Colorado Fishing Report

April 3rd, 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: April 2, 2015


Spring has enveloped the entire high country over the past couple of weeks, with open water and increased opportunities everywhere.  The big issue has been, and will continue to be stability in the clarity at some locations.  As spring storms roll through, temperatures should drop enough to slow some of the low elevation snow melt that is happening and allow for some temporary improvement to those affected areas.  Such as the Colorado below Kremmling, the Eagle below Wolcott and the Roaring Fork below Carbondale.  All three have been fishing very well considering the early date on the calendar however, when those stretches get too dirty to fish you need to move upriver for some cleaner water.

Good hatches of Baetis are popping on the Roaring Fork, Arkansas, Eagle and Colorado.  Nymphing has been the most consistent under sunny skies but, as the clouds roll in there can be risers found on all of them.  And with all of the warm weather the past few weeks, there have been some extremely early Caddis on the Roaring Fork and lower Colorado, as well as on the Colorado near State Bridge.  We expect the hatch to start moving up the Arkansas in the next few days, as well.  With the temperature drop over the next few days that may stall, albeit temporarily.

Flows on the Blue through Silverthorne are up again this week, providing continued action on Mysis patterns along with a good mix of Midge pupa and larva, San Juan Worms and Eggs.  Due to the great weather and Spring Break traffic in town being robust, crowds have been heavy at times.  If you are looking for an alternative destination to try and avoid that situation, take a look on the upper Colorado.  We did a little recon on Wednesday afternoon and what we found was a very under utilized stretch of public water above Kremmling.  Of course, this won’t help that but, it was surprising for what is traditionally a very popular early Spring destination to be so deserted.

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: 177 cfs.
Conditions:  Solid early season flows through town are providing great conditions for anglers and fish alike.  Even with a bump in the release earlier in the week, clarity remains very good and the fish seem to have identified new holding lies.  Nymphing continues to offer the most consistent results, with the odd day of good dry fly fishing if you are paying attention to fish behavior.  The majority of the emerging insects have been Midges but, Thursday saw a fantastic BWO emergence and a solid response to adult Baetis patterns.  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.  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, Parachute Extended Body BWO, CDC Comparadun BWO, Winger Parachute BWO, CDC Parachute BWO, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Wooly Bugger Black or Olive, Pat’s Rubber Legs

Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 300 cfs.
Conditions:  Stable flows below Green Mtn continue to be a little elusive, 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 cfs.  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.  Most of the snow is gone now but, the hill down to the river is still slick and has been claiming a few victims.  Be careful getting to the river.  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. 

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: 530 cfs. @ Parshall
Conditions:  A very robust amount of water for this time of year but, very fishable.  These are classic mid-summer levels so, fish should be well distributed throughout.  Clarity will fluctuate day-to-day based on temperatures and snow melt on tributary streams but, for the most part it will be a good option through the end of the month into May.  With the boost in flows water temps have dipped slightly but, those will climb again as the warm air temps will have an impact.  Solid fishing on the Blue through Silverthorne appears to be benefiting this stretch of river as crowds have been non-existent.  A rarity for this productive year-round fishery.  Midges are still emerging sporadically and anglers will want to be stocked with a variety of all life stages, including a handful of adult imitations in the event an afternoon hatch comes off.  As well, the Blue Winged Olives are due to emerge over the next several weeks and nymph patterns are working well.  Fish those as part of a two nymph rig anchored with either a mid-sized searching nymph or a larger Stonefly pattern, as the Stones have been molting and action has been decent on those imitations.  As is typical for this time of year, San Juan Worm and Egg patterns are also producing some good results at times.  With the added water it will be necessary to bump up the amount of weight if you are dead drifting a nymph set-up and tippet size will be less critical, with 4-5x offering enough stealth to present a fly in this clarity.


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: 1090 cfs.
Conditions:  Warm weather has put this popular stretch into play much earlier than normal and plenty of anglers have taken note.  With good hatches of Midges and Baetis emerging from the river, action has been solid, and we have already seen signs of early Caddis in the State Bridge area.  Due to predominantly sunny conditions, dry fly activity has been limited so, be prepared to nymph with the chance to find some rising fish if conditions allow.  Tandem nymph rigs have been productive with a mix of Stonefly, Baetis, Midge and Caddis imitations, as well as beaded searching patterns and San Juan Worms.  Clarity will be inconsistent from day-to-day, ranging from almost nothing up to about two and a half feet.  Don’t let the lack of visibility dissuade you from giving it a try.  The key is persevering long enough to thoroughly cover a run before determining if the bite is on or not.  We have had some good action with as little as 10-12 inches of visibility.  It is important to remember that it is still very early in the Spring and the fishing may be great one day and a struggle the next.  As we move into the middle part of April that should steadily improve.  Every ramp on the river is open and Rancho is running shuttles for all of you float anglers.
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 April.  The word from BLM this week is that the engineering company that constructed the feature is not completely satisfied with the performance of the wave at the current stream flow.  However, their permit stipulated all in channel work had to be completed by April 1.  Not sure what that means in the future (will they want to adjust it or not) but, it looks as if it will stay as is for now.

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: 2,980 cfs.
Conditions:  Conditions below Glenwood have been hit or miss as well, with clarity a day-to-day guessing game.  When there is enough visibility, action has been very good.  What you should look for is at least 12 inches of a greenish hue.  As the saying goes on this part of the river: Green is good, brown is down.  If you are not too familiar with this stretch of water, it may take some trial and error to figure out exactly how green that is but, once you do the rewards justify the effort.  Nymph fishing has been the most consistent method, followed up with some sporadic streamer activity.  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 and Caddis Pupa in sizes 12-16 and larger stones.  Baetis are pouring off the river mid-day but, high sun has made for inconsistent surface activity.  That should change now as the first Caddis of the year have begun to emerge below town and skating large Caddis and Stimmies can produce some top water action, particularly later in the afternoon/evening.  And deep drifting egg patterns has been fairly consistent with those anglers that have been able to get into steady action.


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, #12 Caddis, Stimulator in Orange or Yellow.

Arkansas River Above Buena Vista

Flow: 173 cfs. @ Granite
Conditions:  Still a little bit early on the uppermost part of the river, especially Hayden Meadows.  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 is still fairly cold and sluggish on the bite.  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.  If you have the time, head downstream a little farther south at least to Brown’s Canyon.


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: 311 cfs. @ Salida
Conditions:  Great Spring conditions up and down the river.  Baetis have been emerging all the way up into lower Brown’s Canyon and early action has been solid.  We have had a predominantly sunny weather pattern the past couple of weeks and as such, nymphing has been the more consistent method of success.  With that in mind, if there is a day where clouds move in the dry fly fishing can be incredible.  In lieu of any rising fish, nymphing has been very good on a mix of small to mid sized Stonefly imitations, beaded searching nymphs and Baetis patterns.  Stream flows have fallen slightly over the past week and the river is now prime for early season wading.  At this level and with the sunny forecast, water temperatures will continue to rise and the first Caddis should start to show up along the lower river in the next week or so.  This is a great time of the year on the Ark and anglers should go prepared to encounter Midges, Baetis and Caddis, sometimes all in the same day.  At this level boating is still possible although, a bumpy proposition.  Pay attention to how much of an impact the boat has on moving fish and try to position yourself so as to spook as few fish as possible.  Look for fish to start out early in the tail out of runs then move into the current just below and into the bottoms of riffles as the Baetis nymphs begin to drift, mid-day.  Also, always hold your cast and try to give wading anglers a wide berth as you pass, don’t worry too much about missing any action for that minute or two that float on by.  Remember that you are covering multiple miles of river on your float, whereas wade anglers may only have time to fish a hundred yards at a time.


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, 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: 742 cfs.
Conditions:  Baetis have fully entrenched themselves in the daily routine from Carbondale down to the Colorado.  Huge hatches are pouring off the river almost like clockwork.  Most days under the sun the best opportunities are fishing a nymph rig.  If you are fortunate enough to get some cloud cover early to mid-afternoon, localized pockets of rising fish can be found as well.  Clarity has been up and down with the rise and fall in temperatures, as well.  Best results have been with 20-36 inches but, fishing is good with less if you have a color shade of green versus mocha.  Early in the day a wide variety of Roaring Fork staples have been solid.  San Juan Worms, beaded searching nymphs, Stonefly imitations and Egg patterns have been producing fished in tandem with your favorite Baetis nymph.  Around noon Baetis nymphs will start to drift in the current and at that point you can even switch up to multiple different Baetis imitations.  We are finding fish fairly well distributed, with good action in riffles and runs throughout the day.  And keep an eye out for those BIG early season Caddis that have been spotted the past couple of days, they should ramp up here as we return to warmer temperatures.


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. That should change quickly now as water temps rise.  Dry dropper rigs should give you enough depth to cover the limited water levels at this time.  Beaded searching nymphs along with Baetis and Midge imitations.


Flies: Chartreuse Copper John, Rainbow Warrior, Egg Patterns, Hot Wire Prince, Beaded Flash Prince, Tungteaser, Tung Psycho May, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Rainbow Warrior, Autumn Splendor, Slumpbuster, Sparkle Bugger

South Platte, Dream Stream

Flow: 50 cfs.
Conditions:  Low and clear flow, as is the norm prior to the lake filling.  Well the spawn has begun and with it the annual angler shenanigans that come with it on this piece of water.  Something about the “Dream” and etiquette.  Maybe it’s the big fish in skinny water but, we see some pretty unethical angling here when those big brutes move up out of 11 mile.  We realize that 90% of fishermen want to do the right thing, it’s the 10% that either don’t know they’re stressing out the fish or don’t care.  So, if you see anyone standing over paired up fish, on a bed, trying to procreate, exposed to the world, can you please take that opportunity to educate them on the damage they are doing to the population by interrupting the spawn by hooking fish as they are just trying to keep the species alive.  If you hook fish that are on a bed you are negatively impacting current populations of fish, as well as future populations of fish, period.  Rather, inform them that they should focus their efforts on the areas that are not dotted with bright circles of cleared gravel, where they will still find plenty of fish.  Rant aside, 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, as well your wading can also disturb spawning beds and increase mortality.  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

Flow: 45 cfs.
Conditions:  Action has been relatively good for this winter tailwater.  Flows are holding at a rate 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.


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:  Ice is rotting and breaking up.  Not sure what is going to happen here this spring as they are going to drain the lake.  If you can access from shore, the bag limit has been lifted.


Spinney Mountain Reservoir

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


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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