The Colorado Angler Fishing Report – July 4, 2018

July 6th, 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: July 4, 2018

 

There continues to be some areas of above average (and unhealthy) water temperatures around the area.  The Colorado below Kremmling, the Eagle below Eagle and the Roaring Fork in Glenwood late in the day, to name a few.  Please carry a thermometer with you while fishing this summer and keep tabs on the water temps over the course of the day.  Check it often, as temperatures can rise upwards of 10 degrees in a matter of hours under the wrong conditions.  We are starting to see some improvement on the Colorado and are optimistic that there will be additional relief once our Monsoon rains show up later this month.

Although our warm and dry spell continues across much of the high country, there are still plenty of good options for a day on the water.  You may have to think a little differently this year than a normal July with regards to where you go.  Search out those places that offer a lower water temperature and keep fish safe from the damage that can result when it gets too hot.  First, go up.   As in, the upper sections of your favorite rivers. Such as the Eagle above Eagle, even above Wolcott on really hot days, or the Arkansas above Salida, maybe even Buena Vista later in the day when air temps in the valley can hit 90.  At higher elevations there is a greater daily recovery of water temps as the swing from daytime highs to overnight lows, offering a safer water quality for trout to survive in.

Obviously there are always tailwaters that offer much cooler water temps as they bottom feed as cold as the low 40s and high 30s.  It does seem hard for many anglers to think about a tailwater in July, a time when typically we have endless freestone options to spread out on and stretch our fishing legs.  Tailwaters are for winter, when there aren’t any other options.  But this year, there should be no shame for heading to the safe temperatures of your favorite artificial aquarium of trout.  The less pressure freestone trout under warm water conditions get, the better.

And if you want the greatest chance at a little solitude while on the water, take a hike.  With the lower than average snow pack this year, it is a guarantee that every trail is free of snow and even lakes at the highest of elevations are devoid of ice.  Not to mention, with the unusually dry early summer, we have not been getting any afternoon showers just yet and that means you should have a lesser chance than normal of being chased off of a high mountain lake by an unwelcome thunderstorm.

High Water Temperature Advisory

When water temperatures rise, oxygen levels drop.  If it gets too warm, it can be fatal.  Generally speaking, that level is 70 degrees.  However that is for trout at rest.  Mix into the equation trout under any added stress, such as being hooked and played to exhaustion, and that level can drop a few degrees.  Therefore, we are asking for anyone thinking about fishing the Colorado to consider this situation and closely monitor water temps while on the water.  We would like to recommend that you consider forgoing fishing once that water rises above 65.  Yes, we understand that is a bit under the threshold we mentioned but, it is important to remember that the water temps will continue to rise as the day goes on and fish that have been hooked and played will have a hard time recovering as those oxygen levels continue to drop while they are exhausted.  Give em a break and protect the resource for the future.  This shouldn’t be all summer but, could go for another couple of weeks until water calls come in for upstream reservoirs.

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

Blue River Below Dillon Reservoir

Flow: 255 cfs
Conditions:Great looking conditions here in town as the Blue continues to flow strong.  The river has returned to a completely bottom release and temps are low and Mysis are making their way into the river.  With this amount of water your approach will be a little different that when the river runs at it’s winter low.  Make sure to bump up your tippet size, as well as your weight.  5x at minimum, with 3x even 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 BB to start but, you should experiment as you fish your way around town and see what makes sense indifferent spots.  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.  Traffic is starting to pick back up now that flows have come down from June highs and other areas are seeing temperatures rising to unhealthy levels. 

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: 480+/- cfs
Conditions: Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, flows from Green Mountain have risen to solid fish-able levels. However, there are some things to consider.  We don’t know how high it is going to climb just yet.  So far they have stepped it up over 4 separate movements 100 to 160 each time.  Each time they have paused for a day or 2 before bumping it again.  So, just about the time the fish settle in to the new flow and establish sheltering lies, up goes the water.  That being said it will be a little tough to predict how trout activity may be from day-to-day but, an increase in food and habitat is always a good thing for trout movement.  Best bet for the time being will be either a tandem nymph rig with a mix of Caddis, Stonefly, Mayfly and even San Juan Worm patterns, or swing some streamers and look for fish to be capitalizing on the turbidity in the water during the rising flows.  At this level wading will begin to be restricted for weaker waders, as they won’t be able to cross the river in most places.  As well, it is still a bit on the low side for legally floating the river down through the ranch.  And by legally, we mean you will hang up on downstream structure and end up trespassing.  Don’t be that guy.  Hang on a little bit longer and wait for flows to get to a reasonable level for safe navigation. 

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: 275 cfs
Conditions: The on again, off again swing of run-off this year is back off again, as flows continue to hold at lower than average levels.  However, that is not an entirely bad thing, as the modest release from the Williams Fork is keeping water temperatures at good levels for not only trout health but, also initiating aquatic insect hatches.  Be prepared for PMDs, Yellow Sallies and even Caddis if you plan on hitting this popular stretch of river.  The low flows will limit trout habitat slightly so focus you attention on riffles, runs and ledges.  Start the morning off by drifting nymph imitations in the riffles for trout anticipating emerging insects later in the morning to early afternoon.  Once you notice adult insects flying around switch over to dries and work those same riffles.  With these low flows you will want to focus your attention on the water that offers fish the trifecta of needs they have: Oxygen, Food and Cover.  Riffles, along with pockets, ledges and runs will be the first place to look on this stretch.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Flossy Worm, CDC Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince, Psycho Prince, Breadcrust, Hammerhead Nymph, Lil Spanker, Tungsten Hackled, Pheasant Tail #14-18, Redemption PMD, Tungsten Micro Mayfly Brown, Tungsten Juju Baetis, Aero Baetis, Root Beer Float


Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero

Flow: 865 cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions: A rather unfortunate combination of events has caused this popular stretch of river to be less than ideal over the past few weeks. Low flows combined with warm air temps and high sun are driving water temps to dangerously high levels.  As such we are seeing water temps that don’t even drop under 59 most nights, then climb to 68 in the early afternoon.  And that is at Kremmling, further down at Catamount we have seen temps hitting 70 degrees at times.  This is a very dangerous situation for trout health and should be of great interest to any angler that is concerned about the long-term health of the river versus the short-term gain of a good day on the water.  There may be some relief in sight, as over the past week flows have been stepping up from Green Mountain into the Blue.  As this volume goes up, it will hopefully have some cooling effect on the Colorado.  Please pay attention to the swing of water temps over the course of the day.  Or maybe check out another location all together if you have the ability.  If you just can’t go anywhere else please, please go early and wrap it up by noon, before water temps climb above 65.

 

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: 1980 cfs
Conditions:  Warm water is starting to have an impact here as well, now that flows on the Eagle, Roaring Fork and Upper Colorado are falling fast and water temps are rising.  If you are going to hit this stretch, please do it early and keep an eye on temperatures.  Most of the action will be on a mix of nymphs for Golden Stone, Yellow Sallies PMDs, Caddis and Drakes.  Tandem nymph rigs or deep dry-dropper set-ups using a Golden Stone or attractor on the surface.  Ledges, deep pockets, structure, eddy lines and edge water will offer the best chance to find fish sheltering and feeding in the same lie.  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, Deep Dish Green Drake, 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, H&L Variant, GT Adult Green Drake, Stalcup’s Green Drake Adult, Furimsky’s Foam Green Drake, CDC Para Green Drake, Stimulator.


 

Arkansas River Above Buena Vista

Flow: 455 @ Granite
Conditions:The benefits of altitude are on display in the upper Arkansas valley. as water temps continue to run at ideal levels.  Not only for the health of trout but, for spurring a wide range of insect hatches that are driving some excellent action on the upper river.  Caddis, PMDs and Yellow Sallies to name a few.  Stream levels are ideal for wade fishing, allowing both for great access, while still offering good bank-to-bank coverage that provides plenty of trout habitat to spread fish out in to all types of water.  Angler pressure has been fairly high due to the strong fishing and excellent conditions.  Try to spread out from other anglers if you can and keep the experience a good one for all.  This is NOT your usual tailwater, where etiquette is overlooked in favor of getting your hero shot.  With miles of public access between Leadville and Buena Vista, there is more than enough room to not be standing on top of one another.  Dry droppers to start the day and be prepared to switch to straight dries if you see any interest in emerging bugs.
 

Flies: Para X, Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulator, Foamulator, Small Chubbies, Para Extended PMD, Goldie Hawn, Foam Sally, Killer Green Bug, CDC Para Drake, 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, Flossy Worm, Silver Bullet, Sparkle Minnow.


Arkansas River Salida Area

Flow: 596 cfs @ Salida
Conditions: Flows have settled in at late summer levels and are providing for good wading options while still offering a good level for float anglers.  The big summer hatches of PMDs, Sallies and Caddis are moving upstream, leaving behind and early arrival of Tricos and some Golden Stones.  But, with the dry and warm early season, the hopper population is exploding and you should be working those imitations into your attack.  Dry dropper rigs with beaded searching patterns and small stones have been very productive.  As have small hopper and attractor patterns fish in pockets and edge water that offers a current and cover.  Water temps in the valley are starting to climb due to the hot and dry conditions and you need to carry a thermometer with you and check that throughout the day.  As it heats up, move upstream towards Stone Bridge and Hecla Junction to find some good late day action.

 

Flies: Hopper Juan, Amy’s Ant, BC Hopper, Stream Bank Hopper, Small Chubbies, Para X, Hippy Stomper, 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, Tan Pat’s Rubber, Tungsten Yellow Sallie, Masked Marauder


Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs

Flow: 733 cfs
Conditions: Flows are at late summer levels and temperatures on the rise, particularly in the lower valley.  Keep your thermometer close and check often.  Action has been better from Westbank up anyway.  The further upstream you go, the better.  However, with the fires burning in the Basalt area things in the upper valley are getting a little hectic.  If you are going to go upriver, we would like to suggest head all the way up and check out the fantastic wade access in the Aspen area.  As well, the big hatches of summer are moving that way anyway, and you can still find some great dry action on PMDs, Caddis, Sallies and Drakes. 

Flies: Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis, Killer Green Bug, GT Green Drake, H&D Drake, H&L Variant, Ginger Variant Caddis, Mini Foamulator, Deep Dish Drake, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Pat’s Rubber Legs #8-10, Psycho Prince, CDC Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Standard Pheasant Tail, Iron Sally, Frenchie, Lil Spanker, Big Spanker, Duracell Jig, Root Beer Float, Yeager’s Soft Hackle,


South Platte River, Middle Fork

Flow: 50 cfs
Conditions: Flows are at late summer levels, offering great, easy wade fishing and productive dry dropper fishing.  Hoppers and attractors trailing beaded searching nymphs, Caddis and small stone imitations.  Traffic has been very busy as the guide traffic is always busy at this novice friendly spot.  If you are able to cover some water and keep on the move though, you should be able to work your way around that situation.

 

Flies: Mini Foamulator, Stimulator, Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Trude, 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: 132 cfs
Conditions: Flows remain sub-100, which is a good summer 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.  Tricos will begin to be the bulk of their diet but, Caddis imitations will continue to produce for a while yet.

Flies: Two Bit Hooker Black, Black RS-2, Indicator Trico, CDC Trico, Para CDC Trico, Graphic Caddis, Buckskin, Glister Grub, Yeager Soft Hackle J, Parachute Ant, GB Caddis Pupa, Epoxy Back PMD, Small Pheasant Tail and Flash Back Pheasant Tails


Williams Fork River Below Dam

Flow: 81 cfs
Conditions: Finally, a big bump up in flows should offer a marked improvement in action on this productive tailwater. Stonefly, Caddis, Red Quill and Baetis nymphs can all be productive. As well, mix in a San Juan Worm pattern along with a searching pattern such as a flashback pheasant tail. On the technical points, bump up your tippet to 4 to 5x to handle the added force of this much water in a small channel. Don’t worry, the additional volume will mask the thicker size. And as the flow goes up so too should your weight on the nymphs. A single BB may not even be enough in some runs. If you get there soon, you may get to experience the rare occurrence of solid summer fishing on the Williams Fork without the companionship of mosquitoes.

 

Flies: Bead Head Breadcrust, Epoxy Biot Stone, San Juan Worm, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Split Case BWO, Poxy-Biot Nymph, Buckskin, Flossy Worm, Little Brown Bug, Two Bit Hooker, 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: 209 @ Edwards 284 @ Gypsum
Conditions:Well, that was quick.  Low snow pack, warm temperatures and a lack of rain have pushed conditions on the Eagle to late summer levels.  Floating is done and water temps are on the rise in the lower valley.  Carry your thermometer, and use it.  Try to be above Eagle by noon and even Wolcott as temperatures dictate.  Action still remains solid in many locations, but we want to minimize the stress put on fish in adverse conditions.  Still finding PMDs, Caddis, Sallies and Goldens in the upper stretches of the valley.  Focus on the oxygenated water, limit your handling of fish and don’t prolong the fight just for a photo.

 

Flies: Goldie Hawn, Silhouette Dun Sulpher, Elk Hair Caddis, Caddis Variant Ginger, Stimulator, Hippy Stomper, Cubby Chernobyl, 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.