Colorado Fly Fishing: Changing Seasons

The strong afternoon winds have always been a sign of spring here in Colorado. The mild temps have the snow melting and some green starting to pop along the I-70 corridor. With the warmer weather flows on many drainages have started to bump allowing us to fish heavier tippet and larger flies. Although this time of year can seem like easy fly fishing it is important to pay attention to what is happening around you.

Bigger flies are a pleasure to tie on after squinting at midges on all winter. But, don’t discount midges yet. Although there has been a shift to small stones and blue winged olives, midges are still a significant source in a trouts diet. Midge hatches are starting to happen sporadically throughout the day and the size of midges are getting larger. Fish will be rising to these larger midges and will not be too picky as long as you are close in size. Due to the sporadic hatches finding the right nymphing depth can be a challenge. Often time I find that I am nymphing too deep this time of year. I get stuck in the old dredge them up technique from the winter months. If you are having a little less luck in between hatches try lightening up your nymph rig. Fish will often be just beneath the surface eating emergers.

Eagle River Brown Trout March

Water clarity has been getting a tint of that spring green getting me excited to throw big streamers but water temp is still a little chilly to employ the streamer rod full time. I hate to say it but we are still a few weeks out until streamer mayhem begins. Until then keep tying those large bugs and be ready. As soon as the higher flows stabilize the meat stick will be a good go to technique. Right now stoneflies, both large and small, have been crawling around and getting the bobber to shake. A good selection of flies to have right now are the following. Pat’s rubber leg, micro-may, egg, worm, mercury midge, juju baetis and a handful of midge & BWO dries. Recently I have been running a Pat’s as my lead fly trailed by a midge and it has been doing well. Surprisingly the larger stonefly imitation has been getting more attention than the midges. Although bigger bugs are doing well a little deeper small bugs on the surface are the ticket to consistent hook-ups. Small Parachute Adams are an extremely versatile fly pattern that will pass as a larger midge and a small BWO dry. That is what the stout Brown Trout pictured above slurped.


Get out an fish! The weather, water and fishing has been great up and down the Eagle and Roaring Fork Valleys. Expect some cooler temps mid-week and of course look out for the afternoon winds. I would anticipate some April storms to bring us some more precipitation but, until then get out and enjoy.

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