Colorado Fishing Report

November 7th, 2016

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)

Fall Hours:

Monday – Friday 7:30 am – 6 pm

Saturday 7 am – 6 pm

Sunday 7 am – 5 pm

 

Recent Update: November 7, 2016

 

Even as the calendar moves towards the shortest days of the year, Fall continues to hang on and produce some fantastic fishing in the midst of exceptional weather.  The current pattern feels like late September rather than early November, we can’t emphasize enough your need to take advantage of this before the snow and cold settle in for Winter.  The forecast looks to be favorable for at least the next week.

Even with this unseasonable warm spell, anglers should keep in mind that it is still late Fall and a few modifications to your approach are in order.  First, the days are getting shorter leading to colder overnight lows and a slower start to the action on our freestone rivers.  Be patient early in the day and let the water temps rise enough to generate insect activity. Conversely, evenings will cool off quicker leading to less action at dusk than in Summer.  We have been experiencing our most consistent action from late morning through late afternoon, then slowing just before dusk.

As well, take current weather conditions into account when rigging for your day.  Even though it is what most consider peak “streamer season”, bright sunny days are not nearly as productive for ripping meat as those days with a little cloud cover.  It’s not that you won’t find some fish to chase your Butt Monkey under clear skies, it just might be a lot more casts in between those eats than on a cloudy day.  Under bright sun, we are seeing a little more consistent results on nymph patterns with periods of dry action when adult insects are present.  Finally, make sure to adjust your tippet size for the lower and clear flows that are typical for this time of year.  It might be time once again to make sure you have some 5x with you at all times and dare we say, a spool of 6x for certain locations.

The most significant change this week is the end of the lower Colorado water call that has been pulling from Green Mountain reservoir.  As a result, flows below Green Mountain into the Blue have been cut by more than half, once again opening up a great wade fishing option.  As well, flows on the upper Colorado through Gore Canyon have dropped under 650 cfs for the first time since the beginning of April.  Still a great level for both wade and float anglers for weeks to come.

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: 107 cfs.
Conditions: Tailwater conditions continue to be in place as the bottom release is here to stay for the remainder of the season. Look for the feeding to be mostly subsurface once again, on the typical tailwater patterns for Midges and Baetis.  As well, now that we are back to a bottom feed there will once again be Mysis entering the river from the lake.  Low and clear flows will also require a return to finer tippet and leader, at least 5x but, even better if you can throw 6x.  There may still be the opportunity to throw dries here in town, if you are committed to that sort of thing.  Your best bet for that to pay off would be either to focus on the pocket water that is in between the major runs early in the day or get out in the evening when there may be some scattered egg laying insect activity.

 

Town Flies: Flossy Worm, Red Neck Midge, Glassy Brassie, Mirage Zebra Midge, Desert Storm, Rainbow Warrior, Black Beauty, Brassie, UV Emerger, Biot Midge, Lil Spanker, Tungsten Psycho May-Black, Kingery’s Cap’n Hook, Rojo Midge, Tube Midge – Black or Red, RS-2 – Black or Dun, WD40 – Black or Chocolate, Two Bit Hooker, Zebra Midge, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Wooly Bugger Black or Olive, Pat’s Rubber Legs. And work in a streamer every once in a while, as well. Often over looked but, randomly deadly.


Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 280 +/- cfs.
Conditions:  Flows have now dropped to their Winter levels after the past couple of months Fall releases in the 700 cfs range.  This level may have a slight up and down for a few days until water managers get it leveled off where they want it to run for the next few months.  This will effectively shut down the float season for the Blue but, return the canyon to a viable wade fishing destination once again.  Crossing the river is now possible for most waders, more than doubling the amount of access downstream.  Look for nymphing to be the most consistent approach throughout the day but, cloud cover will certainly offer the chance for both dry fly and streamer fishing.  At this level there will still be a fairly diverse offering of productive water types.  While those classic runs with depth will be the center of attention, this level will still allow for some productivity out of deeper pockets, eddy lines and even riffles and edge water.  Your best shot at any hatches are going to be Baetis and Midges but, there is still good nymph action on a variety of Stonefly, Caddis and Mayfly imitations due to the diverse hatches that emerge over the season.  Try a classic tandem nymph set up, with one of those big three followed up with a smaller offering for the Baetis or Midge.  As well, being the later part of Fall, Egg patterns can be an effective choice.  Tippet sizes of 4 and 5x should be fine but, don’t rule out trying a little 6 if you find fish refusing your offering.  Water temperatures are going to be fairly steady with this being a tailwater so, the shorter days and colder temps in the morning and evening are going to be more of an inconvenience to anglers rather than fish.

 

Flies: Big bead heads: Deep Dish Green Drake, Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser, Pheasant Tail, Stubby Stone, Twenty Incher, Rubberlegs, Psycho Prince, Green Drake Nymph, Duracell Jig, Flossy Worm. The Smaller Stuff: Aero Baetis, RS-2, Tung Psycho May, Split Case PMD, Barr’s PMD, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Otter Egg. Dries:Various Baetis and Midge dries fished in tandem with mid sized attractors like Hippie Stompers, Twisted X, Micro Chubbies

Floaters should note: The river volume on this stretch of water can change on an infrequent schedule and often. It is important to know the flow before you launch and make an honest assessment of your ability and watercraft capability. Please respect private property rights along the river. At 1,500 cfs the bridges are impassable. Under 500 become questionable for clearance of certain boats.


Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)

Flow: 235 cfs.
Conditions: Stream flows are holding steady at seasonal levels, offering solid wade fishing for the few remaining Fall Baetis and improving Midge action.  With these lower flows don’t anticipate fish to be widely distributed in the river.  In many places the water may not even reach the bank, leaving exposed riverbed.  At this level look for fish to be stacked up in the runs and deeper pools in the early part of the day, transitioning towards the head of those pools and bottom of riffles to feed on drifting nymphs as water temperatures rise mid day.  Results have been most consistent on nymph imitations for Baetis and Midges in the middle part of the day.  Tandem nymph rigs with a mix of those Baetis and Midges fished behind Stonefly or mid sized searching nymph have been solid.  You are definitely going to want to drop down to at least 5 to 6x tippet with the low water and clear conditions.  On those rare overcast days that we have had this Fall, there have been some moments of dry fly activity , as well as some fairly good streamer fishing.  And we would be remiss in not mentioning the traffic along this stretch of river the past couple of months.  With the mild weather we continue to have, it seems as if everyone has the same idea about wanting to get in one last day of fishing before Winter.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Hurless Stone Nymph, Flossy Worm, CDC Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead Nymph, Lil Spanker, Tungsten Hackled, Buckskin #16-20, Pheasant Tail #14-22, Black Copper John #20-22, Small Prince Nymphs, Black Pheasant Tail, Tung Psycho May, Split Case PMD, Tungsten Micro Mayfly Brown, Tungsten Juju Baetis, Aero Baetis, Root Beer Float, Zebra Midge, Red Neck Midge, Biot Midge


Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 600 +/- cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions:  Flows have fallen tremendously due to the Green Mountain Reservoir Dam slowing it’s water discharge.  Clarity these days is fantastic, in most spots you can see the riverbed.  With this type of clarity and high sunny days, keep in mind the fish are easily spooked.  This weekend we are expecting some cloud cover that will be short lived, for next week it is back to high sun and high 50s.  It is November and it could not be any prettier out there!  The fishing seems to be a little slow early in the day, then turns on later in the morning.  Take your time at breakfast and don’t be in a hurry to get on the water, let the river warm up.  Go ahead and order that second Bloody Mary!  We have seen midge adults and BWOs flying around but not too many risers.  A good way to start the day would be casting a deep nymph rig.  Try to find dark troughs to drift size 16 and 14 searching nymphs in.  If you are fishing where the riverbank is grassy with undercuts, don’t be afraid to cast a hopper-dropper rig or a double dry rig.  We are still seeing many fish go after hoppers even with the natural hoppers mostly gone.  The float fishing traffic has slowed quite a bit, you will not see as many boats on the river as in the past.  Shuttle companies are still running cars from A to B, try to give them a shout early morning.  At 607 cfs, floating is still doable just skinny.  Watch out for sleepers, shallow channels and private vs public land signs.  Same as wade fishing, try to find deep troughs you can cast a long nymph rig into.  Keep wearing your life jacket, just because the river is more shallow doesn’t mean you can store your PFD in the dry box; you never know what could happen out there.  If you need a good river resource handy, we now carry the “BLM Upper Colorado River Guide: Kremmling to Glenwood Canyon” booklet for purchase at $10.00.  This is the most detailed resource available with regards to public and private boundaries, boat ramps and general information on the river from Gore Canyon to Dotsero.  And it’s waterproof.

 

Flies: Psycho Prince, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Hammerhead Jig, Juju Baetis, Mayfly Micro, Root-beer Float, Two Bit Hooker, Zebra Midge, Glassy Brassie, Black Mirage, Pat’s Rubber Leg, D Bug, Sculpin, Wooly Bugger, Sparkle Minnow, Chubby Chernobyl, Super Chernobyl


Colorado Below Glenwood Springs

Flow: 1590 cfs.
Conditions:  A great option at this time of year, as flows are fairly low and clear, giving the river an angler friendly condition.  Results have been most consistent on nymph patterns, either as part of a dry-dropper set-up of traditional tandem nymph rig.  A wide mix of imitations are still in play including Stoneflies, Baetis, Midges and searching patterns.  Although the river is near seasonal lows for the year, it is still a big river that can intimidate anglers on their first trip to fish it.  Just remember to break it down into smaller pieces as you look at it and not try to fish the entire river at once.  It is big water more ideally covered with a boat and wading can be a tough endeavor the first time or two but, once you get dialed in on where to access and where the fish are holding, results can be solid for both wading and floating anglers.  Make sure to be thorough in your covering of water types while searching for where fish are active.  Big pockets, inside seams of riffles and eddy lines all provide good feeding lies for fish.  Clarity at the moment is as good as it gets on this stretch and with that you may want to drop down to 4 and 5x for your rig.  Streamer fishing has been spotty this Fall, just like everywhere due to the lack of overcast days and the abundance of sunshine.  But, just like everywhere else if we get some cloud cover look for fish to be a little more aggressive in their pursuit of streamers.  While at the same time, those clouds should provide a soothing cover to put trout at ease and coax a little surface activity out of them.  This stretch consistently produces some of the nicest Rainbows on the Colorado River and Fall is a great time to get out and explore this overlooked location.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Prince, Twenty Incher, Iron sally, Tungstone, Delektable Bug-Golden or Brown, Duracell Jig,Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Bead Hares Ear, San Juan Worm patterns, Zebra Midge, Lil Spanker, Tung Psycho May, Big Spanker, Rainbow Warrior, Magic Fly, RS-2, Bead Eggs, Otter Egg, Flossy Worm


 

Arkansas River Above Buena Vista

Flow: 96.8 cfs. @ Granite
Conditions:Holy Smokes the Arkansas is skinny upstream of Buena Vista!  This does not mean you can’t catch fish at these flows though, you just have to change your tactics and strategies.  While wade fishing, find deep runs instead of the shallow riffle water that produces so well in the summer.  Go ahead and drive passed the Hayden Meadows and Kobe Bridge areas and travel downstream towards Granite and even further. Below Granite and at the Numbers are two great locations for the type of water you should be fishing right now.  Remember these areas are at or near 10,000′, make sure you have the proper attire and equipment for the cold weather.

 

Flies: Small Chubby Chernobyl, Foamulator, Hippie Stomper, PGF, Copper John, BH Pheasant Tail, BH Hare’s Ear, Lil Spanker, Hot Wire Prince, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead Jig, Flossy Worm, Silver Bullet, Sparkle Minnow.


Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 265 cfs. @ Salida
Conditions:  Flows are certainly down to just about their Winter lows, offering some great wade fishing access with very little chance of boats disturbing you.  Action continues to be strong enough to offer a decent destination away from the crowds on some of the more popular Fall fisheries.  The southern half of the river below Buena Vista and Salida downstream into Bighorn Sheep Canyon should offer more consistent action than the upper reaches with colder temperatures.  With the low flows we recommend focusing your attention on stretches of river that tend to be slightly narrower, thus providing an deeper average depth for sheltering trout from the threat of predators.  Early in the day, action is driven by Midge activity, that will shift towards Baetis as we move into mid day.  As well, early in the day focus on the deeper lies with a slightly lesser current where fish can shelter until water temps rise mid-day.  Once that happens, look for fish to move towards the head of runs or below riffles where they can feed on drifting nymphs.  As with just about everywhere at this time of year, make the drop in tippet size down to 5 and 6x for best results.

 

Flies:  Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Prince, Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Red or Chartreuse Copper John, Hot Wire Prince, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead, Duracell Jig, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Rainbow Warrior, Brassie, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Mirage Midge, Red Neck Midge, Biot Pupa Midge


Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow: 575 cfs.
Conditions: Flows are low and clear offering good wade fishing throughout the valley, with floating being done still from Carbondale down.  A good option through the Fall and Winter with only a brief interruption from late December into late January.  Although nymphing will offer the best action daily, there are still pockets of rising fish to be found when cloud cover and emerging insects provide the right conditions.  Midges and Baetis will be the bulk of the actual active insects, but with a very diverse biomass in the river don’t hesitate to drift Stonefly, Caddis and small searching patterns along with those hatch matching imitations.  Late morning to mid-afternoon will be most productive once the water has a chance to rebound from overnight lows.  The public water through Glenwood will enjoy the warmer temps on the river but, don’t overlook the access up in Basalt where tailwater flows from the Frying Pan can give a little shot of life to the river up valley.

 

Flies:  Tungteaser, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Pat’s Rubber Legs #8-10, Psycho Prince, G6 Caddis, Tungsten Yellow Sally, Tungstone, CDC Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Standard Pheasant Tail, Tung Psycho May, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Duracell Jig, Root Beer Float, Foam Wing RS2,


South Platte River, Middle Fork

Flow: 20 +/- cfs.
Conditions:Pretty low and pretty slow.  It’s not that you won’t find any action, it’s just that with current conditions you will want to focus on the deeper bends in the river where fish can shelter up out of sight of predators.  Cold water temps in the morning are slowing the action until late morning.  Drop your tippet down to at least 5 but more appropriately 6x for best results. Midges, Baetis and small beaded searching nymphs under a mid sized attractor or hopper.

 

Flies: Chubby Chernobyl, Twisted X, Amy’s Ant, Mini Foamulator, Stimulator, Hippie Stomper, Parawulff, Parachute Adams, Royal Teaser, Beaded Prince, Duracell Jig, Hammerhead Jig, Red Collar PT, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Big Spanker, Zebra Midge, Mirage Midge, Red Neck Midge


South Platte, Dream Stream

Flow: 93 cfs.
Conditions:  Stream flows have bumped back up after plummeting a couple of weeks back.  This is good news for the potential of a successful spawn.  That is if we can keep too many people from wading through beds, or just as bad, harassing fish while they spawn by hooking them.  This spot seems to suffer from the largest collective ignorance of any in the state.  And by ignorance, we are hoping that it is just that, people are uninformed on the damage that they could be doing, rather than indifferent to the damage that they are causing, all in the name of a photo of a big fish.  We have all seen it happen.  There are anglers that stand over spawning beds and cast at fish trying to procreate.  If you don’t already know, this is the single most stressful time of the year for any fish.  Any additional stress on that fish very well could cause at the least an unsuccessful spawn and at worst, death.  With the lure of big fish in shallow water it’s too much for uneducated anglers to resist.  If you must go, PLEASE do not fish to fish that are actively on spawning beds.  There are still resident fish in the river, as well as fish that are in water that is not conducive to spawning.  Please think about the long term health of our fisheries.

 

Flies: Loop Wing Emerger, Pure Midge Larva Black or Pale Olive, Black, Red, Chartreuse Copper John, Juju Baetis, Buckskin, Caddis Larva, Poxybiot Nymph, Desert Storm Chartreuse, Tube Midge, Poison Tung, Zebra Midge Black/Silver, Barr’s Emerger BWO, RS2, Poxybiot Nymph, Egg Patterns, Cap’n Hook, Disco Midge, San Juan Work variations


Williams Fork River Below Dam

Flow: 100 cfs
Conditions: Releases from the Dam remain low and clear.  Midges are starting to take over in the volume for most active insects at the moment but, there are still some pockets of Blue Wings on individual days.   Tandem rigs with a mix of those Midges and Baetis, along with the odd Caddis and small Stonefly imitation or San Juan Worm and Egg patterns have been seeing the most consistent results.  Bump tippet back down to 5 and 6x along with moderate amount of weight.  Look for water types that offer good cover from predators and avoid fishing over spawning fish.  Being a tailwater, the water temperatures are much more stable in their daily swing, thus offering the potential to see action throughout the day.  (You don’t have to wait for water to warm up as it comes out of the dam at the same temperature day or night and the fish have acclimated to that.)  Which is good since you generally have to get there early to beat the traffic.

 

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


Eagle River

Flow: 189 cfs at Gypsum
Conditions:  Definitely low and clear right now but, action continues to offer enough of a reason to get out on the river.  Please give the fish a break and avoid fishing anywhere near spawning beds.  There have been reports of numerous dead browns along some stretches of the river where anglers have been seen fishing over spawning fish.  Resist the temptation for the low hanging fruit and give the fish a chance to reproduce.  These are wild fish that need to be successful in their quest in order for the river to remain the awesome fishery that it is.  Fortunately for anglers the Eagle is one of the few rivers in the central part of the state that has a fairly even distribution of Browns and Rainbows.  With the predominately sunny weather that we have seen this Fall, nymphing has been most productive, either under an indicator or as a dry-dropper rig.  Midges are comprising the majority of insect activity right now and imitations for them have had the most consistent results.  However, with the diverse cross section of hatches this river enjoys over the course of the year we would encourage you to add a Caddis, Stonefly, Baetis or searching nymph to your set-up in tandem with your favorite Midge pupa.  Conditions dictate 5 and 6x tippet for the best results.  Look for fish to be sheltering in water that offers them a little more cover from predators, such as deeper runs, pockets or as the water warms – heavy flows.  With a lower elevation and wide open valley to offer plenty of sun, the Eagle sees a nice swing in water temperature over the course of the day from Edwards down to Dotsero, providing a lot of room for anglers to spread out on.

 

Flies:  Hippie Stomper, Mini Foamulator, Para Wulff Purple, Chubby Chernobyl (small) Iron Sally, Duracell Jig, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Head Hare’s Ear, Psycho Prince, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Buckskin Caddis, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Root Beer Float, Tung Psycho May, RS-2, Zebra Midge, Biot Midge, Red Neck Midge, Mirage Zebra Midge, Standard Pheasant Tail 18-22, G6 Caddis, Lite Bright Caddis, Tube Midge, Desert Storm, Barr’s Emerger, Juju stuff.


Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conditions: Lake remains open at this time BUT, there is a boating closure that limits any floating vessel other than belly boats and personal pontoons.  AND those may not have a motor of any kind or oars for propulsion.  Fin powered devices only.  Typically the park will close at the first sign of ice, usually about the 15th of November.  With the mild Fall that we continue to enjoy that may be a little later this year.

Flies: Chartreuse Copper John, Bead Pheasant Tail, Bead Hares Ear, Flash Back Hares Ear, Jumbo Juju, Rojo Grande, Yankee Buzzer, Zebra Midge, Skinny Nelson, Gaviglio’s Calibaetis Nymph, Eggs, Rapunzel, Hale Bopp Leech, Mohair Leech


Delaney Buttes Lakes

Conditions:  Still open water with some decent results at time as those big Browns are in close proximity to the shore.  Some action on eggs and searching nymphs.  While at other times streamer stuff has been better.  Leeches and minnow type stuff has been better than the Damsel type stuff.

 

Flies: Eggs, Hale Bopp Leech, Squirrel Leech, Egg Sucking Leech, Rojo Grande, Jumbo Juju, Zebra, CDC Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Duracell Jig, Hammerhead Jig etc


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