The Colorado Angler Fishing Report – Friday, June 1, 2018

June 2nd, 2018

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 stretch of river, simply scroll below to read more information. 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)

Winter Hours:

Monday – Saturday 7:30 am – 6:00 pm

Sunday 7:30 am – 5 pm

 

Recent Update: June 1, 2018

 

Well, we can remember this as the season that run-off forgot.  Things are certainly looking ahead of schedule with regards to river conditions.  Typically speaking, we see run-off peaking between the 1st and 5th of June.  This year however, the best that we can tell says that happened about 3 weeks ago on many rivers and those are just about prime now.  Only a month earlier than normal.  To that we say, “Hell yeah”.  Consider this bonus fishing.  Normally at this time of year everyone is scrambling trying to find that one or two spots that are manageable to fish, while everything else is blown out.  But this year, we have a plethora of options, so get after it.

Flows will still be a little erratic for another week or so but, as of now we are seeing great things developing on the Arkansas, Colorado and Roaring Fork.  The Eagle is giving just the slightest amount of push back, as it briefly dropped to a manageable level before making a rebound late this week as temperatures soared on that side of the pass.  But, this is just a desperate last gasp and we expect that to fall into place within the week.

Salmonflies have almost run their course for the year but, there are still pockets of them out there.  Our Friday morning trips reported back with moderate action on Salmon fly imitations and seeing decent amounts of naturals still crawling and flying around the river.  Still enough of a reason for us to throw some big bushy stuff over the weekend.

The Blue is also seeing some “adjustments”, as Dillon Reservoir is full and spilling, while Green Mountain is still looking for some additional volume.  The result is a high flow here in town, with just a trickle down below Green Mountain.

Scroll down for more detailed reports on your favorite rivers, with flows and fly choices.
 

Blue River Below Dillon Reservoir

Flow: 750 cfs
Conditions:A big change in town, as the reservoir is now full and flows have jumped up over 700 with the overflow from the lake.  We are not sure how long this will last, nor is Denver Water for that matter.  They are currently doing some mixing of the release with a minimum amount spilling over the top, while the majority of the volume is coming from a bottom release.  This is due to some maintenance at the power plant that requires them to release the water a certain way.  What it means for anglers is this:  Unlike a normal spill with water coming over the top, water temperatures will not warm very much at all.  This will likely stunt any major Caddis hatch opportunity.  However, because the bottom release is so heavy, we should see an increase in Mysis Shrimp making it into the river.  With this much water your approach will be much different that when the river runs at it’s winter low.  Make sure to bump up your tippet size, as well as your weight.  4x at minimum, with 3x being a solid choice.  The weight will be important, as well.  At this level there will be less sheltering lies for trout to lay up and those that are there may be compact.  This will make it essential to get your flies down quickly.  We recommend a couple of AAA or even 3-4 BB but, you should experiment as you fish your way around town.  Look for fish to be holding in the soft water along the edge and below any structure you find.  Tandem nymph rigs with a mix of Shrimp, San Juan Worm patterns and even larger searching patterns on the point followed with the usual tailwater midges and mayfly imitations.

 

Town Flies: BTS Shrimp, Tim’s Mysis, Stalcup’s Mysis, Andrew’s 5-0 Midge, 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, Rojo Midge, Tube Midge – Black or Red, RS-2 – Black or Dun, WD40 – Black or Chocolate, Zebra Midge, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Flossy Worm, Gummy Worm, Sparkle Worm, And work in a streamer every once in a while, as well. Often over looked but, randomly deadly.


Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 75+/- cfs
Conditions:  Just when you thought flows couldn’t go any lower, boom, it goes sub-100.  This is as low as we have seen it in recent memory and we are not sure how long this will last.  We are hoping that it will not be as long as it takes to fill the reservoir.  If it is that long, then there is at least a little good news in that the release from Dillon is fairly robust at the moment.  At this level the river will become even more technical than it already has been this spring.  Sure, low water concentrates the fish and makes it easier to target holding areas but, it also make the fish extremely sensitive to angler movement.  As well, flows this low on this section of river will begin to stress fish and because of that you may want to look elsewhere until we see a little relief from this situation.

 

Flies: Big bead heads: Deep Dish Green Drake, Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser, Pheasant Tail, Rubberlegs, Psycho Prince, Duracell Jig, Flossy Worm. The Smaller Stuff: Aero Baetis, RS-2, Tung Psycho May, Darth Baetis, Split Case BWO, Barr’s BWO, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Juju Baetis, Red Neck Midge, Tube Midge, BH Biot Midge, Mirage Zebra,Otter Egg. Sculpzilla, Sex Dungeon, Cheech Leech, Sparkle Minnow etc


Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)

Flow: 880 cfs
Conditions:The on again, off again swing of run-off this year is back on again, as flows this week have doubled from where they were last weekend. However, that is not as ominous as it sounds.  This is a very nice flow for finding fish well dispersed throughout the river, with bank to bank cover.  There may still be a few Salmonflies in pockets from Reeder up into Beyers Canyon and crowds have been manageable for this section of river.  Dry-dropper set ups should offer a good way to prospect throughout the day, until you get an ideal on what fish are looking for.  Use a larger foam attractor or Salmonfly imitation on the surface and follow that up with a mix of Stonefly, Baetis, Caddis and beaded searching patterns.  Bump up your tippet for the time being, no point in losing any more flies than you need to, with the slightly stained water 3 and 4x is more than thin enough.  Look for sheltering lies where fish can get a break from the current with less energy spent, while at the same time be able to feed with little effort.  Pockets, eddy lines and ledges below riffles all have good potential.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Flossy Worm, CDC Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead Nymph, Lil Spanker, Tungsten Hackled, Pheasant Tail #18-22, Black Copper John #20-22, Tung Psycho May, Split Case BWO, Tungsten Micro Mayfly Brown, Tungsten Juju Baetis, Aero Baetis, Root Beer Float, Zebra Midge, RS-2, Foam Wing RS-2, Darth Baetis, Red Neck Midge, BH Biot Midge, 5-0 Midge, WD40, Pure Midge Larva, Chocolate Thunder


Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 1010 cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions: It’s up, it’s down, it’s up again.  Don’t blink or it might change again.  Flows and clarity are experiencing a slight amount of volatility over the past month or so.  This will be due to the fluctuation in precipitation and temperatures that is typical for this time of year, as well as the drop from Green Mountain, which leads to less clean water coming into the system.  Although runoff technically continues, it hasn’t been very noticeable here and we don’t expect flows to get real big this year due to lower overall snow-pack numbers in the system.  It’s certainly not horrible but, we don’t expect to see flows jumping to 6,000, as can be the case on bigger water years.  While there are still pockets of Salmonflies scattered around, the majority of them have emerged and expired for the year.  It is still worth having a few in your box for the weekend.  Your most consistent chance at them will continue in the canyon stretches of Gore, Little Gore and Yarmony.  As the river transitions out of the Salmonfly hatch, we are already seeing fish feeding on Caddis and even emerging Blue Winged Olives, when conditions are right.  Good action continues on dry-dropper and full nymph rigs most of the day but, on the cloudy days we have had great results on double dries for those smaller bugs.  The Salmon fly dries however, just take the commitment from an angler to throw em all day and take advantage of an opportunity that is random.  Overall action is on the rise, as water temps climb and both trout and insect activity increase.  Overall clarity is good however, it will be tough at times, as there will be days with limited visibility where it will take a thorough effort to hook up some fish.  As well, with the inconsistent flows, fish will have to reposition themselves in new sheltering lies each time the water substantially rises or falls.  With the clarity being a little stained, 3 and 4x tippet will be more than thin enough to work in all water types.  Make sure to pay attention to the amount of weight and depth of indicator as you change locations in the river.  Early in the day fish will be sheltered in slower, deep currents conserving energy until food becomes available.  Once water temps start to rise in the late morning, look for fish to move up to positions in the middle to the top of runs where they can feed on drifting nymphs.  Although we have been finding moments of good fishing throughout this stretch, the clarity can definitely be an issue the farther west you go due to sedimentary soils and tributary streams.  As visibility degrades, you may have to move upstream above those key tributaries.  Most notably, Piney Creek and Sheephorn Creek.  However, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be gin clear, at this point we’ll try anything greater than 12 – 15 inches of visibility.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Psycho Prince, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Duracell, Lil Spanker, Mirage Zebra Midge, Foam Wing RS-2, Poison Tung, BH Biot Midge, Tungsten Psycho May, Darth Baetis, Eggs, San Juan Worm, Sculpzilla, Silver Bullet, Sex Dungeon, Cheech Leech, Crystal Bugger


Colorado Below Glenwood Springs

Flow: 5770 cfs
Conditions:  Actually getting big and mostly off-color.  Probably not the best option for the near future, even if it isn’t gigantic this year, it is still going to carry a greater amount of sediment than allows for productive fishing.  If you are absolutely dead set on fishing this stretch of river, then nymphing will be the most appropriate approach on indicator rigs with a mix of Stonefly, Baetis, Midge, Egg and Caddis imitations.  As well, streamer fishing has been improving now that water temps are on the rise and Sculpin are getting active. Big Tippet and big weight.  Look for deep cover, ledges and drops to be holding fish most consistently.  This stretch of the river is entirely different than anything upstream from Dotsero but, if you can get past it’s proximity to the highway it is definitely worth the trip.  Although floating it does offer the best access for the patchwork of public water that can be hard to reach on foot, there are plenty of spots to drive/walk in to.  Don’t let the size of the river intimidate you, rather break it down into smaller pieces and fish it like you would any other wade river you are familiar with.  This stretch consistently produces some of the nicest Rainbows on the Colorado River and early spring is a great time to get out and explore this overlooked location.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, CDC BH Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince, Duracell Jig, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Bead Hares Ear, Yeager’s BH Soft Hackle J, G6 Caddis, Thrift Shop Caddis, San Juan Worm patterns, 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: 892 @ Granite and falling
Conditions:  Still fairly cold along the upper part of the river but, the ever popular stretch of Hayden Meadows is starting to get to a point where Midges, Baetis and even Caddis are emerging regularly.  We think we have seen the peak in the upper valley and even that wasn’t overwhelming enough to prevent fishing.  Although, the clarity and water temp limited results.  That shouldn’t be an issue any longer though, as bugs are hatching and fish are feeding again.  Best results have been afternoon through early evening, look for quite water along edges, behind islands and in pockets to provide good shelter for fish out of the elevated current, while at the same time offering easy access for those same fish to well presented dry flies in these tight lies.  Hoppers, attractors and adult Caddis imitations have all brought fish to the surface lately.  With current conditions tippet of 3 and 4x should be more than stealthy enough and if you are nymphing make sure to use enough weight to occasionally come in contact with the bottom.  The key with that will be to get down quickly in the smaller sheltering lies to put your fly in front of the trouts nose instead of drifting by over it’s head.  Lead with a mid-sized to small beaded Stonefly, Caddis or searching pattern and follow that up with a Midge pupa or larva.  Look for fish in the early part of the day to still be congregating in that sheltered water that offers a little more cover from the heavy currents, then as the day warms, you may see a slight adjustment in their positioning as they hover mid-depth and suspend in the column, as they look to feed on drifting nymphs and emerging Caddis.  This is going to improve quickly and should offer some of the best early summer action anywhere.

 

Flies: Para X, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, Foamulator, Small Chubbies, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Red Collar Leggy PT, Duracell, Copper John, BH Pheasant Tail, BH Hare’s Ear, Lil Spanker, Hot Wire Prince, Psycho Prince, Yeager’s Soft Hackle J, Iron Sally, Hammerhead Jig, Mirage Zebra, Red Neck Midge, Poison Tung, BH Biot Midge, Flossy Worm, Silver Bullet, Sparkle Minnow.


Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 1200 cfs @ Salida
Conditions: Flows have steadily fallen over the past week and are once again at a very solid level for float fishing, with a decent level for wading the bank and targeting the soft edge water.  We anticipate the flows to continue to fall as snow pack in the upper valley is just about gone.  So, look for wade fishing to continue to improve and quickly.  This level is great for pounding the banks with medium to larger sized dries and taking advantage of fish holding tight in the soft edge water.  As we are coming out of run-off, fish will be looking for an easy meal to replace calories burned during this period of elevated flows.  Attractors, Stoneflies and small hoppers are a good place to start.  For additional success, suspend your favorite Stonefly imitation or beaded searching nymph underneath.  3 and 4x are more than thin enough to fool fish with the improving clarity.  Early in the day fish will be a little slow to start but, that should change late morning as water temps warm and fish begin to feed.

 

Flies: Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Red Collar Leggy PT, Beadhead Prince, Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Red or Chartreuse Copper John, Hot Wire Prince, Iron Sallie, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead, Duracell Jig, Crane Bomb, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Yeager’s Soft Hackle J, Barr’s Emerger, Juju Baetis, Tungsten Psycho May BWO, Extended Body Para BWO, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Rainbow Warrior, BH Biot Midge, Brassie, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Mirage Midge, Red Neck Midge, Biot Pupa Midge, Tan Pat’s Rubber, Tungsten Yellow Sallie, Masked Marauder


Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow: 2180 cfs
Conditions: Flows are on the way back down and hitting a good level for floating the river.  Action has been decent but, the majority of it on nymph rigs as water temps haven’t quite rebounded enough to ignite the large hatches of summer.  There are some Caddis around and there has been some success on imitations for them.  Your most consistent shot will be tandem nymph rigs for another week or two, when the hatches of summer come early.  Golden Stones, Baetis, Drake imitations and beaded searching patterns should do the trick.

 

Flies: Midge Emergers, UV Emerger, Glassy Brassie, Beadhead Biot Midge, Poison Tung, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Pat’s Rubber Legs #8-10, Psycho Prince, CDC Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Standard Pheasant Tail, Tung Psycho May, Split Case BWO, RS2, Frenchie, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Duracell Jig, Root Beer Float, Foam Wing RS2, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, Frechie


South Platte River, Middle Fork

Flow: 175 cfs
Conditions: Flows have leveled off and clarity is improving. Still on the high side for comfortable, productive fishing.  But….. there can still be periods of action on beaded searching nymphs and streamers against bank cuts.  Always a good spot to prospect for resident browns even if the water is less than perfect.

 

Flies: 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: 62 cfs
Conditions:  Flows remain sub-100, which is a typical early spring level, particularly in a year with sub standard snow pack.  As such, this is a flow that will fish a little better if you think about your approach the river.  Make sure to travel with a little greater caution when moving along and in the river.  Slow down and make sure your foot steps are light, so as to not alert fish to your presence.  Minimize wading and keep a lower profile.  Once at a spot where you intend to fish, don’t be in a hurry there either.  Slow, calm movements with your rod and cast, limit your extraneous movements.  Light tippets of 6x will offer the best presentation.  Midge pupa, larva and emergers will be the core of trout diets through the winter but, now that spring is approaching there will be some action on small Baetis imitations.

 

Flies: Loop Wing Emerger, Pure Midge Larva Black or Pale Olive, Black, Red, Chartreuse Copper John, Juju Baetis, 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 Worm variations, Crane Fly Larva, Buckskin, Bread Crust


Williams Fork River Below Dam

Flow: 38 cfs
Conditions:  Dam releases are holding steady at low levels and may drop further.  As it gets down to these sub 75 levels, the action really tightens up on this popular tailwater, which gets more than it’s fair share of traffic.  As such, drop your tippets to 6x, even 7 if you are comfortable with that light of line.  Midge pupa, larva and emergers along with Baetis patterns will be most productive.  These can be fished together or behind a small searching pattern, such as a size 20 Flashback Pheasant Tail, or Caddis larva.  Look for fish to be “holed up” in the few deeper spots that are available at this low flow.  We haven’t heard what the spring release program will be for the lake but, with snow-pack this year being sub par, we anticipate the flow to stay low through May.

 

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: 1350 @ Edwards 1700 @ Gypsum
Conditions: Friday clarity and volume update: A slight rebound up in volume but, clarity remains good. Just when things were falling into place and about to go off, temps warmed and a slight increase in snow melt brought volumes up again.  Yet , it does remain in good enough condition to fish.  It is just a touch too high for comfortable float fishing.  Wade anglers however, can find some good access points to find some fish sheltered along the banks and out of the heavier flows.  Lead with a larger stone, Caddis or mid-sized searching nymph and follow that up with a Midge or Baetis pattern.  Fish are definitely feeding if you can get a nymph in front of them.  3 and 4x tippet are small enough and pay attention to your weight.  You want to get it down to fish holding in tight places.

 

Flies: Duracell Jig, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Psycho Prince, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Yeager’s Soft Hackle J, Thompson’s Forky Baetis, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Root Beer Float, Tung Psycho May, Poison Tung, BH Biot Midge, Foam Wing RS-2, Rainbow Warrior, Red Neck Midge, Darth Baetis, Spaghetti and Meatballs.


Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conditions: Ice is out and fishing is in. So are the crowds. That should taper off a little now that opening weekend has come and gone but, expect weekends to still be popular through spring. Cruising fish along the banks have led to success for both foot and float based anglers. A wide range of techniques are catching fish including: static nymph rigs, hand retrieved nymph rigs and a variety of streamers fished in varying retrieves.

Flies: Chironomids, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Zebra Midge, Eggs, Rabbit Leech, Hale Bopp leech


Delaney Buttes Lakes

Conditions: Shore Fishing has been slightly better than from boats but, that will change as the water warms and trout return to their normal range, particularly along weed beds.

Flies: Buggers, Chironomids, Calibaetis and Eggs and such.