The Colorado Angler Fishing Reprot – June 15, 2018

June 16th, 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 15, 2018

 

This week brings us an “Adverse Water Condition Warning”.  With the below average snow-pack this year and the above average temperatures here early in June, we are seeing a negative impact on the Upper Colorado.  And by “Upper”, we mean anything above Glenwood Canyon and below Kremmling.  The crux of the situation lies in the lack of release from Green Mountain Reservoir into the lower Blue.  This is due to water managers trying to capture as much water as possible on this below normal year and hold it until stream flows elsewhere drop after run-off.  As a result, this past week we have seen water temperatures climb to 68 degrees at Kremmling.  This is a very dangerous level and should be concerning to all trout lovers out there.  We were seeing this in the Parshall area, as well but, the good news this week was a bump in flows from Williams Fork Reservoir which has had a positive impact on the Colorado below the confluence.  However, with the overall low flows in the Colorado, by the time it makes it to Kremmling those temperatures have risen again to concerning numbers.

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.

Better yet, check out any one of the other great options out there right now.

Including the Roaring Fork, Arkansas and Eagle.  All of which are now running at great levels for both wade and float access.  Hatches are emerging from all of these and will be expanding daily.  This is the best time of the year for enthusiastic, post run-off feeding.  We know, this is definitely ahead of a typical year, when that usually happens around the first of next month but, this year’s theme is: “June is the new July”.  Don’t wait too long or you could miss some of the best action of the season.

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

Blue River Below Dillon Reservoir

Flow: 501 cfs
Conditions:Great looking conditions here in town as the Blue continues to flow strong, thanks to a full Dillon Reservoir.  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 have 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.  Green Mountain is still about 13 feet from full and rising about 4-6 inches a day, that could take a bit yet.  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: 338 cfs
Conditions: The on again, off again swing of run-off this year is back off again, as flows this week have been cut by more than half from where they were to start the month. Fortunately, there has been a nice bump up in the release from the Williams Fork, which is having a cooling effect on water temperatures.  These flows will still be relatively low so, don’t expect to see fish as widely distributed in the river as if it were full bank-to-bank.  Rather, focus your attention on the water that offers fish the trifecta of needs they have: Oxygen, Food and Cover.  Riffles, pockets, ledges and runs will be the first place to look on this stretch.  Action has been solid for weeks on a mix of small and larger Stonefly imitations, Baetis nymphs, Caddis and beaded searching patterns.

 

Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, Flossy Worm, CDC Pheasant Tail, Bead Prince, Psycho Prince, Breadcrust, 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: 562 cfs. @ Pumphouse
Conditions:  A rather unfortunate combination of events has caused this popular stretch of river to be less than ideal at the moment.  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 saw a 70 degree water temp earlier this week.  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.  We recommend avoiding this stretch for the near future and wait until those temps trend back down.  Unfortunately, we can’t accurately predict when that will be but, there are a couple of things that will help.  Such as a change in the weather pattern to bring in Monsoon rains.  We may get just a bit of this over the next week, whether or not it is enough to turn the tide remains to be seen.  The greater benefit would be realized from upstream releases of colder tailwater tributaries such as the Blue and Muddy Creek.  These will eventually come, we just don’t have an exact date.  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: 3400 cfs
Conditions:Things are looking much better here than in the upper basin, mostly due to cool water coming into the river from the Eagle and Roaring Fork rivers.  Fishing has been improving, as have conditions.  Most of the action throughout the day 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.  However, if you stick around until late afternoon into the evening, you have a shot at some great and overlooked dry fly fishing.  Caddis, Sallies and Green Drakes have all been hatching and can lead to some solid action in the last hour of daylight. 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: 550 @ 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.  Peak run-off has come and gone 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: 725 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.  With just a little more reduction, look for fish to start to disperse throughout the river and feed consistently.  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: 1500 cfs
Conditions: Flows are on the way back down and hitting a good level for floating the river.  Action has been solid and is improving as summer hatches have come early.  Look for PMDs in the late morning to early afternoon to drive strong feeding on drifting nymphs before and during the emergence.  Fish a dry-dropper set-up using a Golden Stone imitation on the surface and hang a mix of PMD, Yellow Sally and Caddis nymphs underneath.  As flow drop, fish are moving out of the bank to some degree and taking up strategic lies in the main channel, pockets and riffles to feed on those nymphs.  Stick around until dusk and fish for the inconsistent but improving evening Green Drake hatch on the lower river.

t 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: 150 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: 175 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 3x 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: 900 @ Edwards 1050 @ Gypsum
Conditions: Flows have dropped and clarity increased into the prime combination of “Go Time” for the Eagle.  Great conditions are combining with strong hatches and providing some very good fishing.  Although it may still be a bit on the high side for waders in some of the pocket water and rapid runs, it is very manageable for both wade and floating anglers throughout the river.  Look for Baetis and Caddis in the upper and middle sections, with the addition of PMDS and Sallies as you move down towards Eagle and Wolcott.  With the lower than average snow-pack this year combine with the fact that there are no upstream reservoirs on the Eagle, this could be a very short float season on the Eagle and you should get in on the action

 

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.