fly fishing report

Deckers: Fly Fishing Report

Cody called me last week and said ” hey man you should think about coming down to Deckers for a day next week.” My reply was a simple one ” or you could come up here and we could fish the Eagle.” It was my turn to drive East so I crossed over two icy mountain passes to meet Cody in Evergreen.

Rainbow Trout While Fly Fishing At Deckers.
Rainbow Trout While Fly Fishing At Deckers.

After making a winding trip from Evergreen to Deckers we were surprised to see the parking lot full of anglers. We were hoping to find a less crowded river during our mid-week fly fishing excursion but it looked like every one had the same idea. Despite the overwhelming amount of Titan Rod Vaults in the parking lot we were able to find plenty of water with willing fish. The morning bite was slow but things picked up once the BWO hatch started to come off around 1pm. Most of the fish we hooked were suspended in deeper pools while some were in faster pocket water gorging themselves on emerging Baetis. The BWO hatch consisted of both dark and light bodied adults ranging in size from 18-16. Fish were willing to come to the surface but not consistently. If we had some cloud cover I am confident we would have seen a lot more fish poking their nose through the surface film.

Adult Blue Winged Olive

Due to the high sun, which made for excellent sun tanning, Nymphing was by far the most effective technique. A lot of fish were suspended in the water column so there was no need to go real deep with your nymph rig. The best bugs were flash back Barrs Emerger trailed by an flash back RS2 (Grey or Black). It was difficult to detect strikes by watching your indicator, I know it doesn’t make sense. You could see fish feeding below the surface and more times than not our bobbers would not move when a fish ate our stuff. So we resorted to watching our flies underwater as they approached the fish. This was very fun and at times frustrating. In certain areas we could watch the fish open it’s mouth and inhale our offerings while in other areas we watched for a flash as our presentation drifted past the fish. This was a key to our success. If we kept relying on the bobber I am sure our hook up numbers would have gone way down.

Deckers - South Platte River, Colorado Rainbow trout
Deckers – South Platte River, Colorado Rainbow trout

If you plan on fly fishing at Deckers,  there isn’t any reason to get there real early unless you want to have some solitude or it is the weekend or…maybe you should go early. A lot of anglers pealed out around 2 o’clock right when the fishing got good. I can only assume it was to beat the traffic in the city. The BWO hatch seemed strongest between 2-4 and it could have gotten better but we left the river trying to keep our wives at home happy.  If you have an overcast day I would expect to have some good dry fly fishing. While the Blue Wings didn’t come off in good numbers until the afternoon there was a decent midge hatch in the morning. As far as fly selection goes the early morning angler should have plenty of smaller 22-24 midge larvae patterns, seems strange with all the bigger bugs in the river but thats what they were keyed in on. Once the Blue Wings start rolling – Sparkle Wing RS2’s, Flashback Barrs Emergers, Micro Mays and more of the like are all good patterns to be throwing under an indicator. For the dry fly guy don’t leave home with out some basic Adams sizes # 20 #18 #16, Foam Back BWO Emergers, BWO Sparkle Duns as well as some Adult midge patterns such as the Griffiths Gnat and Roy Palms Special Midge Emerger. Thank you to Lateral Line Media for the photos and excellent outdoor videos.

Winter Fly Fishing The Arkansas River Tailwater

The Arkansas Tailwater is approximately two hours south of Denver. What you spend in driving time will definitely be made up with gin clear water and actively feeding fish through the cold winter months.

Fly fishing the tailwater of the Arkansas River in Pueblo during winter is certainly not a secret to the angling community, but with these tips you’ll see your hookup rate grow exponentially. My main fishing partner and cousin, Chris, is going to hate me for posting this blog but I’m going to give you all the pro’s tips to catching a trophy trout down on the tailwater!

pueblo hat trout

Beat the crowds: Anyone who has been down there knows the crowds, and subsequent etiquette with your fellow anglers, can be somewhat unpleasant. My best advice here is to park and fish at the Nature Center section of the river. You’re going to find some really great runs, and a couple of great weirs, and a fraction of the crowds. Sure, you could head east of Pueblo Blvd, but I’ve found the Nature Center offers the best balance between catching trophy sized trout as well as a lack of pressure that the upper sections receive.

 

Bring the midge patterns: During these winter months in The ‘Blo, I’ll fish a triple nymph rig and typically it’s a combination of different colors and different life cycles of midge patterns. So as an example, I’ll have my first two flies be a red zebra midge (represents a larva) and then an olive zebra midge (again, represents a larva), then trail those two flies with a purple medallion midge emerger. Now you’re going to want to think of the size of your flies—think size 20 and 22s. If you’re comfortable fishing size 24 hooks then more power to you, and congratulations, because you’re definitely going to get a fablack rojo garcia patternir amount of action. With all that said here are my go-to winter midge patterns:

  • Black Rojo Garcia Midge
  • Tungsten-bead Olive Zebra Midge
  • Brassie (size 22 or smaller)
  • Chocolate Foamback Emerger (size 22)
  • Dorsey’s Top Secret
  • Dorsey’s Medallion Midge
  • Bling Midge

Fish the structure: The tailwater is loaded with diamond shaped rock formations which offer great trout habitat. I call these boulder clusters “Baseball Diamonds”, with the bottom boulder being ‘home plate’, the one up and to the right ‘first base’, then ‘second’ and ‘third base’. The key is to fish every side of all four bases/rocks. Get your presentation behind each rock, get it to the side of each the rock, and definitely fish in front of each boulder as well! Use a nice high stick presentation so only your strike indicator is in the water while fishing these baseball diamonds for the best chance a trophy trout.

pueblo river rocks 2

 

This is a highly pressured fishery: With that in mind we want to give ourselves every advantage we can. During the winter months I always use 6x fluorocarbon tippet. It can absolutely mean the difference between hooking into a piggy and not hooking into one on a highly pressured river. Also, and as small as this may seem it definitely helps, but I use brown colored split shots. The river bed in the Arki varies between a light to dark brown coloration so camouflaging your weight will help stack the chips in your favor.

There is of course more than this to catching fish on this river, or any river for that matter, but keep these four pointers in mind and enjoy your next day out on the Arkansas Tailwater!

February Fishing Conditions: Colorado

I will be the first to shout that this weather is great and the sun feels nice on my face. But, to see people wearing shorts at the grocery store in February is concerning. The last couple weeks have been absolutely beautiful by April/ May standards but to get this heat up during what is supposed to be one of Colorado’s snowiest months could mean some bad things this summer. The water that is now melting down the hill and filling our rivers will be needed much more in August than at the current moment. Of course there is not a thing that we can do about it except hope for more moisture and cooler temps moving forward. Until that happens we might as well enjoy the warm snap of weather and get on the river.

CO_Rainbow_Trout

Fishing has been great and fish are feeding consistently throughout the day. You will still find the best fishing between 11 and 2pm and fish have been keying in on midges. Finding the right depth has been the most challenging aspect lately. Sporadic midge hatches have the fish up and down in the water column. One minute the fish seem on the surface then the next closer to the bottom. Constantly adjusting weight will help your hookup success. Best flies have been Barrs BWO nymph, Roy Palms Special Emerger, RS2’s and other midge variations.  Bigger pheasant tails, eggs and small worms have been good point flies in a two nymph rig setup. If you are itching to bust out the boat the Roaring Fork and Lower Colorado are wide open and at good winter flows for a float. Keep your eye out for the rising trout you we have been seeing some large heads in shallow water slurping on midges. Get out and enjoy the spring weather but secretly be praying for more snow.

Eagle River CO Rainbow Trout

Colorado Fly Fishing Report

Colorado Cutthroat

The only leaves left on the trees are the really tough ones that have a good grip. Thats right peak foliage is over and the temps have dropped into the 20’s at night here in the Mountains. I hate to say it but old man winter is knocking on the door. So what does this mean for our fishing tactics? I would be prepared for making several fly changes until you find the right one. Midges are now becoming a solid food source and the BWO’s are getting a little smaller. Keep your eyes to the water and see what is floating down the river. Best bet is midges in the morning then switch to BWO’s in the afternoon. The upper Colorado River is reporting a good BWO hatch mid day with fish hanging tight to the bank and looking up. The Roaring Fork is fishing well from top to bottom with fish eating large prospecting nymphs in faster water and small BWO’s/ PMD’s in slow deep runs. Both of these rivers are at excellent levels for both wade and float fishing. If you haven’t hopped in a boat yet this year now is a good time to do it. The Dream Stream is getting some lake run fish moving in as well as the crowds. I would anticipate a good number of anglers on the Dream Stream this weekend looking for Trophy Brown Trout. Mind the redds if you choose to fish this drainage and bring your beads. Nymphing with an egg midge combo is getting the bobber to shake.

Rainbow trout Release Colorado

The weather for this weekend looks warm all around the state, with temps in the 60-70’s in the high country and 80’s in the city. Be prepared to get cold if you come to the high country. Temps are not reaching their high until well after 12 noon and dropping as soon as the sun starts to dip behind the hills. Get out and enjoy our last stretch of fall.