The Colorado Angler Fishing Report – July 23, 2017

July 23rd, 2017

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)

Summer Hours:

Monday – Sunday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm


Recent Update: Sunday July 23, 2017


This week we had a lot of rain and cloud cover in the high country.  Many rivers and feeder creeks spiked making the clarity and fishing conditions not ideal.  Good news is, flows are either steady or on the decline, rivers are clearing up, fishing conditions are improving and we received much needed rain.

Caddis hatches are thick, Tricos have been productive, Yellow Sallies are on the decline, Golden Stones in some areas are finished while ramping up in others, you can find Green Drakes close by and PMDs are a great go to.  We have been experiencing incredible hatches throughout the day and especially in the early evening.  Great time to match a hatch versus throwing attractors.  Mosquitoes are pretty thick too, so be mindful of that pesky bug and plan accordingly.

As for your approach to the river. Look for riffles,  the softer edge water along the banks and below structure.  Keep in mind that as the water continues to drop, it will uncover more and more rocks and other structure.  Fish deep nymph rigs in deep troughs, find oxygenated water, and if you’re throwing dries put them tight to the bank with the opportunity for long drifts.  Fish love nooks and crannies!

Fishing from a boat is a very productive way to fish this time of year!  Keep wearing your PFD!  Just because flows are continuing to drop does not mean there is no danger in the river. Watch for big wave trains, lateral waves, strainers and sleepers.  Sleepers are very important to watch for as rivers become more bony.  There have already been fatalities on the Colorado and Arkansas this season so be careful out there!


Detail 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: 251 cfs
Conditions: Flows have stayed steady or slightly dropped for the past couple days.  The river temperature has also dropped so Caddis are no longer popping off the surface in town.  Wet wading is pretty difficult down there because it is so cold, so keep wearing your waders or head downstream where it warms up a bit.Scale back on your weight, a couple of BB or AAA to start and adjust from there depending on results. Tippet should be no less than 5x but, we recommend as high as 4x fluorocarbon if you need extra security. Sight nymphing has made a comeback!  That will help with success, as you want to make sure you are actually fishing to sheltering fish and not wasting your time on vacant water.  As well, blind casting into good structured areas will be productive.  Tandem nymph rigs with a mix of egg patterns, San Juan Worms, searching/attractor nymphs, tailwater midges, and dead drifted streamers are all good patterns to start with. Don’t throw the tiny, tiny sizes that work in the winter, bump all nymphs to #18 and #16. Our trips in town this week have continued to hook fish but, it is still a slightly technical endeavor.


Town Flies: Shrimp, Egg patterns, Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Flossy Worm, Gummy Worm, Sparkle 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, 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, Green Psycho, Yaeger’s Soft Hackle, Hippie Stomper, Humpy… And work in a streamer every once in a while, as well. Often over looked but, randomly deadly.

Blue River Below Green Mountain

Flow: 718 +/- cfs
Conditions: Flows were on a steady decline until mid week this week.  Wednesday, they bumped up the flows on us again making it great for float fishing but not so much for the wade fishermen.  Higher flows can be difficult because of the combination of fast moving water and slick rocks due to a healthy river section.  These flows will still limit the amount of wade fishing that can be done but, it will be a change for the better for foot traffic. Look for any available edge water and soft spots that you can reach from the near bank. Go big with your weight and tippet size in order to get down to any fish that you may hook. Look for nymphing to continue to be the most consistent approach throughout the day, and there should be a little action on streamers in those spots where you can swing them. Large beaded searching patterns, Stoneflies, as well as Green Drake, Caddis and PMD imitation will be the best place to start.  Green Drake Adults are flying around! This is a very fun hatch to fish!This will still be a swift current but, at this flow there will be more slack water to effectively fish. Heavy nymph rigs and streamers will cover this volume best. As always, be aware of private property and respect boundaries while floating or wading.


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 BWO, Barr’s BWO, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Juju Baetis, Red Neck Midge, Tube Midge, Biot Pupa, Mirage Zebra,Otter Egg. Sculpzilla, Sex Dungeon, Cheech Leech, Sparkle Minnow etc


Floaters should note: The river volume on this stretch of water can change on an infrequent schedule and often (like on the 22 for two hours). 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. Under 500 cfs, floating becomes questionable for clearance of certain boats.

Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)

Flow: 396 cfs
Conditions: Flows were bumped below the confluence of the Colorado and Williams Fork due to the increased release below the Williams Fork Dam. Keep in mind that wading will be tough but, focus on any softer currents along the edge, behind structure or inside of bends in the river where trout will be able to shelter from the bump in flows. The positive to the current conditions is that most fish in the river will be pushed out to this edge water and you shouldn’t need to get in the water to reach them. Tandem nymph rigs with Pats Rubber Legs, mid-sized searching patterns and San Juan Worms would be the best place to start and adjust from there based on action. Boost your weight up and don’t use any tippet greater than 3x. Caddis have been moving up river and it shouldn’t be too long before thick summer hatches of PMDs, Yellow Sallies and Red Quills emerge for daily dry fly sessions. Unfortunately, the other prevalent aquatic insect in Middle Park is starting to appear, mosquitoes. Don’t be unprepared for the potential of encountering this epic summer hatch, as well. Pack skeeter spray!Upstream of Parshall, the fishing has been consistent. Before Byer’s Canyon and in the canyon itself, the dry fly fishing has been great.


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 BWO, Tungsten Micro Mayfly Brown, Tungsten Juju Baetis, Aero Baetis, Root Beer Float, Zebra Midge, Red Neck Midge, Biot Midge, 5-0 Midge, WD40, Pure Midge Larva

Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 1350 cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions: The Colorado River experienced a couple milky days because of the rain storms last week.  It didn’t affect the Pumphouse area like it did downstream near State and Two Bridges. The clarity up high is much better and can be a little more productive than downstream passed the many feeder creeks that love to dump mud into the water.  Brown is down, Green is good!  Remember this when you approach the river because if it is a little off colored but still with greenish tint, go ahead and fish.  Tis the season for the very bright chartreuse moss clinging to rocks.  This time of year, if you are throwing a nymph rig, cast further from the bank to avoid hang ups with the moss and other debris. Hoppers, Caddis, PMDs and other dry flies should be drifted extremely close to the bank or in light riffled areas. The most prevalent emergence at the moment has been Caddis in the late afternoon into evening. There have been some opportunities to find fish rising to those Caddis, as well as to medium sized attractors. Go light on the weight for your nymph rigs and don’t throw any tippet smaller than 4x. The streamer fishing has been hit or miss, there are days with fantastic results because of the great cloud cover followed up the very next day with barely a fish or two moved. It’s always worth giving it a try but, unless you are just a died in the wool junkie, be prepared to switch back to fishing bugs if the interest isn’t there in the meat. 

Floating Tip: As the river runs lower, please proceed with caution. Lateral waves, standing waves, wave trains, and sleepers are still areas of concern. If you are unfamiliar with the river at these levels ask someone that is familiar with it about what to expect. And by all means, wear your PFD. Cold water and lower currents can neutralize your amazing swimming ability (more exposed rocks and sleepers!). There’s nothing cool about drowning.


Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Psycho Prince, Bead Head Hare’s Ear, G6 Caddis, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Duracell, Iron Sally, Masked Marauder, Copper John, San Juan Worm, Sculpzilla, Silver Bullet, Sex Dungeon, Cheech Leech, Crystal Bugger

Colorado Below Glenwood Springs

Flow: 3980 cfs
Conditions: If you are in the neighborhood and you happen to find clarity agreeable that day, give this stretch a go but, we wouldn’t recommend a trip to the lower river specifically to fish it alone. If you are not used to fishing water that carries a certain amount of color to it, here is a good general rule for the lower river: Green is good, brown is down. Whether it’s a foot, or four of visibility, as long as it has a greenish tint to it, you should be able to find feeding fish. With that being the case, take advantage of the situation to bump up your tippet size to 3 or 4x to give you a little edge in landing what you are able to hook. This stretch consistently produces some of the nicest Rainbows on the Colorado River and late winter to late spring 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, 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: 589 cfs @ Granite & 235 @Hayden Meadows
Conditions: Flows have remained steady or at a slight decline for wade fishing.  The upper stretch at Hayden Meadows has been filled with wade fishermen so if the parking lot is full, keep heading south to the next bridge at Kobe or even further to Granite.  There is great pocket water to stick some dry flies into.  If you are headed up there, tandem nymph rigs with larger Stonefly imitations, beaded searching patterns and caddis nymphs would be the place to start as well as skittering caddis, PMDs and MAYBE a Green Drake off the bank. 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, 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, Flossy Worm, Silver Bullet, Sparkle Minnow.

Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 1040 cfs @ Salida
Conditions:  This stretch has seen a lot of rain in the past couple of days, or at least a lot of cloud cover to taunt and help improve fishing conditions.  Clarity has been hit or miss due to the storms at night, so give it a little time in the morning to settle, don’t be in a hurry to head that direction.  Tricos, Caddis, Yellow Sallies, Golden Stones and PMDs are all on the move down there… think Yellow!  But, when you see a big swarm of tricos, throw black with a small silver bead, you don’t have to get too technical and tiny with it.  At these flows, fish tend to hold in pockets, slow rifles right on the bank and behind the big beautiful boulders that makes the Arkansas so famous. 

Flies: Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Prince, Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Red or Chartreuse Copper John, Hot Wire Prince, Iron Sallie, Psycho Prince, Hammerhead, Duracell Jig, Barr’s Emerger, Juju Baetis, Tungsten Psycho May BWO, G6 Caddis, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, OCD Caddis, Para Winger BWO, Extended Body Para BWO, Caddis Dries, Hippie Stomper, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Rainbow Warrior, Poison Tung, Brassie, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Mirage Midge, Red Neck Midge, Biot Pupa Midge

Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow: 1540 cfs
Conditions: The valley is experiencing great hatches at the moment! Big PMDs, Caddis and Green Drakes are all in the mix over there. It is a great option to travel to the Roaring Fork for a great day of fishing and matching the hatch.  The clarity is perfect and flows are at a great level! 

Flies: Midge Emergers, UV Emerger, Tungteaser, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Pat’s Rubber Legs #8-10, Psycho Prince, Tungsten Yellow Sally, Tungstone, 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, G6 Caddis, Yeager’s Soft Hackle, Winger Para BWO, Christian’s GT BWO, Brooks Sprout BWO, Sparkle Bug, Elk Hair Caddis

South Platte River, Middle Fork

Flow: 177 +/- cfs
Conditions: Flows are at perfect level, get out there! #goongetchasome 

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: 230 cfs
Conditions: The Dream Stream flows have stayed consistent the past couple of days.  Great time of year to find Caddis emerging from the river, soon to be followed by PMDs. Take lots of bug spray, the mosquitoes are getting thick down there. 

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, Dave’s Hopper, Parachute Adams, Hippie Stomper

Williams Fork River Below Dam

Flow: 131 cfs
Conditions: . This will be a tougher approach than usual but, once the clarity settles down, it will offer some opportunity. Lots of weight and a keen eye to help find sheltering fish could produce some success. They are releasing a lot of water from the reservoir, might pass on this option until it comes down. 

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: 397 @ Edwards 651 cfs @ Gypsum
Conditions: Flows continue decline and wade fishing has become prime! Float fishing, however, is on the drop and getting pretty skinny so be careful out there, tons of sleepers and private water.  There are tons of available soft water stretches along the banks and behind structure that hold fish. Those spots will still be spread out, requiring anglers to be mobile and willing to move some distance up or down the bank to find those spots.  Tandem nymph rigs will offer the best shot during the heat of the day, with a mix of Stonefly, Caddis and beaded searching nymphs later in the evening. 

Flies: Iron Sally, Duracell Jig, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Head Prince, Bead Head Hare’s Ear, Psycho Prince, Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Buckskin Caddis, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Root Beer Float, Tung Psycho May, G6 Caddis, Lite Bright Caddis, Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Conditions: The Park is open for the season. Results are hit or miss. Antero is now open for the season as well with incredible chironomid hatches. Mind the crowds.

Flies: Chirono Cones, Yankee Buzzers, Skinny Nelsons, Glass Chironomids, Wooftas, Peaches & Creams, Eggs, Squirrel Leech, Hale Bopp Leech

Delaney Buttes Lakes

Conditions: A good high-water-time-of-year option. Action has been decent to good on a mix of Chironomids, Callibaetis, Damsel and leech patterns.

Flies: Eggs, Hale Bopp Leech, Squirrel Leech, Egg Sucking Leech, Crank Shaft, Buzzers, Zebra, CDC Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, Duracell Jig, Hammerhead Jig etc