The Colorado Angler Fishing Report – March 4, 2015
March 04th, 2015
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 river, simply scroll below to read 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.
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)
Spring Hours: Monday – Saturday 7 am – 6 pm, Sunday 8 am – 5 pm
Recent Update: March 4, 2015
It looks like one last day of snow in this current weather cycle and then a return to sunshine and warmer temperatures starting as early as mid-day Thursday. While the recent snow has made it a little more challenging with regards to staying warm, it has gone a long way to boosting snow pack levels state wide.
Looks like a nice angler friendly forecast for at least the near future, with day time temps in the high 30s to low 40s here at higher elevation and even the possibility of low 50s on the Arkansas and Roaring Fork by the weekend. At this time of year, having a little extra sunshine can be great for jump starting the insect activity by helping bring water temperatures up a little quicker in the day. Look for Midges to be emerging along the upper Colorado, near Parshal and Midges and Blue Winged Olives to be active on the Roaring Fork.
There has been a slight reduction in the release from Lake Dillon into the Blue River but, it is minor and shouldn’t have any adverse impact on the fishing. Elsewhere, the water transfer on the upper Arkansas has ended as well and the release from Twin Lakes has been cut dramatically. Both will still offer some great early season access.
And in other news: we would like to wish Nick “The Kid” a Happy Birthday. On the 26th of February he celebrated his 21st. Not sure what the rest of the staff is going to do now that our designated driver is of age. Which leads us to our current job opening for shop help. Applicants must posses a strong combination of customer service skills and local angling knowledge, lack any sense of ego, be between the ages of 18 and 20 and willing to do whatever it takes to make The Colorado Angler experience the finest it can be. (including driving on company “field trips”)
Detailed 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: 132 cfs.
|Conditions: Water levels are slowly dropping back down from their highpoint just two weeks ago but, this is still a great level for plenty of food to be coming from the Dam. Clarity remains very good and the fish seem to have identified their holding lies. Overall, the tactics right now are the same as they have been since the water came up. Try to focus on the slightly quieter water that still has some current to it but, with a little break from the heavier flows of mid-channel. Nymphing will be most productive, as there has been very little insect emergence to speak of. Increase the amount of weight in your set-up to accommodate for the extra volume, as well you may be able to step up a size in tippet. Although, indicators will still be favoring the neutral colored variety, yarn or bobber style. Traffic also remains noticeably higher,with a combination of mild temperatures and great fishing that is to be expected. With that in mind try to consider your fellow anglers out there and give a courteous amount of space if you aren’t the first one on the water. The benefit to all this extra water is that it is moving fish into places that may not have been holding many trout previous to the spike. Take this opportunity to maybe look at some new spots that you may not have in the past. There isn’t only one or two good holes on the Blue, who knows you may just find a better spot than your usual one. Action has been good not only on the Mysis patterns but, also a good mix of Midge pupa and larva in red or black, along with Egg patterns, Mayfly and searching nymphs. On those warmer days where there is some melting snow affecting clarity, San Juan Worm patterns have been fairly productive as well. Good luck.
Town Flies: Stalcup’s Mysis, BTS Mysis, Charlie’s Mysis – All in size 14- 20, Kingery’s Cap’n Hook, Pure Midge Larva Red, Tube Midge – Black or Red, RS-2 – Black or Dun, WD40 – Black or Chocolate, Tidbit Midge, Winter Baetis, Black Beauty, Disco Midge, Desert Storm, Frenchie, Two Bit Hooker, Rainbow Warrior, UV Emerger – Black or Brown, Otter Soft Milking Egg, Bead Eggs, Wooly Bugger Black or Olive, Pat’s Rubber Legs
Blue River Below Green Mountain
|Flow: 300 cfs.
|Conditions: Stable flows below Green Mtn continue to be a little elusive as well, as the Bureau of Reclamation appears to be passing the extra water from Dillon through their system. The flow has been swinging back and forth just above and below 300 cfs. This is a great level for the fishing, the problem remains with the wading. For most wade anglers, 300 is about the top end of what is safe for crossing over to the other side. So as it swings up to the 350 cfs point, you may want to limit your fishing to the water you can reach from the trail side. Keep an eye on it as it has been changing every few days. Fishing has been a mixed bag down here, with some good very days being reported along with other days that leave you wondering if it is the same river. Either way this is still a decent option for those wanting a lot more solitude than the crowds up river in town. Once you get to the water that is. As is typical of this time of year, the approach to the river from the parking area can be down right dangerous with the combination of a steep hill, snow on the ground and a near lack of direct sunlight. Take your time on the descent, as well as the climb back out at the end of your day. There may even be a rope tied to a tree that someone had left there to assist with the access but, we can’t confirm that it is still in place. Nymphing has been decent with a wide variety of imitations for Midges, Baetis, mid sized beaded searching patterns (such as Pheasant Tails, Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser etc) as well as some continued action on egg patterns. We also like to fish a larger bug in the set up through the Winter due to the good number of robust insects in this stretch of river like Drakes and Stones. Sometimes that larger offering presents a opportunity for a bigger meal that a fish just can’t pass up. Tandem rigs have been solid leading with either one of those beaded searching nymphs or an egg and following that up with your favorite Baetis or Midge pattern. If you find that all of your action is coming on the small, trailing fly, then switch up your lead fly to a Baetis imitation with a Midge behind. Water clarity and volume allow for 5x mono to be sufficient but, there are a lot of anglers that will drop to 6x for added stealth, as well, fluorocarbon always enables a jump up for strength. If you aren’t familiar with this spot, or if you haven’t fished it in the Winter, be prepared for the cold. Not only is there a near lack of direct sunlight but, the canyon lies on the edge of the Middle Park inversion where temperatures in Winter can average 10 colder than upriver in Silverthorne.
Flies: Big bead heads: Tungsten Split Case Green Drake, Hare’s Ear, Tungteaser, Pheasant Tail, Stubby Stone, Twenty Incher, Rubberlegs, Psycho Prince, Mr Peacock Ice, Flossy Worm. The Smaller Stuff: Split Case BWO, Barr’s BWO, Juju Baetis, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Winter Baetis, Black Beauty, Rojo Midge, Otter Egg. Streamers: Silver Bullet, Slumpbuster, Sculpzilla, Tungsten Thin Mint
Floaters should note: The river volume on this stretch of water can change on an infrequent schedule and often. 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.
Colorado River Above Kremmling (Parshall)
|Flow: 200+/- cfs. @ Parshall
|Conditions: The reports are starting to improve along the stretch through the Breeze unit near Parshal. Not only has the weather improved slightly as we turn the corner on winter but, the fish have been more active too. Tandem nymph rigs focused on Midges and Baetis along with a the odd egg and San Juan Worm imitation have been most productive. We also like to lead with something a little larger like a mid-sized searching nymph or a larger stone imitation, followed with your choice of the Baetis/Midge imitations. There has been a good to decent amount of surface activity the past week or two now. Most days that seem to be right around noon, with a little variance before or after that depending on temperatures. Midge patterns in #20,22 in shades of Gray, Cream and Olive have been fairly consistent. Look for fish to be holding in the tail-outs of pools and runs early in the day and then moving up towards the middle part to the head of those runs mid-day in order to feed on drifting nymphs or rise to those emerging Midges. 5 or 6x mono should do the trick and strikes have been subtle, we prefer to use yarn for an indicator under these conditions, as it tends to be more sensitive to these lighter strikes than the “bobber” style. Crowds have been very light the past few weeks and this may be a good alternative to the traffic jam on the Blue.
Flies: Winter Baetis, RS-2, WD-40, Big Bear Baetis, Biot Midge, Pure Midge Larva, Tube Midge, Miracle Nymph, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Two Bit Hooker Red or Olive, Buckskin Caddis, San Juan Worm Patterns, Juju Baetis Red or Purple, Zebra Midge, Small Eggs, Pat’s Rubber Legs, CDC Adult Midge, Sprout Midge, CDC Hanging Midge
Colorado River Pumphouse to Dotsero
|Flow: 560 cfs.
|Conditions: After a mild start to February, the latter half of the month returned to winter. Bringing with it the normal inconsistency for this time of year. There is probably another month of that to come as spring snow storms pass through and the river temperatures rise and fall accordingly. Good days can be had followed by days of frustration. We have already seen some moments of success both for wade, as well as float anglers. A combination of the warmer weather last month and the increase in flows due to Blue River releases cleared the channel of ice from bank to bank, making access for the moment wide spread. Action has been day-to-day, with a wide range of results. This is typical for this time of year and fishing this stretch often lags behind other rivers in the area, most years not providing steady results until early April. That being said, don’t be surprised if you have great fishing one day and find it slow on your next. Keep in mind that winter is not over just yet and there will be additional snow soon that can affect the action for several days. However, we may have seen the last of the heavy ice that accumulates on the river in the dead of winter. Work on the whitewater park is nearing completion, with the major structural improvements finished. Expect to see additional site improvements along the bank wrapped up by the middle part of March. The road into Pumphouse is being maintained this year due to that improvement project requiring access. However, even with plowing this can get rather slick with a layer of snow and ice packed on, so two wheel drive vehicles – enter at your own risk. The Trough road is maintained through the Winter, as is the county road into Radium so, check out the access along those areas, as well. Nymph rigs with a mix of small Baetis and Midge patterns trailed behind Stonefly and Egg patterns would be a good start. Start out fishing the tail outs of runs and pools where you will generally find fish holding early. As it warms during the day look for fish to move towards the center or head of runs to forage on drifting nymphs.
Flies: Tungsten Split Case BWO, Tungsten Psycho BWO, Juju Baetis, Two Bit Hooker, Zebra Midge, RS-2, Rubberlegs, Beaded Pheasant Tails, Beaded Hares Ears, Hot Wire Prince, Small Copper John in Red, Green or Black, Tungsten Prince, Rubber Leg Mr Peacock, Miscellaneous Streamers: Sculpzilla, Silver Bullet, Space Invader, Beldar, Bead Head Buggers in Black or White
Colorado Below Glenwood Springs
|Flow: 1,600 cfs.
|Conditions: Conditions below Glenwood Springs are wide open, without the slightest hint of ice to be found. Water clarity is as good as it gets on this part of the river, with at least 4 feet, even greater at times. Nymph fishing has been fair to good depending on the day. The mild weather has made this an attractive destination with out the crowds of a tailwater. A wide variety of patterns have been taking fish including smaller sized imitations for Baetis and Midges, along with some steady action on beaded searching nymphs in sizes 12-16. And deep drifting egg patterns has been fairly consistent with those anglers that have been able to get into steady action. With water conditions being so clear we recommend dropping down a size of tippet or two and fish with 4x and smaller. Regardless of the action, if you have a jones to get out on the water at this time of year and don’t want to put on so many layers that you can’t move, this is the place to go.
Flies: Mr Peacock Ice, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungteaser, Bead Prince, Hot Wire Prince, Twenty Incher, Tungsten Pheasant Tail, Bead Hares Ear, Barr’s Emerger BWO, Two Bit Hooker, Split case BWO, Tungsten Psycho BWO, Poison Tung, Zebra Midge, San Juan worm, Eggs
Arkansas River Above Buena Vista
|Flow: 173 cfs. @ Granite
|Conditions: Typically at this time of year, the upper river is a no go. However, with a combination of some mild weather and an above average amount of water being released from Twin Lakes, which is keeping the channel clear of ice, there is actually some opportunity to fish the upper river. Although, the action may be less than consistent. We would recommend focusing your efforts in the area from the confluence of Lake Creek, that’s in Balltown at the intersection on Highways 24 and 82, down to the town of Granite. The river above there up into the popular Hayden Meadows area is more ice than not at the moment. However, the release from Twin into Lake Creek will have a near tailwater effect and will provide the best chance at finding fish. Focus your efforts on the tail-outs of pools and runs where fish will hold in the slower currents to conserve energy during the winter months. As the day warms up look for them to move towards the middle to top of those runs to feed on drifting nymphs. A double nymph rig focused on Baetis and Midge imitations will be a solid set-up along with smaller sized searching nymphs. Again, this is a low percentage destination at this time of year but, if you want to give it a try there is plenty of open water. You certainly won’t have any crowds to compete with for a while.
Flies: Two bit Hooker, Zebra Midge Black or Purple, Poison Tung, Biot Midge, Medallion Midge, Tube Midge, Beaded Hares Ear, Hot Wire Prince, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Copper John, CDC Hares Ear, Twenty Incher, Mr Peacock, RS-2, Flossy Worm, Pure Midge Larva
Arkansas River Salida Area
|Flow: 395 cfs. @ Salida
|Conditions: An early season water transfer is bringing flows higher than normal for this time of year, providing levels that are still a great flow for wade anglers and will allow for easier navigation for floaters. Mild weather and decent flows continue to make this a good mid-winter option, maybe one of the best overlooked options at that. Mid-day weather conditions have been down right comfortable for the prime time on the river. Early in the day look for fish to be holding in the slower, deeper runs and pools towards the tail-outs and adjacent to seams. As the day warms up, so does the possibility of food in the form of drifting nymphs. As that happens shift your attention towards the middle of the run, on up towards the head where fish may move into feeding lanes. Midges will be most active but, Blue Winged Olives are just about ready to begin their emergence starting in the lower basin. It is also that time of year for Stoneflies to be molting, which leads to an increase in drifting nymphs as well. Tandem nymph rigs offer the most productive approach and we like to mix it up with a variety of Beaded Stonefly and searching nymphs in the lead, followed up with either a small Baetis or Midge Larva imitation.
Flies: Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Prince, Beadhead Hare’s Ear, Red or Chartreuse Copper John, Hot Wire Prince, Tungteaser, Tungstone, Biot Epoxyback Stone, Iron Sally, Zebra Midge Black or Purple, Rojo Midge, Poison Tung, Barr’s Emerger BWO, Juju Baetis, Loop Wing Emerger, Split Case BWO, Tungsten Psycho BWO,
Roaring Fork River at Glenwood Springs
|Flow: 550 cfs.
|Conditions: Great things are starting to happen out west. Although it is still inconsistent, we have had our first Baetis activity of the season early this week. As a sign of that inconsistency, Monday was all midge activity while Tuesday was a good mix of Baetis and Midges. Early mornings are still a little on the sluggish side, with the action starting somewhere around 11 am and lasting until about 3 pm, or a little later. The key to it seems to be the sun on the water. Fish are still holding in the deeper water, with the best action coming on nymphs deep. However, some days there will be fish feeding on emergers just below the surface with a few taking off the surface. Look for water temps to hit 38-40 degrees for the bite to heat up on the nymphs, and monitor the surface activity from there. This is good winter option that doesn’t qualify as a tailwater, particularly in the lower reaches o around Glenwood but, also up through Carbondale and Basalt as well. The upstream access have been better later in the day as water temps heat up. Eggs and small to medium sized searching nymphs fished in tandem with Baetis and Midge imitations, along with some Caddis Larva have been productive . Look for runs and pools where the water offers some depth and the current has a chance to slow down on provide some holding water.
Flies: Twenty Incher, Tungteaser, Stubby stones, Beaded Pheasant Tail, Standard Pheasant Tail, Pat’s Rubber Legs, Tungstone, Copper Johns, Hares Ear, Mr. Peacock, CDC Prince, Split Case BWO, Barr’s BWO Emerger, RS 2, Tungsten Psycho May, Hot Wire Prince, Two Bit Hooker, Juju Baetis, Biot Midge, Zebra Midge, Black Beauty and a variety of Eggs.
South Platte River, Middle Fork
|Flow: ice cfs.
|Conditions: Not much of anything going on in the Middle Fork during this time of year. Mostly ice and wind along the tribs of the Platte. Your better bet in the valley may be the tailwater stretch below Spinney.
Flies: Chartreuse Copper John, Rainbow Warrior, Egg Patterns, Hot Wire Prince, Beaded Flash Prince, Tungteaser, Tung Psycho May, Zebra Midge, Poison Tung, Rainbow Warrior, Autumn Splendor, Slumpbuster, Sparkle Bugger
South Platte, Dream Stream
|Flow: 50 cfs.
|Conditions: Low and clear flow, as is the norm for the dead of Winter. It is still a little early for the spawn to be underway but, there are reports of some larger lake fish moving up from 11 Mile already. Sight fishing under these conditions will help bring your success rate up, along with limiting your need to be in the water. As low as the water is now you should be able to reach most drifts without having to wade very much. Definitely a technical time of year to fish the “Dream”, you’re going to need to bring your “A” game. Tandem nymph rigs using 6-7x tippet with a small or no indicator is standard. Small Midge pupa, larva and emergers along with Baetis imitations are going to be the most consistent. Use a stealthy approach not only when walking up to the bank, but also when casting. Move slowly along and sight your fish before casting blind and risking spooking a fish you may not have know was there.
Flies: Loop Wing Emerger, Pure Midge Larva Black or Pale Olive, Black Copper John #22, Juju Baetis, Buckskin, Desert Storm Chartreuse, Tube Midge, Midge Biot, UV Emerger, Poison Tung, Zebra Midge Black/Silver, Barr’s Emerger BWO, RS2, Poxybiot Nymph, Egg Patterns, Cap’n Hook, Disco Midge
Williams Fork River Below Dam
|Flow: 45 cfs.
|Conditions: Action has been relatively good for this winter tailwater. Flows have dropped this week to what we consider to be on the low side for productivity. This is a smaller sized river and you will find fish still feeding but, they will be getting sensitive to movement and pressure from anglers. Look for fish to be sheltering in runs and pools that offer some depth and a little less current. Baetis and Midge imitations fished together in a tandem nymph rig are a good place to start. There are still some fish taking the occasional egg and San Juan Worm patterns tied thin, that are being used as part of two fly set-up. Small tippet is going to offer a better presentation at these flow, 6x in mono and 5-6x in fluoro. As the cold weather settles back in and snow covers the trail, traffic should remain light until the latter part of February. The mild weather earlier in the winter had made for some busier than normal winter traffic.
Flies: Poxy Biot Nymph, Buckskin, Flossy Worm, Little Brown Bug, Two Bit Hooker, Flash Back Pheasant Tail, Split Case BWO, 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
|Conditions: Mostly ice but, not sure on the thickness/safety of it yet. We’ll get back to you on conditions as it firms up.
Spinney Mountain Reservoir
|Conditions: Ice. The Park is closed for the season.
Delaney Buttes Lakes
|Conditions: North and East are both frozen, with half of South covered. If you are into the hard water, this is a good place to check it out.
Flies: Jigs in White, Pink and Red