Colorado Fishing Report

July 26th, 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 25, 2014


A return to the Monsoon season this week has been doubly beneficial for conditions across the high country.  Not only has it kept afternoon temperatures comfortable, it has also given a boost to mid day dry fly fishing.  However, any showers that have fallen have been light enough to prevent any run off issues to your favorite streams.  This should continue on and off for the better part of the next week so, be prepared just in case a shower rolls through.  You wouldn’t want to miss out on any dry fly action for lack of a rain jacket.

Good fishing continues on just about every major river around.  Although, some hatches are waning in spots, they are moving upstream in others.  As this happens it may be necessary to chase a certain hatch up river where water temperatures are cooler and still providing ideal conditions for an emergence.  Case in point the Roaring Fork.  Where the Drakes, for the most part, have moved up above Basalt towards Aspen, as well as taken the turn up the Frying Pan where dry fly fishing is on fire at the moment.

Meanwhile some hatches are steady and offering continued action on the surface and below.  Such as the upper Arkansas, where Caddis, PMDs and Sallies continue to produce.  This time of year is also a good time to start enjoying early terrestrial action, as hoppers are getting more active and fish look for them to fill a gap in the food supply as some of those hatches slow and others have yet to start.

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: 620 cfs.
Conditions:  Tailwater releases are holding relatively steady at the moment.  There is some work being done on the Dam that will require short lived interruptions to flows and we’ll keep you posted on those.  Either way the Blue remains very good, as it has been all season.  Good amounts of Mysis Shrimp continue to drift through town providing a steady source of food.  Steady enough that we think the fish may once again be growing after just holding steady for the previous season.  Nymphing has been the most consistent method with cold, bottom-release water but, there have been some moments of rising fish taking Blue Winged Olives and this time of year it is not out of the question to force feed fish in town attractor dries, as well.  Along with those Mysis patterns, there has been good results on tailwater staples such as San Juan Worm, thread body midge and egg patterns.  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: 900 cfs.
Conditions:  Water levels are coming down and starting to get to a decent level, at least for floaters.  At this flow it is still a bit of challenge for wade fishermen but, if you can handle some tight casts and find the edge water, there is some good dry fly fishing at the moment.  Strong numbers of Caddis and Green Drakes are emerging in the Canyon stretch right now and float anglers are reporting some very good dry fly action.  It will be tough to cover very much water at this level with out a boat but, it may be worth a look.  When these summer hatches emerge in the canyon, it is a fantastic and over looked fishery that can leave you wanting more.  Most of the traffic that passes through misses it because they are in a hurry to get to the “Jurassic” water.  Let em go, and then linger in the canyon and check out the best kept secret of the Blue.   Along with Drake and Caddis dries, attractor dry flies should do very well fished as part of a double dry set up.  Tandem nymph rigs will also do well fished with a good amount of weight under an indicator.  Start out with Drake and Stonefly imitations through the canyon and as needed switch to beaded searching nymphs and San Juan Worm patterns as you float through the ranch.


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, 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: 488 cfs. @ Parshall
Conditions:  Good mid-summer stream levels for wade anglers at the moment.  Fishing has been decent overall with the best hatches being wide spread Caddis, with pockets of Golden Stones.  There is also some scattered PMD activity day-to-day but, nothing consistent.  Late morning to early afternoon will hold some possibility for surface activity depending on the daily emergence but, the strongest dry fly action seems to be later in the evening, for the last 2 hours of daylight.  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 nymphs 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: 1630 cfs.
Conditions:   Fishing on the Colorado below Kremmling remains as good as anywhere right now.  And with stream flows dropping a little bit over the past week, access for wade anglers is almost as good as for floaters.  Dry-dropper and nymph fishing are the most consistent at this point, with a slowing to some of the current hatches.  There are still decent numbers of Caddis on the river but, hatches of PMDs and Sallies have slowed and are only sporadic at best day-to-day.  The best surface activity continues to be in the evening, for the last 2 hours of daylight.  Or if you get a day with afternoon clouds, that can really turn the surface action on.  Fish are still well dispersed throughout the river, with good action in all types of water.  We have been doing well starting out with a dry dropper rig using either a large attractor or hopper pattern then hanging a couple nymphs underneath.  As the day progresses and we see either a hatch starting or an increase in interest in our dry, we’ll switch up to a double dry set up offering an attractor dry trailing a smaller pattern that represent the current emergence.   As for nymph patterns, we have been using a wide range of patterns for Stoneflies, beaded searching nymphs as well as Mayfly nymphs for PMDs and Baetis.  And if you are into the big meat, streamer fishing has been downright fantastic at times.


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: 3,840 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: 650 cfs. @ Granite 176 @ Hayden
Conditions:  Water releases out of Twin Lakes are on the decline and that is opening up additional access to wade fishermen that until now has been mostly adjacent to the bank.  Although there is still a good amount of water below Twin and Clear Creek and wading will be limited still in the numbers and narrower stretches, conditions will are now very nice in the Stone Cabin and Granite areas.  As well, all of the river above where Twin dumps in continues to offer the best wade access and action on the upper river.  Good amounts of Caddis throughout, with pockets of Golden Stones, PMDs and a few remaining Drakes continue to spur some solid dry fly fishing.  That action can start mid-to-late morning and run into early afternoon on the sunny days or late afternoon on the overcast days.  There is also another strong period of dry activity in the evening until dark.   Dry-dropper set ups are a great way to cover water before and after any surface action.  Attractor and Stonefly dries are good lead flies for that, followed up with a variety of beaded searching nymphs, Caddis Pupa and some Mayfly imitations for the PMDs and Drakes.  Once the dry action starts we like to throw a double dry rig with attractors, Caddis and those Mayfly imitations.   Streamers have also been effective for covering water and finding action where there is still a little more water below Lake Creek.

Flies: Chubby Chernobyls, Foamulator, Hippie Stomper, Stimulator, Spotlight Caddis Emerger, Peacock Caddis, Ginger Variant Caddis, Burk’s Silhouette Parachute, AK’s Melon Quill, Pink Cahill, Parachute Green Drake, Colorado Green Drake, 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, Slump Buster

Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow:  1000cfs. @ Salida
Conditions:   Ideal conditions all around if you ask us.  Flows are still a bit high for widespread wade fishing and crossing won’t be reasonable but, clear water and good insect activity has fish feeding along the banks and out into the transitional water.  PMDs are moving up river above town but, there are still some Caddis around and the attractor fishing has been great.  We like to fish a dry dropper anchored with a larger attractor pattern and hang a couple of beaded nymphs underneath.  As water temps start to rise at this time of year look for fish in the afternoon to move out into riffles and runs for greater oxygen and to feed on drifted nymph patterns.  Don’t overlook pockets and ledges where fish can hold with little effort and feed as opportunities pass by.

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: 1300 cfs.
Conditions:  Good action on the river throughout.  Although, the Green Drakes, PMDs and Stone hatches have moved up river from Carbondale and up, with the Drakes being above Basalt on both the Fork and Frying Pan.  In the upper stretch you can find good dry fly fishing for Drakes, Caddis, Sallies and PMDs from Aspen down towards Basalt.  Between Basalt and Carbondale there continues to be some remaining PMDs but, Caddis comprise the good majority of the emerging insects.  However, there is some great dry dropper action throughout the day on attractor and Golden Stonefly dries trailing a wide range of beaded nymphs for small stones, PMDs, Caddis and general searching nymphs.  The lower river below Carbondale will see some of the same rigs working but, with a good dose of Baetis nymphs in the mix as well.   With the heat at this time of year, it can be very solid to fish the last 2 hours of daylight as there can be some emerging insects in the upper river as well as returning egg layers through the middle to lower stretch.

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: 115 cfs.
Conditions:  Great levels for summer wade fishing.  Still seeing Caddis, Sallies and scattered PMDs around.  Action has been strong fishing a standard dry dropper rig with a bushy attractor or Hopper pattern, followed up with a tandem of beaded searching patterns.  For dry fly fishing try fishing a double dry set up with a mid-sized attractor or Hopper and something for the Caddis or PMD behind that.  For those looking to not have to trail a nymph, this can also be a good time of year to try smaller terrestrials like ants and beetles.  Often overlooked for the larger, sexier Grass Hopper, ants and beetles can provide a good option for instigating random rises from fish not already feeding on the surface.  Keep an eye on the southern and western skies for afternoon storms that are common at this time of year with a Monsoonal flow.

Flies:  Stimulator, Foamulator, Hippie Stomper, Small Chubby Chernobyl, Red Legged Hopper, Elk Hair Caddis, Parachute Adams, Parachute PMD, Hi-Vis Foam Beetle, Parachute Ant, 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: 173 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: 100 cfs.
Conditions:  Great summer flows that allow for widespread fish distribution.  Don’t overlook the pocket water and riffles in between the classic holes and runs.  At these flows fish will move into those broken water lies for protection from the pressure of anglers and other potential predators.  Caddis, PMDs and Red Quills can all be found and should be fished in adult and nymph phases .  Mosquitoes are definitely bad at this time of year so go prepared.

Flies:  Poxy Biot Nymph, Split Case PMD, Mercer’s Poxyback PMD, Barr’s PMD, 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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