Colorado: Spring Dry Fly Fishing

We have finally reached the first day of spring and it certainly feels like it. Sunny and 60 in the high country with as much water as you want to fish. While the weather is still unsure what it wants to do, now is the time to take advantage of the warmer weather and unbelievable fly fishing conditions. Our freestone rivers have opened up significantly and you can find fish surfing in the shallow water eating Midges, Small Stones and Blue Winged Olives. While I am still seeing a lot of bobber rigs on the river there is certainly no need to nymph when rising fish are present. The best flies I have found over the last week have been larger Adult Midges as well as Emerging Midge imitations that ride in the surface film. The Blue WIngs are sporadic but when the fish key in on them a size 20 Adams is really all you need. On days when the surface bite is slow nymphing with larger Midge Larvae, Midge Emergers (RS2’s) and small Stones are excellent patterns to be presenting. There is no need to go real deep. A lot of fish have moved in to shallow slicks/ riffles and are suspended. Especially during the afternoon. The Roaring Fork, Eagle And Colorado Rivers are all fishing well and if you are looking for a reason to drive to the high country rising trout and warm weather is a good one. This short video segment was shot on the Eagle River last week and the fishing has continued to impress. With a front moving in over the next few days expect things to slow down a bit. But, once this front passes expect excellent fishing to return.  Fishing Reports on the Front Range are very similar with fish eating on the surface later in the afternoon with a real good nymph bite earlier in the day. Take advantage of the Spring fishing now run-off will be here before we know it.

Nymph Fishing: “That’s not even fly fishing”

When I first moved to Colorado I spent a fair amount of time fishing tailwaters and my favorite, at the time, was the Taylor and to this day I still really enjoy fishing the Taylor top to bottom. One particular year I rented a cabin for a couple nights and went on a solo trip to Almont, CO.  As you know getting to the Taylor early in the morning is often necessary to find a decent “spot” on the River. Well my spot is a little further down river from the ” Hog Trough”  so I posted up early and started nymphing the crystal clear water in front of me. All was going well and I was keeping the rod bent pretty consistently. Then around 10 am an older gentlemen perched up next to me, I am talking about 4 rod lengths next tome me and started to rig up. I figured the old bugger was just going to analyze the run and move on. Nope he started casting right next to me. Fair enough I understand that it is a busy river and what did I care, I was hooking plenty of fish and this guy was no harm. So I thought. Turns out that this fella was kind of a dick and start to give me grief about nymph fishing even though he was (poorly) casting a prince nymph anywhere he could land it and swinging it through about 6 inches of water. His buddy was fishing the other side of the river casting small dry flies into insanely turbulent water and having no luck. I stayed true to my bobber set-up and continued to hook trout in can-of-wormsfront of these “experts.” Finally the two got together and started to have the usual conversation, How are things going? what are they eating etc.. I could hear their entire conversation as I continued to Nymph. I heard his buddy say ” oh well what he is doing is not even fly fishing, he might as well be using worms.” I bit my tongue and just as their conversation was over my bobber danced and I laced into a big Rainbow Trout. The fish danced all through the water jumping and splashing until I successfully netted the trout (thank god because I don’t think I would have lived it down if I had lost it). My audience watch as I let the fish swim out of my net and with a smile on my face I looked up and asked ” do you guys want some worms?”

I bring this story up because it seems that fly fishing has become all about how you are fishing. For trout, dry fly and streamer techniques seem to out-weight the common nymphing practice and if you do happen to catch a fish of a lifetime on a nymph anglers turn a cold shoulder. For Steelhead and Salmon it is all about the swing I see hash tags on people’s images #swingorgohome and if you are nymphing for either of the above mentioned you might be cast straight into hell.

I do not care how you choose to fish whether it is fly fishing, live bait or spin gear, in fact I have done all three and like all of them. I do prefer the feel of a fly rod but I will still be your friend if you choose the latter. I hope as anglers we can move away from how you catch fish and look at it as FISHING. We all (well most) started with a worm and a bobber, I am pretty sure your parents didn’t have you throwing a snap t and swinging for your first sunfish. It is all about having fun let’s make sure to keep it that way.


Steelhead: Fall Run

I posted this video trailer from Todd Moen on our Facebook Page yesterday and thought it wold be worth another share. This short piece about Fall Steelhead Fishing captures the intensity of the chase. Steelhead fishing is an addictive addition to Fly Fishing and can completely consume your entire life. I was on the path to “Steelhead Junkieism” when I was in my 20’s but couldn’t afford to continue the chase. To this day Steelhead play a large role in my fly fishing path and I will always have a great deal of respect for these beautiful fish. ” The tight line grab…. usually happens when you most expect it or least expect it.” 

Fall Run *trailer* by Todd Moen from Todd Moen Creative on Vimeo.