Water flows are finally starting to level out in the high country and rivers are beginning to clear. Although most of them are still very high I would anticipate them being rock solid by next week. Good reports are coming from the South Platte drainage with water levels coming back down around 500 CFS. Caddis have become active as well as PMD’s and Kraneflies. As these flows continue to hover around 500 the fishing should get great and fish will start eating on the surface more consistently. If you choose to head to the South Platte over the weekend be sure to have plenty of caddis nymphs and emergers. The hot color has been green and chartreuse. If you find yourself in a hatch but cannot find many risers lighten up your nymph rig and try fishing emergers in shallow riffles and tail outs. The graphic caddis is a great pattern for hooking fish just below the surface. The Upper Colorado is still seeing good numbers of Salmon Flies around Pumphouse but the water levels continue to remain high. Fish are looking up along the banks but the heavier current is making fish difficult to land. If you haven’t witnessed a Salmon Fly hatch it is truly a marvel to see and worth the drive if you are up for it. Often times you will not see a lot of rising fish during this hatch so nymphing with a light rig along the banks will be a better producer. Summer is finally here and fishing will only continue to get better.
This might be your last weekend to hit your favorite Colorado Freestone River before another round of run off begins. Our recent cold snap that brought winter like conditions allowed time for our rivers to drop and clear over the last few days. Although the water temps also cooled down the fishing has remained solid and is getting better. Front Rangers take a peak at South Boulder Creek for some close to home fly fishing opportunities. For those who are willing to travel the Roaring Fork and Eagle River are both fishing well. Stoneflies, Caddis and Mayflies have been standard fare as well as streamer patterns. Focus on the soft seams and deeper pockets. The BWO’s have started to pop again and fish have been keyed in on them around 2 pm. A size 18-20 Parachute Adams should do the trick if you find a pod of steady risers. Otherwise Pat’s Rubber Leg trailed by a BWO emerger has been a hot set up all week on the Western Slope. Take advantage before the big run off begins. I have a feeling that warm temps are going to come quick and blow us off the river for a couple weeks.
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. There 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.