Colorado Fishing Report
Finally, it looks as if we have turned the corner on our high water conditions, at least on a few of our local favorites. Dry weather conditions returned to the high country over the last 4 or 5 days and the rivers have responded well.
We are seeing consistent and substantial drops in stream flows on two major watersheds in central Colorado; The Arkansas and The Roaring Fork. Through the weekend and into next week we expect this trend to continue and produce some very good conditions for anglers anxious to get back out on their favorite freestone river.
The Roaring Fork has dropped nearly 40% from its level on Sunday to a fairly fish-able level around 4,000 on Friday afternoon. This is still a robust amount of water, but clarity is great and all of the fish are jammed against the banks.
Nymph fishing is strong, especially during the morning and mid day hours. Keep in mind that with the higher flow, the river in places, is bank full and into the willows. Anglers definitely want to push the envelope on their drifts and get those flies as close to where the trout are laying, but with that aggressive approach comes the higher risk of flies left in submerged hazards.
For the dry fly enthusiast, though, you really need to hit the river in the evening and pound the banks with a double dry fly rig. Some of the best action of the year can come on the Fork at this time of year in the evening. The key is to make sure you don’t get off the water too soon. Those last few minutes where you can barely see to tie a knot can be the most intense. Do yourself a favor and get on over to this river.
The Arkansas is on the drop as well and improving daily. Water levels are still a little high, but over the next couple of days that should continue to settle in to an approachable flow. In the upper reach we would look for it to drop under 800 cfs to signal a better experience for more anglers and once it gets under 500, it will really start to enter the comfort zone for overall angling experience.
The Stillwater fishing continues to offer great action, although we are seeing a progression in hatches as the Chironomid population is fading and Calibaetis and Damsel flies are now the prevalent hatches on most local impoundments. Day to day the trout may favor one of these choices over the other, but they are both a potential meal every day on many of Colorado’s great lake fisheries.
Both Antero and Spinney Reservoirs are fishing as well as anywhere in the state right now. As fiver flows persist above average for the time being, these are a great option for fly casters looking to get into feeding fish.
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. There is a lot of information here on this page but, space is limited and we may not have answered all of you questions. We want to make sure you get the information your looking for. Toll Free 855-CO TROUT (268-7688) or stop by and see us in the Summit Place shopping center in Silverthonre, next to Blue Moon Bakery, Exit 205 on I-70, then south 1 block.
Summer Hours: 7am-7pm
|Blue River Below Dillon Reservoir
|Flow: 1340 cfs.
|Conditions: Another big addition to flows this past few days as Denver Water prepares for the final filling of Lake Dillon. The Monsoon rains have hit the Upper Blue River Basin hard and all the feeder streams jumped as a result. Those feeder streams should start to subside with the drier forecast the next couple of days. After that we will have to see how long before the lake stabilizes and how Denver Water reacts. Experienced anglers definitely have the edge as this is very technical fishing. Nymphing continues to provide the most consistent action . The key will be locating the quieter holding water and using plenty of weight. When you think you have enough weight on, add more. These types of conditions are most rewarding for the single angler or for multiple anglers that are patient enough to take turns in the same spot. Stomach pumps of landed fish really are showing the focus by the fish on the Mysis Shrimp. You can try a midge here and there, but we wouldn’t make it the focal point of your rig. Flies: Charlie’s Mysis, BTS Mysis, Stalcup’s Mysis, Medallion midge 20-24, UV Emerger black 20-24, Kingery’s Capt’n Hook 20, Garcia’s Rojo Midge Red or Black 20.
|Blue River Below Green Mountain
|Flow: 2560 cfs.
|Conditions: Wow! This is BIG water. Lake Dillon releases are being passed down river as both reservoirs are close to full. In fact as of Tuesday evening, Green Mountain was with-in a half an inch of full, which means that it should be spilling by Wednesday evening. I would not recommend this as an option right now , even for floating. There is so much water flowing down river that even getting flies in front of fish will be very difficult. Wait for a substantial drop in volume before considering this area. Floaters should note: The take out that has been used for years is no longer available, that property is now private. For boat take out you now need to continue on down the Blue to the access ramp for the Gore Canyon put-in. this is approximately another mile. Please respect private property rights along the river. Flies: Larger size Bead Head Nymphs: #10-12 Hare’s ear, Prince, Tungteaser, Tungsten Rubber Leg Yellow Sally, Stubby Stone, San Juan Flash Worm and Red Hot Worm.
|Colorado River Above Kremmling
|Flow: 3760 cfs.
|Conditions: Another big set back for wade fisherman. New releases from Windy Gap due to heavy rains, have seen a return to flows north of 4,000 cfs. Very high, off color and out of the banks in most spots. Still very high and not a good choice. Hopefully this will be short lived and we will see flows start to subside again as they were last week. Stay tuned.
|Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero
|Flow: 6990 cfs.
|Conditions: Another stretch impacted by the jump at Windy Gap and flows are now back up to the 9000 mark. A bit of a buzz kill mentally, but the river has been in and out of this level for most of the last month. The fish have adapted and anglers can still find a few fish. Clarity at times is up to 2 feet. Water temps continue to climb, producing a great PMD hatch. There are spots where a wade angler can find fish not only holding, but feeding with-in close proximity to the bank. With the high water, the river is out of its banks and COVERING the willows, which leads to many snags. If you go, this is technical fishing, be prepared for tough access and hard to distinguish trout lies. If you do go, do not forget your bug spray. Mosquitoes are starting to show up for what looks to be a banner year for them as well, especially in the daytime. Flies:Burk’s Silhouette Sulpher, Lawson’s PMD, Bead Pheasant Tails, Bead Head Mercers PMD, Tungsten Hares Ear, Pat’s Rubber Legs.
|Colorado Below Glenwood Springs
|Flow 14,300 cfs.
|Conditions: Big and dirty, good for a boat ride. Don’t miss the stop at Dairy Queen, river-right, just past the bridge in West Glenwood. Or for an entertaining side trip, check out the surfers on the stationary wave just above the West Glenwood bridge. The closest thing to Pipeline the mainland has seen.
|Arkansas River Above Buena Vista
|Flow: 780-1930 cfs.
|Conditions: As of late Wednesday, flows dropped below 1000 for the fist time in weeks in upper reach of the valley. This is good news and a long time coming. The decline should come quick too. Look for flows to drop down to 8oo +/- in the upper reaches. For all you streamer junkies out there, give this one a try in the upper reaches from Hayden Meadows down to the Lake Creek confluence. Note that the flow range on detail is Hayden Meadows the lower number, 997 and the higher number is at Granite. Flies: Bead Pheasant Tail, Hot Wire Prince, Iron Sally, Tung Teaser, Twenty Incher, Slump Buster Black, Bead Head Rubber Leg Brown Bugger, Le Marabou Leech.
|Arkansas River Below Buena Vista
|Flow: 1930 cfs.
|Conditions: As with the upper stretch of the Ark, the trend here is good, there is just a bit of rainwater that needs to move on down valley. An additional drop in flows started Wednesday afternoon as water managers are lowering releases from Twin Lakes. Clarity has been great, the river just needs to drop a little for it to be a solid option for more than the most skilled anglers. For those experienced anglers out there look for pockets of softer water along the bank, the fish are holding tight and are looking for an opportunity if you can get it to them. Flies: Bead Head Pheasant Tail, Tungstone Golden, Chartreuse Hot Wire Caddis, Streamer Patterns.
|Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs
|Flow: 35490 cfs.
|Conditions: UPDATE: BLOWN OUT BELOW FRYING PAN. Flies: Tungteaser, Twenty Incher, Bead Prince #12-14, Copper John#12-14, PT Cruiser #14-16, Elk Hair Caddis #12-14, Stimulator #10-16
|Platte South River, Middle Fork
|Flow: 300+/- cfs.
|Conditions: The recent rains have bumped this up slightly, but that has started to turn downward again. Insects are starting to hatch and water levels appear to be dropping a little. However, flows are still very high and fish-able lies are spread out. You will have to cover a lot of terrain but, look for any larger back eddies and foam lines. Fish can be brought to the surface as there are Caddis, Pale Morning Dun and even a few Green Drake adults around. Tomahawk or Badger Basin, it’s a push. Flies: Elk Hair Caddis #18, Burk’s Silhouette Sulpher, Headlight Yellow Sally, Red Legged Hopper, Graphhic Caddis, Hare’s ear, Red or Copper flavored Copper John, Tungteaser, Buckskin caddis, STD Baetis, Tungsten Psycho
|South Platte, Dream Stream
|Flow: 313 cfs.
|Conditions: This piece of water can fish very well at these higher levels. The caddis activity should start to pick up soon, so look to fish a larva or pupa offering as well. Downstream in Eleven Mile Canyon, Caddis and PMDs are starting to really produce results and may be worth a look as well. Flies: Buckskin Caddis, Barr’s Graphic Caddis, Mercer’s Poxyback PMD Emerger, Caddis Rockworm.
|Williams Fork River Below Dam
|Flow 665 cfs.
|Conditions: This has been fishing decent for experienced anglers in the few slack water spots that present themselves. There are Yellow Sallies and a few mayflies around. If you do go, do not forget your bug spray. Mosquitoes are starting to show up for what looks to be a banner year for them as well. Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs, San Juan Worms, Stubby Stones, Flash Back Pheasant Tails, Buckskin Caddis, Crane fly Larva, Baetis nymphs: Jujubaetis, Big Bear Baetis.
|Conditions: Action remains strong on this impoundment as the Calibaetis and Damsel Flies are in full swing. Nymphing still provides the greatest action, but there have been good dry fly days as well. The Division of Wildlife will once again be doing inspections for invasive species at the boat ramp. Allow for a little extra time before launching any trailered boats. The South boat ramp is only open Friday-Monday, mid-week boaters will have to use the North ramp. Check out the method section under Delaney Buttes Lakes below for more tips to consistently get into fish. As for the Flies: Parachute Extended Body Bead Head Hare’s Ear and Pheasant Tails 12-16, Copper John Chartreuse or Red 14-16,Tung Teaser 12-14, Jumbo Juju all colors 12-16, Yankee Buzzer 12-16, Zebra Midge 20.
|Spinney Mountain Reservoir
|Conditions: As with Antero, this Lake is probably fishing as well as it will all year. Action remains solid on Calibaetis and Damsel Fly patterns. Again, using static nymph rigs has been the most consistent, but don’t hesitate to mix it up with the occasional leech or crayfish patterns. Check out the method section under Delaney Buttes Lakes below for more tips to consistently get into fish. Flies: Jumbo Juju all colors 12-16, Hare’s Ear 12-16, Yankee Buzzer, Bead Head PT12-16, Chartreuse Copper John 12-16.
|Delaney Buttes Lakes
|Conditions: Not as good as the South Park impoundments, but this is a high-water option for still water here as anglers wait out the run-off season. Action on the East and South Lakes remains the most consistent, with the North Lake its usual finicky self. And not to sound like a broken record, but the insects here are the same as the South Park impoundments. Method: As with ALL of these lake options, try to mix it up in your selection until you hit on something that the fish appear to be keying on. A good method is to fish a nymph rig under an indicator with 2 or even 3 different patterns. Present the fish with something to imitate the Calibaetis nymphs, as well as a Chironomid and maybe even a Damsel nymph. Once the action picks up, you can determine if there is preference for a particular bug and then offer other imitations of that insect. Flies: Jumbo Juju 12-16, Yankee Buzzer 12-16, Mercer’s Poxyback Calibaetis, CDC Calibaetis nymph, Wilcox’s Rapunzel, Bead Head Aggravator Olive.