Black Friday: Fishing Is Better


I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving yesterday and that you got to spend it with family and friends. The weather up in the Mountains is sunny and low 40’s giving us some excellent angling opportunities. The midge bite on the Eagle River is solid and fish seem to be willing to play from noon until 230.  Once the sun starts to dip the bite slows down and temperatures drop quickly. Reports coming from the Arkansas below Pueblo have been great with a lot of fish being caught on the tailwater section. This is a very popular winter fishing location so do not be surprised to see a parking lot full of cars. Do not get discouraged if this is the case. There is plenty of water to explore if you are willing to walk down stream. Nymphing is going to be your best bet whether you are fishing a tailwater or freestone. Your lead bug can be a bit bigger and have some flash on it so it catches the thanksgiving-leftover-turkey-sandwich_4841eye of those pesky trouts but your trailing bug should be something “midgey” and tiny. Try to pay attention to bug activity if you can. While nymphing deep can be productive during the winter months do not overlook fish holding higher in the water column eating emerging insects. Take advantage of this warm weather and hit the river. Make that turkey sandwich to go.


Weekend Fishing Outlook: Colorado

Vail Ski Resort opens tomorrow so all the skiers and snowboarders will surely be packing the I-70 frying_pan_river_wintercorridor to hit the hill for opening weekend. If that isn’t reason enough for you front ranger anglers to stay on the front range our rivers up here on the hill are pretty much frozen. Cold temps over the last couple weeks have really shrunken our rivers up high and with more snow in the forecast I wouldn’t expect them to open up much in the near future. For now your best bet is going to be fishing tailwaters. Although things have been cold the fishing reports coming from the Blue, the Frying Pan and the South Platte have all been good. The fish have moved into their winter lies and are primarily feeding on midge imitations.  Bobber fishing the deep holes with an egg and a midge is probably going to be your set-up until next April. Don’t be afraid to try some wacky patterns out there, I found a bunch of off the wall midge patterns in the 25 cent bin a few years ago and they absolutely rocked the fish. Of course they didn’t last long but it goes to show that throwing odd flies can sometimes be the hot ticket. If you are heading up the hill to ski Vail is opening 540 acres of terrain and expected to open more with the big system that is “supposed to dump 4 feet bro.” We’ll see about that.

Bobber with an Eagle River Brown before it shrunk in size.
Bobber with an Eagle River Brown before it shrunk in size.



November Fly Fishing: Colorado Report

Winter made a heavy entrance this week dropping temps as well has snow around the state. This was definitely a rude awakening considering the weather we had leading up to this arctic blast. Time to focus on the egg and midge game as we move into the cold weather. The egg is a great attractor pattern even if fish are not keyed in on it, I feel like the egg/bead draws attention to the trailing fly behind. Which should be a midge or a super micro BWO pattern. Pattern below tied by my good friend Bob Streb

Bobber Midge

If you plan on hitting the river this weekend find a tailwater and go to it. The Blue and Frying Pan are safe bets and you should be able to stick a few on dries later in the day as the midges come off. Be sure to have a large variety of midge colors and sizes. Most of the fish have moved into lies with less current and can have a very long time to inspect your offerings. Sometimes switching from a black midge to a brown midge can make a huge difference. Hard to believe but fish are professional bug eaters and know exactly what they are looking at as it floats by. Be careful on the roads, it seems that every year when we get our first snow everyone forgets how to drive in it.


November Fly Fishing Outlook


I will be out of town for the rest of the week so I figured a post for a fly fishing report might give you some insight for Colorado fishing this week. Cooler temperatures are expected for the beginning of the week and warming back up to the 50’s by the weekend. We have gotten some snow in the high country and as this melts with warming temps it will cool down some drainages significantly and could also turn the water off color. This will slow fishing down and have fish keying in on smaller midge imitations. If you have the time and can get to a tailwater now is a good time to do it. The water temps should be more stable and the insect activity more consistent. Recent reports on the Yampa River below Stagecoach have been good with a lot of fish being caught in deeper riffles and pools. Nymphing will be your primary technique although you might be able to find a few rising in slower pools. As most tailwaters the fish on the Yampa are very educated and can be picky at times. For this reason it is good to cary a number of midge and mayfly patterns in various colors. Lately Gray RS2 emergers, WD-40s, Miracle Nymphs and Scuds have been working well on the Yampa. wd-40Try not to have cement feet especially if the crowds are light. Although the section below Stagecoach is small fish hold in all types of water and can be caught in a lot of places. If for some reason the water gets off color for a few hours try moving Streamers in some of the deeper pockets. Some of my best days on the Yampa have been with small Olive and Natural colored streamers. You will only get a few shots in one hole so moving is a must if your choose this route. Dress warm it can get real cold when the sun dips behind the hill.

Colorado Fly Fishing Outlook

Choosing where to fish this weekend is a tough call. Fly Fishing around Colorado seems to be great everywhere so picking one spot is going to come down to personal preference. The Brown Trout on the Dream Stream section of the South Platte River have come in and are being targeted heavily by many anglers. This is a good time to hook a very large lake run fish but you will be also fighting large crowds. If you have never been to the Dream Stream this is a good time to see some amazing lake run Brown Trout in this small meandering stream. Be prepared to change your flies often and share elbow room with other anglers.

South Boulder Creek Fly Fishing

With the big fish drawing a lot attention many other South Platte hot spots are seeing less traffic and fishing very well. Reports on 11 mile as well as Cheesman Canyon are good with fish eating BWO’s, midges and streamers.  Fish are still eating off the surface in these areas but are getting picky on what they will take. Nymphing the faster water with prospecting nymphs trailed by a midge or BWO emerger is working well when fish are not keyed in on the surface. The Browns are spawning so give them some space if you see them paired up on their redds.


Taylor River Report: Colorado

Cottonwood Pass

We spent last weekend in Crested Butte as a last minute getaway and in between family time I snuck in a couple hours on the Taylor River. The weather was perfect for Taylor River standards, for a place that can be brutally cold and windy, the sun was bright and the wind was variable. There were some anglers in the parking lot and others filtered in as the day prolonged but most of them stayed above the bridge sight fishing for the bright red sides. Personally I enjoy fishing the faster water below the bridge, this allows me to get away from the crowds and also allows me to fish a little heavier tippet. I started off with a small olive sculpzilla and moved it through the deep pockets hoping for a big brown to charge out and inhale the small green streamer but there was no response. There was a sporadic blue wing olive hatch with some midges mixed in so I snipped off the streamer rig and set up a bobber. Refusing to tie on 2 micro flies I opted for an Olive Pats Rubber Leg as my lead fly and trailed a gray RS2 off the back. To my surprise the first fish I landed was on the Pats. For a river that is known for fishing micro flies it was refreshing to land a nice Rainbow Trout on a big ugly Rubber Leg. I have found that constantly changing your flies plays a big role in success when fishing heavily pressured Tailwaters. As my fishing time came to an end I had changed flies several times and had success nearly every time I switched my flies. My top flies were; Olive Pats Rubber Leg, Olive Ju Ju Baetis, Peach Bead, Gray RS2 and Brown Pheasant Tail.

Taylor River Rainbow Trout

This is a great time of year to be on the Taylor River, the flows are hovering around 100 CFS which is a great wading level. The Brown Trout are starting their spawn so fishing eggs is an effective way to trick opportunistic Rainbows lined up behind spawning beds. An egg is also a good underwater indicator in clear water. If you head to the Taylor in the next week or two don’t be afraid to go big with some of your nymphs, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Colorado Fly Fishing Report: September

Get out there and enjoy the fall weather. I you live in Colorado you know that this is one of the best times of year to be on the water. The Aspens are starting to turn and the tempature is absolutely perfect. The streamer bite has picked up and the Brown Trout are aggressively chasing downShoot_Blue chicken feathers stripped off the bank. Find a buddy with a boat and Float from Pump House down on the Upper Colorado River. Throw your streamers towards the bank and other river structures and move your bugs down stream. The water clarity is good so you will be able to watch big butterballs chase your fly patterns. To me this is very exciting and can lead to a lot of shouting, “eat it, eat it, eat it.” If the wearer turns overcast be sure to have a dry fly rod rigged up with a Blue Winged Olive Pattern. The BWO’s have been a main staple in the trouts diet lately so be sure to bring plenty of emerging, nymph and dry patterns. For those who what to stick around the front range the same as above applies. Of course jumping in a boat is not really an option but fishing pocket water with streamers is a good way to pull out some fish in water that is difficult to get a presentation in. Word on the street is that they are doing some work near the Dream Stream and it is turning the water off color. Construction apparently wraps up around 2 and it is taking the water about an hour to clear up. Shorten the leader and start moving big bugs.


Colorado Fly Fishing: Weekend Outlook


The cooler weather has the Brown Trout getting a bit more aggressive and Blue Winged Olives are starting to become the preferred insect on many drainages. Hopper dropper is still producing good numbers of fish on the Arkansas, Colorado and South Platte Rivers with small bead head patterns, like the Micro May, taking fish just below the surface. This is a good time of year to start moving streamers for Brown Trout in pre-spawn mode. Be sure to bring a range of colors and move your flies through all types of water; shallow riffles, deep pools, undercut banks, rock gardens and slack water. You will be surprised where a fish might inhale your streamer. Also be careful of spawning beds. There are reports of fish beginning to spawn in a few rivers so if you see a cleared off gravel bed, do not step in or around it. That is our future of fishing. I would choose one of these rivers if you haven’t fished them yet this summer.

Float the Upper Colorado – Pump House To Radium

Taylor – Catch and Release Section

South Platte – Cheesman Canyon

Get out there now summer is slipping away.

Woolly Bugger Rainbow

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

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.