Colorado Fishing Report

May 29th, 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: May 29, 2015


Salmonflies continue to emerge from the Colorado River from Gore Canyon downstream past State Bridge.  Results have been hit or miss depending on timing and location but, there are fish eating both nymphs and dries if you are persistent and not afraid to find the right spots.  Check out today’s Salmonfly update on the blog here.

Elsewhere, flows continue to rise in some spots, creating logistical issues with clarity more than anything.  Even though many spots are up, most of them are not too high to fish, just a little off color as the added water is picking some additional debris.  If any of these spots sees water flows level off, they could clear slightly and offer some limited access again.

The upper Arkansas, Middle and South Forks of the Platte and even the upper Colorado – which should see it’s own Salmonfly hatch in the coming days –  are all viable spots for the moment.

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: 1490 cfs
Conditions:  Flows are up again this week and are currently running at a very sporty level.  While this will intimidate most anglers, there are still a few good holding lies to fish and feeding trout to hook into.  We say hook, versus catch because, at this level once that hooked fish hits the main current there may be no turning it back into the quieter water along the banks.  The entirety of this release is bottom feeding so, clarity in town is very good — more importantly, this is a very Mysis positive situation.  With flows this high, there should be a very steady stream of shrimp flowing through the dam into the Blue.  As well, those shrimp should drift further down through town, providing additional action farther from the dam than normal.  At this rate, make sure to bump up your weight substantially.  We would start with at least 2 to 3 AAA and add from there as needed.  Make sure to increase your tippet size, as well.  The minimum we would recommend at this time is 3X but, 2X may be needed in many spots.  Look for the quiet water along seams and edges to be collecting fish that are looking for a break from the heavier flows in the main channel.  Angler traffic can vary from day-to-day, and there have been some crowds, but with the county now in “Mud Season” many locals have headed out of town and some days are relatively quiet, at least for the Blue.  However, another consequence of these flows are fewer of those “soft spots” so, even with less traffic it will still seem busy as there will be a competition for available water.  As conditions elsewhere turn off color, we will expect an increase in traffic on this and other tailwaters.  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 just one or two good holes on the Blue.  Who knows you may just find a better spot than your usual one with the different water levels.  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 14-16, 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, Frenchie, 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: 1510.
Conditions:  A big jump in flows over the past week.  With Dillon increasing releases again this week, it looks like Green Mtn will pass through a certain amount of added water.  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.  Obviously there will be plenty of water for boaters but, we’re not sure if this is too much water to allow for clearance underneath downstream bridges.  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.

Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)

Flow: 1900 cfs. @ Parshall
Conditions:  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.  At this rate it may be best for most to look elsewhere for their Spring fishing. (Say just upstream from the Breeze unit to the Williams Fork tailwater.)  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 (and the Williams Fork) still has a very localized Salmonfly hatch.  This generally starts about 5-7 days after the hatch below Gore Canyon.  Yes, the flows there are big at the moment 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 until the hatch starts.  After that switch up to dry-dropper set-ups with a large adult Salmonfly on top trailing a nymph of the same.


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, Tung Split Case BWO, BLM, 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: 4,250 cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions:  Flows have steadily climbed over the past week and are now officially robust.  However, clarity is not totally lost, with visibility ranging from 12-20 inches most days.  More than enough for fish to find your flies.  The first big push of adult Salmonflies hatched overnight Monday the 25th, with good numbers of them in the bushes Tuesday morning.  As noted on the top of this report, this will not necessarily make the fishing a gimme.  There is a TON of natural food in the river at the moment.  There will be days that are very good and some that will be head-scratchers.  Be prepared to fish nymphs and dries.  Generally speaking the mornings do not see much in the way of dry fly action.  As the day goes on and the bugs start to fly and become more prone to crash onto the water, or lay eggs, this will make the trout more aware of them and maybe fuel some surface feeding.  We recommend a dry-dropper set up to start, using the response to that to gauge when you may want to switch over to full dry fly rigs.  Fish the edges and seems where fish will be hanging out feeding on migrating nymphs and unfortunate adults that blow out of the willows.  Be patient, thorough and not afraid to move for new holding water.  It’s also not a bad idea to throw some traditionally strong non-Salmonfly patterns, as well.  Beaded searching patterns, San Juan Worms and Caddis patterns can all work well during this hatch when the fish seem to not be focused on the Stones.  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.  For general tips on the Salmonfly hatch check out that post on the blog here.

Flies: Half-Cocked Salmonfly, Designated Hitter, Fuzzy Wuzzy Orange, Giant Rubber Leg Stimmy, Cousin It, Chubby Chernobyl, Foamulator Orange or Black, Kaufman Stonefly Nymph, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Beaded Pheasant Tails, Beaded Hares Ears, Hot Wire Prince, Ice Prince Blue, 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: 8,680 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 late June to 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: 696 cfs. @ Granite. 1110 @ Nathrop
Conditions:  We are finally starting to see some more consistent action along the entire upper river.  With a gradual warming to water temperatures in the upper valley, action through the popular Hayden Meadows stretch has improved to go along with the access points further down river towards Granite and Buena Vista, which have been productive for last few weeks now.  Although, the past few days have seen an increase in flows which will shift trout lies around a little and may require some adjusting your areas of focus.  Baetis will constitute the most widely distributed insect activity at the moment, and imitations for all phases of the life cycle have been working.  Early in the day nymph patterns are working well as part of a nymph or dry-dropper set up.  Fish those Baetis imitations in tandem with a mix of beaded searching nymphs, Caddis or small Stonefly patterns.  Look for the emergence to happen early to mid afternoon, but there will be days with cooler temperatures and dark skies that might take a little longer for water temps to rise enough to ignite the hatch.  Those clouds will provide ideal conditions for rising fish to emerge with adult Baetis imitations. 

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, 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: 1110 cfs. @ Salida
Conditions:  Starting to see a lot of inconsistency in the conditions from Salida down.  As flows have ramped up and rain/snow melt have added to the mix, there have been some very dirty water at times.  Won’t be long before this is totally done but, there may be another day or two before that happens.  In the meantime, we have found that Baetis activity to still be widespread from Brown’s down into Big Horn Sheep Canyon. The early part of the day is ideal for a dry-dropper rig using a mid sized to larger attractor dry followed up with a mix of Caddis, Baetis, small Stonefly and beaded searching nymphs.  Then look to switch over to dries in mid-afternoon as an emergence should get fish looking to the surface.  A double dry set-up has been very productive with a Caddis or attractor like a Stimulator followed up with a smaller parachute Baetis imitation.  Be patient for this surface activity to happen, some days it may be 3 or 4 pm before it materializes.  On the sunny days we have been finding good action upstream from Salida into Brown’s Canyon.  Again, dry-dropper rigs are a great way to judge the focus of trout feeding here by offering options from different phases of the life cycle.  Generally we find the interest in the nymph to stay steady all day, with some increased reaction to the dry building from mid-to-late afternoon.  If that interest becomes steady, then make the switch over to a double dry rig. Caddis, Baetis, attractors and terrestrials have all produced some success in the past couple of weeks.  The streamer fishing has also been fairly decent and is often over looked at this time of year, as most anglers that venture down this way are looking for dry fly action.  The key right now will be flexibility. Don’t set your plans on only fishing one particular stretch of the river.  If you get to Wellsville and the water is dirty, head upstream until you find better conditions.  Then also be prepared to potentially fish a different insect species, as well.


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: 1880 cfs.
Conditions:  Flows are starting to rise again and clarity drop as that happens, particularly below Carbondale.  Visibility will be improved above Carbondale and offer some moments of decent fishing. We would check out the public water in and near Basalt.  More important is the stabilizing of the water temperatures back in the range that produces Caddis hatches.  Prior to last weekend’s blow out, the Caddis emergence was thick and fish were on the feed bag.  This should offer a short window of opportunity for a return to that action.  It may not last for long, if you are going to try to hit it, go soon.  Once the warmer temps and/or moisture return, it will be slimmer pickings.  When that does happen, check out some of the public water between Carbondale and Aspen, where Caddis nymphs, searching patterns, and mid sized stones have been productive.  The conditions up higher may also be unstable, with good days followed by dirty water from run-off and rain.  However, those days that allow have been producing some decent action. 

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: 90 +/- cfs.
Conditions:  A drop in flows once again from last weeks big melt of the most recent snow storm in the valley.  With that water temps should start to climb back up again, providing for some increased insect activity.  Primarily Baetis but, there will be some potential for early Caddis before the spring run-off ramps up.  Dry-dropper rigs should once again offer enough coverage to fish most spots but, in those deeper bends and currents you may want to go with a full on nymph rig, using a mix of beaded searching patterns, Stonefly, Caddis and San Juan Worm imitations.  Early in the day focus on the deeper pools in the bends of the river where fish will hold to conserve energy and shelter.  However, streamers might be worth a shot later in the day, as you might find a hungry Brown looking to pick up a larger Spring meal.  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: 400 cfs.
Conditions:  Finally, a jump in the release from the dam.  Initially this will add some color and suspended particulate, but that will subside as flows level off. We are not exactly sure at what level that will be, so keep an eye on it, and we’ll let you know how it’s running.  For those anglers that are only familiar with fishing this at low flows in the off season, don’t fret.  This can be a fantastic level to fish.  Once clarity improves the sight fishing will still be productive, as well there are those few spots that offer reasonable chances to blind cast a run too.  Nymph rigs will provide the most consistent approach, with a mix of Caddis larva, small Mayfly imitations, San Juan Worm and Egg patterns.  This water level will allow for a bump up in tippet size, at least 5X should be stealthy enough, with 4X possible for many.  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 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

Flow: 268 cfs.
Conditions:  Flows are holding steady this week, as releases from the dam are making room for snow melt in the upper basin.  This is a good flow 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 stabilizes, 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: The lake is open and normal bag limits have been lifted. The last we heard park managers were asking for 8 fish bag limit. The plan is to drain this lake for repairs to the dam this season and anglers are urged to harvest what fish they do catch.

Flies: Chironomid imitations, Calibaetis nymphs, Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Leeches

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: Ice is out, reports are that all three are open. Current info should be in after this weekend.

Flies: Jigs in White, Pink and Red

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