Colorado Fly Fishing Forecast: March

If you have been spending your time on the ski hill this spring and are looking for some new action, dig out the waders and get on the water. Tailwater Rivers, like the Blue and Frying pan, as well as Freestones, like the Eagle and Roaring Fork are fishing great.  This is a great time to catch rising fish in slow water and find aggressive Browns in fast pocket water. hookedupBut, with great fishing comes heavier crowds. I would advise anglers looking for a spot to fish this weekend to get out earlier than you have been. Although the best fishing has been 11am through the afternoon. There are a lot of guided trips getting out earlier and crowding the water. If you do find that your favorite spots have multiple trucks on them don’t get discouraged. Go explore a different part of the river and try a new technique. I find that when the river is crowded it is best to find pocket water and hit all the fishy spots with streamers. You will be amazed at what you will find. Fish that live in these areas do not get the same amount of pressure and tend to be very aggressive. This can also take you out of your element and make you worked harder for your fish and tune up your angling skills.

Egle River Rainbow TroutHot flies have been many BWO nymphs like the Micro May and Bars Emerger as well as RS2’s and JuJu Baetis. If you find a pod of risers a Parachute Adams has been taking a lot of trout rising in slow water. If that gets refused a midge cluster will do the trick. As far as streamers go big and black bugs like the Sex Dungeon and Sculpzilla have been getting a lot of looks. Have fun out there and try exploring new water.

Weekend Outlook: Colorado Fly Fishing Forecast

Spring is definitely trying to make it’s way into the state and with today being the first day of spring I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAguess it’s here. According to the weatherman there is a fast moving front bringing snow and rain to the mountains and front range Friday night. Why does crap weather always see m to land on the weekend? Anyway, as far as fishing goes you cannot go wrong by just getting out there. The big midges and BWO’s are hatching, the rainbows are paired up ready to spawn and fish are feeding heavily on a variety of bugs. I have been flirting with the idea of Floating the Blue below Green Mountain Reservoir for the past couple weeks, maybe this will be the weekend I pull the trigger. The flows have been steady around 770 CFS for the last couple weeks and fishing should be great if you can hit a warm day. Or it might suck. As they say you never know until you go.  Look for risers in the afternoon, I have been seeing a lot of fish looking up around 2 o’clock. It might be a fun time to try a Tenkara Rod on skinny water. Hell, it’s Spring get out and go fishing it’s all good.

Brown Trout Eating BWO's
Brown Trout Eating BWO’s

Drift Boat or Raft : Pros and Cons

clackacraft_WARight out of the gate there is no question that a Drift Boat is more comfortable to fish out of than a raft with a fishing frame. Lets face it, a drift boat is made with fly fishermen in mind. Everything from the hard bottom, wide beam, knee braces and rod holders caters to those who fish. The only problem with a drift boat is that they are not as forgiving as a raft. Which is fine if you are constantly navigating wide slow meandering rivers like the Colorado or Big Horn. What you cannot do with a drift boat is drop it down into a canyon and row through narrow fast moving rivers, with large rock gardens and big rapids.  Both watercraft are great but if I had to choose one for floating Colorado Rivers it would be a raft. Here is why…Row

A raft is extremely versatile and can be as intricate or simple as you want to make it. Most of the frames come apart easily allowing the boater to remove unwanted weight or switch from a fishing machine to a family fun floater. Rafts are very durable and packable. The frames come apart and the boat will roll up making it ideal for canyon floats where you have to pack in.

A lot of the rivers in Colorado are fast moving bodies of water that can have some tricky rapids and rocky shoots. A lot of these rivers also have tremendous fishing if you can get down them. The only safe way is with a raft and experienced oarsmen.

nrs_otterAs a raft owner I have been in a lot of fishing set ups that are great and others that are not so great. My favorite is the NRS Otter with a Downriver Frame. It is a beefy setup that can get down whatever you put in front of it. In lower water it can get snagged on some shallow gravel bars but I have found that to be common in a lot of rafts. A good setup right out of the box is the Outcast Pac 1300 raft. Super lightweight and a bit narrower than the NRS, the Pac 1300 can take on skinny low water with ease. the frame comes in 3 parts and is easily removable.

Photo Courtesy of Outcast

However you choose to get down the river make sure you stay safe with all the PFD’s, throw bags and First Aid equipment. Float season has started here in the Mountains so get out there and enjoy all these waterways.

Weekend Outlook: Colorado Spring Fishing Conditions

Dust off the boat and go float. The ice is off the Roaring Fork & Colorado and the fishing is great.

bluebusThe word on the street is that the big midges are hatching on the Roaring Fork and stretches of the Lower Colorado. This is a great time of year to catch fish on the surface with bigger midge and BWO patterns.  If you miss the rising fish go deep with some bigger stones like the 20 incher or Girdle Bug as your point fly. The warming water temps have bigger bugs moving around and fish have been keyed in on them on certain days. I have been throwing streamers and catching a lot of fish tight to the bank in faster pocket water. I have tried several different streamer patterns and colors but the most successful has been a single black sculpzilla. black_sculpzillaThe longer days are making for great afternoon hatches and many fish are rising in slow shallow pools. Midges are still dominating the hatch scene but I am also seeing big BWO’s mixed in. When this has happened a Parachute Adams has been my best dry pattern. I have heard mixed reports on the Upper Colorado (Pumphouse – Rancho) although it is floatable the water temps maxed out around 35-36 a few days ago and fishing was slow. On the other hand, last week the reports were red hot on the Upper C. Wherever you go have fun and thanks for reading.

Weekend Outlook: Fly Fishing Forecast


All you anglers on the front range willing to drive I would find a river on the Western Slope and go to it. Fishing has been really good up here in the Mountains and it just might be worth the drive. Crowds have been a bit thicker due to good to great fishing conditions. brown_TThere are a lot of guide trips out there so if you see a guide give him some room. Big midges and small stones are catching a lot of fish under the surface and we are seeing fish rise in slower pools around 1pm. Black streamers have been working well in the pocket water on the Eagle River as well as on the Upper Colorado.  Streamer fishing is a great way to explore new water and find aggressive trout. If you are into a float, Pump House to Two Bridges is open with light crowds and plenty of water. The Lower Colorado might be off color so check the reports if you plan on going that far west. I saw that the weather in the city is supposed to reach 70 on Saturday so if you cannot make it up the hill try looking for Carp on the South Platte. Spring is on its way take advantage of it.

Colorado Weekend Fishing Forecast

The fishing reports around Colorado are all positive. The state wide snowpack is above average and with the recent warm weather fishing has been decent all around. The weekend weather is coming into play once again as a system brings snow and rain across the state Thursday thru Saturday. If you can handle a little weather I would pick a river and go. A lot of Tailwater Rivers are flowing above average and are a safe play for consistent fishing. If you are willing to roll the dice, try a freestone like the Eagle or Roaring Fork and pick apart the slower water. This is a good time of year to start using bigger nymph patterns as your lead fly. An egg is also and effective attractor pattern but I sometimes feel like that is cheating. Try using a prince or a 20 incher as your lead fly and see how it fishes. If you are getting blanked you can always go back to the trusty glo bug.



The Rainbow Trout are in pre spawn mode and should be chowing aggressively. If you see fish paired up in shallow water give them their space and stay away from their Redds.

Thats A Spawner. Don't Be That Guy.
Thats A Spawner. Don’t Be That Guy.
"They Don't Spawn After 12"
“They Don’t Spawn After 12”

We saw a fella fishing to spawning fish one day on the Eagle River. We politely mentioned that the fish were spawning in that particular area and continued to float by. The dude looked up with crazy lethal weapon eyes, glanced at his watch and said ” They don’t spawn after 12.” We were speechless. It is getting to be that time of year when the rivers really start to come to life. If you are sick of staring at the bobber, try some dries or shorten that leader and throw a streamer. Have fun out there.

Fly Fishing Colorado: February

The warmer weather has stuck around and opened up a lot of water along the front range as well as in the mountains. The weekend weather is bringing cooler temps and snow back into the state. If you haven’t made it to the Mountains in a few weeks it might be a good time to hit the Roaring Fork or the Frying Pan. The bigger bugs are moving around on the Roaring Fork and the water levels are perfect on the Frying Pan. The warmer temps have opened up a lot of water on the upper Roaring Fork and if you are willing to hike you could get away from the weekend crowds. This is also a great time of year to witness some big midge hatches on the Roaring Fork. Some of these midge hatches can raise nearly every fish in the river and makes for excellent dry fly fishing. As always the Frying Pan will produce fish on midges, eggs and mysis shrimp. If you are looking for some dry fly action the flats are alway a good option. Here is a short video of a midge hatch on the upper Roaring Fork during in the late winter a few years ago.

Downstream Hookset: Effectively Hook More Trout

“Sweep the leg Danielson” is a common phrase in my boat. After watching too many clients jerk the rod upstream when they got a strike, I had to come up with something crafty. Jerking the rod upstream is better than doing nothing but not as effective as sweeping your rod downstream when you have a strike. Granted you cannot always do a downstream hook set, especially if you are in the back of a boat. This generally ends up with you hitting the oarsmen in the head. Never a good feeling on either end. When the time comes and your bobber dances or your dry fly is suddenly sipped off the surface, a downstream hook set will pin the fly in the corner of the fishes mouth. This results in better hookups and increases your chances of landing that fish you’ve been working for all day. Kirk Deeter From field and stream displays a simple demonstration in this video.

Moon Phases: Effects On Trout Fly Fishing

Does the moon phase effect trout fly fishing? some say yes and others say no.  I happen to think that the moon does effect how fly fishing will be at certain times of day. A full moon is a marvel to look at. Big, bright and mysterious this giant rock reflects the suns light and makes us all crazy for a night each month. Sometimes twice in one month. Anyone know what that is called?full_moon For a trout this is a giant flashlight that lets them feed all night long. The fish are protected by the darkness of night but have enough visibility to swim into the shallows and gorge themselves on aquatic invertebrates. In the event of a full moon I find it is best to sleep in and go out to breakfast. Chances are that trout are not going be hammering your flies early in the morning. Unlike us who gorge on Chinese dinner and wake up hungry a trout will wait until later in the day to eat aggressively. Try going to the river later in the day and fish into the evening for better results. Stay and fish in the light of the moon if your old lady will let you. Watching a trout rise to a fly in the moon light is very very radical. Almost sounds like a country song. Keep this in mind as well if you are booking a guided trip. Ask your fearless Fly Fishing Guide if he/she thinks the moon phase will effect your early morning trout fishing.

Edwards Colorado Night Time Lapse from Joey Macomber on Vimeo.

Weekend Warm Up: Front Range Angling

There is certainly a lot of water opening up with the warmer daytime temps. Pictures of the Lower Colorado and Roaring Fork keep popping up on my Facebook feed and it all looks good. The Eagle River continues to open up through Edwards and Avon with some decent midge hatches later in the afternoon. Although all these rivers are fishing and looking well I would stick to the front range this weekend. With temps forecasted to be in the 60’s around the city I would stay out of the mountains and soak up the sun.

Screen shot 2014-02-12 at 8.19.14 AM

The warm temps will put some runoff into the rivers and make them a little off color and a bit higher. This is a good time to switch from tiny midges and throw some bigger flies like early stones or streamers. If you plan on getting out this weekend I would set and alarm and plan for heavier crowds. I am sure cabin fever has set in and anglers will be ready to take advantage of the weekend weather. Enjoy the sunshine and let us know how you do over the weekend.

Colorado Rainbow Trout
Colorado Rainbow Trout