Wiper fishing is an exercise in faith, especially from the shore. Casting into the wind from a rocky bank with only an eight weight and a Clouser Minnow will test even the best of fly casters. Wipers are considered to be a low-light fish, meaning they are most often found in the morning, evening and on cloudy and/or cool days. These ornate fish are beautiful hybrids of striped bass and white bass that the Colorado Division of Wildlife was kind enough to stock in many Colorado lakes and reservoirs. The wiper fly fisherman is hoping for a lot of good stuff to come together when pursuing these fish with the fly rod. The weather must be right, the wiper must be feeding and from the shore the fish must be cruising in a place where a shoreline fly caster can target the school of wiper.
The hardest part of fishing for wiper is finding the fish. This can be a daunting task as wipers are usually found in large reservoirs and lakes. Water temperatures must be ideal for pursuing these schooling fish that are in constant search of local baitfish known as shad. Shad are most times the key to finding wiper as huge schools of wiper will cruise the shorelines looking to bust up the next bait ball that comes by. At times you can see schools of wiper busting bait on the surface!
But perhaps the beauty of wiper fly fishing is its utter simplicity. All fly angler’s need to pursue this vigorous and salt water like fish is a sturdy eight weight fly rod, a reel with a quality drag and a handful of flies to imitate baitfish in hook sizes 2-4. Floating lines will get you deep enough most of the time but a sink tip is also a good idea. Clouser minnows tied in classic white and chartreuse combinations are often the most tried and true fly patterns for pursuing wipers.
Aurora Reservoir, Cherry Creek Reservoir, Standley Lake and Pueblo Reservoir are excellent places to pursue these beautiful fish. Wipers are sterile hybrids and do not reproduce so be sure to release all fish quickly and safely. If you are ever so lucky to hook one you will no doubt become a wiper junkie for life!
Downtown Brown…Stay Fishy my Friends…