those won’t be a consistent hatch every day just yet but, it won’t be long before that happens.

And in other news: we would like to wish Nick “The Kid” a Happy Birthday.  Today, the 26th of February is his 21st.  Not sure what the rest of the staff is going to do now that our designated driver is of age.  Which leads us to our current job opening for shop help.  Applicants must posses a strong combination of customer service skills and local angling knowledge, lack any sense of ego, be between the ages of 18 and 20 and willing to do whatever it takes to make The Colorado Angler experience the finest it can be.  (including driving on company “field trips”)

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: 166 cfs.
Conditions:  Water levels are slowly dropping back down from their highpoint just two weeks ago but, this is still a great level for plenty of food to be coming from the Dam.  Clarity remains very good and the fish seem to have identified their holding lies.  Overall, the tactics right now are the same as they have been since the water came up.  Try to focus on the slightly quieter water that still has some current to it but, with a little break from the heavier flows of mid-channel.  Nymphing will be most productive, as there has been very little insect emergence to speak of.  Increase the amount of weight in your set-up to accommodate for the extra volume, as well you may be able to step up a size in tippet.  Although, indicators will still be favoring the neutral colored variety, yarn or bobber style.  Traffic also remains noticeably higher,with a combination of mild temperatures and great fishing that is to be expected.  With that in mind try to consider your fellow anglers out there and give a courteous amount of space if you aren’t the first one on the water.  The benefit to all this extra water is that it is moving fish into places that may not have been holding many trout previous to the spike.  Take this opportunity to maybe look at some new spots that you may not have in the past.  There isn’t only one or two good holes on the Blue, who knows you may just find a better spot than your usual one.  Action has been good not only on the Mysis patterns but, also a good mix of Midge pupa and larva in red or black, along with Egg patterns, Mayfly and searching nymphs.  On those warmer days where there is some melting snow affecting clarity, San Juan Worm patterns have been fairly productive as well.  Good luck. 

Town Flies: Stalcup’s Mysis, BTS Mysis, Charlie’s Mysis – All in size 14- 20, Kingery’s Cap’n Hook, Pure Midge Larva Red, Tube Midge – Black or Red, RS-2 – Black or Dun, WD40 – Black or Chocolate, Tidbit Midge, Winter Baetis, Black Beauty, Disco Midge, Desert Storm, Frenchie, Two Bit Hooker, Rainbow Warrior, UV Emerger – Black or Brown, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Wooly Bugger Black or Olive, Pat’s Rubber Legs


Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 350 cfs.
Conditions:  Stable flows below Green Mtn continue to be a little elusive as well, as the Bureau of Reclamation appears to be passing the extra water from Dillon through their system.  The flow has been swinging back and forth just above and below 300.  This is a great level for the fishing, the problem remains with the wading.  For most wade anglers, 300 is about the top end of what is safe for crossing over to the other side.  So as it swings up to the 350 cfs point, you may want to limit your fishing to the water you can reach from the trail side.  Keep an eye on it as it has been changing every few days.  Fishing has been a mixed bag down here, with some good very days being reported along with other days that leave you wondering if it is the same river.  Either way this is still a decent option for those wanting a lot more solitude than the crowds up river in town.  Once you get to the water that is.  As is typical of this time of year, the approach to the river from the parking area can be down right dangerous with the combination of a steep hill, snow on the ground and a near lack of direct sunlight.  Take your time on the descent, as well as the climb back out at the end of your day.  There may even be a rope tied to a tree that someone had left there to assist with the access but, we can’t confirm that it is still in place. Nymphing has been decent with a wide variety of imitations for Midges, Baetis, mid sized beaded searching patterns (such as Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser etc) as well as some continued action on egg patterns.  We also like to fish a larger bug in the set up through the Winter due to the good number of robust insects in this stretch of river like Drakes and Stones.  Sometimes that larger offering presents a opportunity for a bigger meal that a fish just can’t pass up.  Tandem rigs have been solid leading with either one of those beaded searching nymphs or an egg and following that up with your favorite Baetis or Midge pattern.  If you find that all of your action is coming on the small, trailing fly, then switch up your lead fly to a Baetis imitation with a Midge behind.  Water clarity and volume allow for 5x mono to be sufficient but, there are a lot of anglers that will drop to 6x for added stealth, as well, fluorocarbon always enables a jump up for strength.  If you aren’t familiar with this spot, or if you haven’t fished it in the Winter, be prepared for the cold.  Not only is there a near lack of direct sunlight but, the canyon lies on the edge of the Middle Park inversion where temperatures in Winter can average 10 colder than upriver in Silverthorne. 

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

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: 200+/- cfs. @ Parshall
Conditions:  The reports are starting to improve along the stretch through the Breeze unit near Parshal.  Not only has the weather improved slightly as we turn the corner on winter but, the fish have been more active too.  Tandem nymph rigs focused on Midges and Baetis along with a the odd egg and San Juan Worm imitation have been most productive.  We also like to lead with something a little larger like a mid-sized searching nymph or a larger stone imitation, followed with your choice of the Baetis/Midge imitations.  There has been a good to decent amount of surface activity the past week or two now.  Most days that seem to be right around noon, with a little variance before or after that depending on temperatures.  Midge patterns in #20,22 in shades of Gray, Cream and Olive have been fairly consistent.  Look for fish to be holding in the tail-outs of pools and runs early in the day and then moving up towards the middle part to the head of those runs mid-day in order to feed on drifting nymphs or rise to those emerging Midges.  5 or 6x mono should do the trick and strikes have been subtle, we prefer to use yarn for an indicator under these conditions, as it tends to be more sensitive to these lighter strikes than the “bobber” style.  Crowds have been very light the past few weeks and this may be a good alternative to the traffic jam on the Blue.

 

Flies: Winter Baetis, RS-2, WD-40, Big Bear Baetis, Biot Midge, Pure Midge Larva, Tube Midge, Miracle Nymph, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Two Bit Hooker Red or Olive, Buckskin Caddis, San Juan Worm Patterns, Juju Baetis Red or Purple, Zebra Midge, Small Eggs, Pat’s Rubber Legs, CDC Adult Midge, Sprout Midge, CDC Hanging Midge


Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 635 cfs.
Conditions:  A little glimmer of hope here over the past couple of weeks of mild temperatures.  There have been some moments of success both for wade, as well as float anglers.  A combination of the warmer weather and the increase in flows due to Blue River releases has cleared the channel of ice from bank to bank, making access for the moment wide spread.  Action has been day-to-day, with some inconsistencies in results.  This is typical for this time of year and fishing this stretch often lags behind other rivers in the area, most years not providing steady results until early April.  That being said, don’t be surprised if you have great fishing one day and find it slow on your next.  Keep in mind that winter is not over just yet and there will be additional snow soon that can affect the action for several days.  However, we may have seen the last of the heavy ice that accumulates on the river in the dead of winter.  Work on the whitewater park is nearing completion, with the major structural improvements finished.  Expect to see additional site improvements along the bank wrapped up by the middle part of March.  The road into Pumphouse is being maintained this year due to that improvement project requiring access.  However, even with plowing this can get rather slick with a layer of snow and ice packed on, so two wheel drive vehicles – enter at your own risk.  The Trough road is maintained through the Winter, as is the county road into Radium so, check out the access along those areas, as well.  Nymph rigs with a mix of small Baetis and Midge patterns trailed behind Stonefly and Egg patterns would be a good start. Start out fishing the tail outs of runs and pools where you will generally find fish holding early.  As it warms during the day look for fish to move towards the center or head of runs to forage on drifting nymphs. 

Flies: Tungsten Split Case BWO, Tungsten Psycho BWO, Juju Baetis, Two Bit Hooker, Zebra Midge, RS-2, Rubberlegs, Beaded Pheasant Tails, Beaded Hares Ears, Hot Wire Prince, Small Copper John in Red, Green or Black, 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: 1,580 cfs.
Conditions:  Conditions below Glenwood Springs are wide open, without the slightest hint of ice to be found.  Water clarity is as good as it gets on this part of the river, with at least 4 feet, even greater at times.  Nymph fishing has been fair to good depending on the day.  The mild weather has made this an attractive destination with out the crowds of a tailwater.  A wide variety of patterns have been taking fish including smaller sized imitations for Baetis and Midges, along with some steady action on beaded searching nymphs in sizes 12-16.  And deep drifting egg patterns has been fairly consistent with those anglers that have been able to get into steady action.  With water conditions being so clear we recommend dropping down a size of tippet or two and fish with 4x and smaller.  Regardless of the action, if you have a jones to get out on the water at this time of year and don’t want to put on so many layers that you can’t move, this is the place to go.

 

Flies: Mr Peacock Ice, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Twenty Incher, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Bead Hares Ear, Barr’s Emerger BWO, Two Bit Hooker, Split case BWO, Tungsten Psycho BWO, Poison Tung, Zebra Midge, San Juan worm, Eggs


Arkansas River Above Buena Vista

Flow: 250 cfs. @ Granite
Conditions:  Typically at this time of year, the upper river is a no go. However, with a combination of some mild weather and an above average amount of water being released from Twin Lakes, which is keeping the channel clear of ice, there is actually some opportunity to fish the upper river. Although, the action may be less than consistent.  We would recommend focusing your efforts in the area from the confluence of Lake Creek, that’s in Balltown at the intersection on Highways 24 and 82, down to the town of Granite.  The river above there up into the popular Hayden Meadows area is more ice than not at the moment.  However, the release from Twin into Lake Creek will have a near tailwater effect and will provide the best chance at finding fish.  Focus your efforts on the tail-outs of pools and runs where fish will hold in the slower currents to conserve energy during the winter months.  As the day warms up look for them to move towards the middle to top of those runs to feed on drifting nymphs.  A double nymph rig focused on Baetis and Midge imitations will be a solid set-up along with smaller sized searching nymphs.  Again, this is a low percentage destination at this time of year but, if you want to give it a try there is plenty of open water.  You certainly won’t have any crowds to compete with for a while. 

Flies: Two bit Hooker, Zebra Midge Black or Purple, Poison Tung, Biot Midge, Medallion Midge, Tube Midge, Beaded Hares Ear, Hot Wire Prince, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Copper John, CDC Hares Ear, Twenty Incher, Mr Peacock, RS-2, Flossy Worm, Pure Midge Larva


Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 510 cfs. @ Salida
Conditions:  An early season water transfer is bringing flows higher than normal for this time of year, providing levels that are still a great flow for wade anglers and will allow for easier navigation for floaters.  Mild weather and decent flows continue to make this a good mid-winter option, maybe one of the best overlooked options at that.  Mid-day weather conditions have been down right comfortable for the prime time on the river.  Early in the day look for fish to be holding in the slower, deeper runs and pools towards the tail-outs and adjacent to seams.  As the day warms up, so does the possibility of food in the form of drifting nymphs.  As that happens shift your attention towards the middle of the run, on up towards the head where fish may move into feeding lanes.  Tandem nymph rigs offer the most productive approach and we like to mix it up with a variety of Beaded Stonefly and searching nymphs in the lead, followed up with either a small Baetis or Midge Larva imitation.

 

Flies: Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Prince, Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Red or Chartreuse Copper John, Hot Wire Prince, Tungteaser, Tungstone, Biot Epoxyback Stone, Zebra Midge Black or Purple, Rojo Midge, Poison Tung, Barr’s Emerger BWO, Juju Baetis, Loop Wing Emerger, Split Case BWO, Tungsten Psycho BWO,


Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow: 510 cfs.
Conditions:  Great things are starting to happen out west.  Although it is still inconsistent, we have had our first Baetis activity of the season early this week.  As a sign of that inconsistency, Monday was all midge activity while Tuesday was a good mix of Baetis and Midges.  Early mornings are still a little on the sluggish side, with the action starting somewhere around 11 am and lasting until about 3 pm, or a little later.  The key to it seems to be the sun on the water.  Fish are still holding in the deeper water, with the best action coming on nymphs deep.  However, some days there will be fish feeding on emergers just below the surface with a few taking off the surface.  Look for water temps to hit 38-40 degrees for the bite to heat up on the nymphs, and monitor the surface activity from there.  This is good winter option that doesn’t qualify as a tailwater, particularly in the lower reaches o around Glenwood but, also up through Carbondale and Basalt as well.  The upstream access have been better later in the day as water temps heat up.  Eggs and small to medium sized searching nymphs fished in tandem with Baetis and Midge imitations, along with some Caddis Larva have been productive .  Look for runs and pools where the water offers some depth and the current has a chance to slow down on provide some holding water.

 

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: ice cfs.
Conditions:  Not much of anything going on in the Middle Fork during this time of year.  Mostly ice and wind along the tribs of the Platte.  Your better bet in the valley may be the tailwater stretch below Spinney.

 

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

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Flow: 50 cfs.
Conditions:  Low and clear flow, as is the norm for the dead of Winter.  It is still a little early for the spawn to be underway but, there are reports of some larger lake fish moving up from 11 Mile already.  Sight fishing under these conditions will help bring your success rate up, along with limiting your need to be in the water.  As low as the water is now you should be able to reach most drifts without having to wade very much.  Definitely a technical time of year to fish the “Dream”, you’re going to need to bring your “A” game.  Tandem nymph rigs using 6-7x tippet with a small or no indicator is standard.  Small Midge pupa, larva and emergers along with Baetis imitations are going to be the most consistent.  Use a stealthy approach not only when walking up to the bank, but also when casting.  Move slowly along and sight your fish before casting blind and risking spooking a fish you may not have know was there. 

Flies: Loop Wing Emerger, Pure Midge Larva Black or Pale Olive, 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, Cap’n Hook, Disco Midge


Williams Fork River Below Dam

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Flow: 45 cfs.
Conditions:  Action has been relatively good for this winter tailwater.  Flows have dropped this week to what we consider to be on the low side for productivity.  This is a smaller sized river and you will find fish still feeding but, they will be getting sensitive to movement and pressure from anglers. Look for fish to be sheltering in runs and pools that offer some depth and a little less current.  Baetis and Midge imitations fished together in a tandem nymph rig are a good place to start.  There are still some fish taking the occasional egg and San Juan Worm patterns tied thin, that are being used as part of two fly set-up.  Small tippet is going to offer a better presentation at these flow, 6x in mono and 5-6x in fluoro.  As the cold weather settles back in and snow covers the trail, traffic should remain light until the latter part of February.  The mild weather earlier in the winter had made for some busier than normal winter traffic.

 

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:  Mostly ice but, not sure on the thickness/safety of it yet.  We’ll get back to you on conditions as it firms up.

Flies:


Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conditions: Ice. The Park is closed for the season.

Flies:


Delaney Buttes Lakes

Conditions:  North and East are both frozen, with half of South covered.  If you are into the hard water, this is a good place to check it out.

Flies: Jigs in White, Pink and Red


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