Winter keeps creeping in, and with it open, still-water opportunities are beginning to wane. Waters above 10,000 feet in elevation are mostly capped with ice, and with each passing week, the elevation threshold for ice drops. While early ice can offer some of the best fishing of the year, it also can be thin. In the best case, if one crashes through, wet is all that will happen; in the worse cases, lives are lost. So when heading out on early ice, be prepared and consider never going out on less than 4 inches of hard, clear ice.
Nearby Officer’s Gulch is reported to be ice-capped but is not considered safe by one report. Dillon Reservoir is mostly open, with ice forming around the Snake River inlet. Expect to see early icers there, but venturing onto ice with open water nearby is dangerous. No reports of kokanee yet, but the trout fishing has been solid.Learn more »
River fishing continues to be outstanding at this time — all are low, clear and very wadable. While water temperatures have dropped into the high 30s and low 40s, the action has been good on most waters with standard nymphs or streamers. Cloudy days and evenings offer some good blue wing olive and midge hatches.
Right now is a great time to fish the lower Colorado River. It’s clear and fishing well, including some unusually good dry-fly fishing. Many are using streamers looking for aggressive brown, although there are some good-sized rainbows. Other good waters to fish include the Roaring Fork and Eagle rivers. Both are very wadable, making for a good day’s fishing on those warmer fall days.Learn more »
Rivers continue to be at their best in terms of flows, clarity and fishing. Look for better action in the afternoons as the waters warm slightly. Early and late in the day will be best for dry-fly action as midges and mayflies will be coming off at those times. Cloudy days will often see midday hatches. During the bright hours concentrate on the deeper runs with nymphs and attracter patterns, such as eggs. Streamer fishing should remain solid right up until the rivers start icing up.
For those looking to launch trailered boats, High Country options are becoming increasingly slim. South Park waters, other than Tarryall have closed their ramps for the season. Most are allowing float tubes only, nothing else. The same is true for Williams Fork Reservoir concerning boating. However, the fishing on most waters has been good, which should last for a couple more weeks until the waters start icing over.Learn more »
Ice fishing is just around the corner. There are a few reports of waters over 11,000 having partial or full caps — and even reports of a few anglers ice fishing on 2 to 3 inches of ice, marginal by many standards. Ice is on the way, so enjoy open water while you can.
There are a few closures of note. Spinney closes for the season Oct. 31. Williams Fork boat ramps are already closed for the season. The lower gate to Jefferson and the Sunset ramp at Granby Lake will be locked Nov. 1. Be aware that over the next month we can expect many ramps and high mountain roads to close for the winter. A call ahead can save a disappointing trip.Learn more »
River fishing continues to be excellent and should continue until we have a cold snap that starts icing things up. Tailwater sections and the lower Colorado and Roaring Fork often offer open-water opportunities most of the winter.
The Colorado from Parshall downstream has been offering good fishing with a variety of patterns. Midges and mayflies are the primary surface action, although attractor pattern continue to trigger strikes (consider terrestrials to be attractors at this time). Nymphing, especially with eggs or San Juan worms is effective. Fishing deeper water, especially when stained with streamers is a great tactic right now. That makes the lower Colorado and Roaring Fork great sections to fish when the weather is clear. As most river sections are in the 40s for temperatures, the best action is often in the afternoons once things have warmed slightly.Learn more »
With temperatures dropping, it won’t be long before folks start encountering iced-over waters. Until then, it’s a good time to enjoy some great fall fishing. As waters cool, fishing typically picks up as the fish feel an urge to fatten up as much as possible before nature puts a lid on their home.
Williams Fork Reservoir has been producing the occasional northern pike, but the best action has been trolling pop gear with a worm harness for rainbow trout. Run a second line with a small, bright spoon and you have a good shot at an occasional kokanee.Learn more »
Rivers and streams are running clear, low and fishing very well. With the cooling water temperatures, look for fish not in spawn to start moving to deeper runs in preparation for winter. Fishing is typically better in the afternoons and evenings after the waters have had a chance to warm. Streamers, especially woolly buggers, which can be dead drifted are effective under low light conditions. On cloudy afternoons expect to encounter some dry fly action from blue-wing olives and midges. Attractor patterns are also still effective.
Kokanee action remains hit or miss at Wolford Mountain Reservoir. Be aware that the boat ramp is scheduled to close Oct. 13. Trollers have been having good success on small rainbows.Learn more »
Ben Luck, suffering from hypothermia and altitude sickness, was airlifted to the U.S. embassy in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital, said Julia Klema, the sister of two Durango brothers, also among the kayakers.
Klema said her father, Tom, was notified of the rescue at 3 a.m. today. The search for the three men was coordinated by GEOS Alliance, an emergency-response service, which alerted her family of the men’s call for help on Monday.
Cooper Lambla and Charles King are the other members of the expedition. The men dropped off Sunday in Badakhshan National Park from where they were going to hike to the Muksu River for a five-day run.Learn more »
Fishing rivers in fall is second only to catching them just before spring runoff. Angler pressure is low, and the fish begin feeding heavily before winter. Plus, brown trout are getting increasingly aggressive with spawning just around the corner.
The Eagle River is running clear and fishing well. Morning has been best for dry fly action. Blue winged olives, midges and caddis are good choices, but don’t overlook ants when there’s a mild breeze. Streamers and egg patterns will become increasingly effective the next few weeks.Learn more »
Imagine spending 90 days kayaking 2,400 miles alone and without support on the two main tributaries to the lower Colorado River, with only enough gear that can be stuffed into the small boat, and being the first man to ever complete such a trip.
Bryan Brown, 57, of Los Angeles, Calif., recently completed the first ever source-to-mouth solo trip of the two primary tributaries that form the lower Colorado River, according to his own research, in just longer than four months.Learn more »
For the most part, the rivers continue to fish well and, short of an afternoon storm, are running clear. Increased flows on the Blue River below Dillon have made it more comfortable to fish and brought about a bit of a Mysis “hatch.” Keep in mind that with each passing week, brown trout will become aggressive and streamers will become increasingly effective. Fall is a great time for caddis, terrestrials and attractor patterns. Once we have a frost, the terrestrials will be less effective.
Williams Fork Reservoir has been fishing well for small pike, most less than 24 inches long. Fly-fishers using streamers along edges (weeds or drop-offs) will do well. As the waters begin to cool, concentrate on fishing in the afternoons and don’t be afraid to fish waters up to 20 feet deep for northern pike. Note that the boat ramp is closed Tuesday through Thursday.Learn more »
Afternoon rains have been messing up various sections of river across the state. When faced with off-colored waters, increase your fly size and go to darker patterns. It’s easier for the fish to spot your offerings that way.
The increased releases to the Blue River, below Dillon Reservoir, have resulted in additional releases of Mysis shrimp; consequently, fishing with small translucent or whitish patterns has been effective. Midges also continue to be effective. Further downstream, work terrestrials in the afternoons, and if the rains come be ready to switch over to streamers.Learn more »
Looking down at a steep, muddy, roughly 10-story drop on a near 50-degree slope, all I could think was, “I have to get my kayak down that?”
I now understood one of the descriptions I had heard of the runnable section of the Blue River, below Green Mountain Reservoir.Learn more »
Labor Day has passed, and there are a number of changes in the air — or soon will be. We can expect rivers to remain low and clear (most days, as storms abate for the year).
With cooler weather, afternoon fishing will be less worrisome, as water temperatures will be cooler than the near 70s we’ve been seeing. The real treat is fewer anglers, and soon, very soon, the browns will become aggressive due to spawn. Big streamers will be the ticket as we move into October. Meanwhile, terrestrial and large attractors, such as Royal Wulffs and humpies, are a good option (away from tailwaters).Learn more »
The Eagle River from Minturn on down is fishing outstanding. Flows are perfect for wading, and anglers are having some great days. Many patterns are working, but caddis and terrestrials remain top choices for many. When no obvious hatch is on the water, nymphing is a good option. Attractors such as prince nymphs are doing well. With the hot weather, be sure to check water temperatures and avoid fishing if they’re higher than 70 degrees.
Fishing tailwaters such as the Blue River below Dillon is an option when water temperatures elsewhere are too warm. The Blue has been fishing fair, but with the large number of anglers, the fish are wary, so light tippets, midge patterns and good presentations are needed for success.Learn more »
Rivers continue to fish well most days, but afternoon rains can muddy things quickly. The lower stretches of the Eagle and Colorado rivers are especially prone to discoloring. When conditions permit, nymphers are having good success. When waters are stained consider dark streamers. Look for solid dry fly action early and late in the day; caddis or terrestrials are a good option.
Another river worth visiting is the Roaring Fork. While also in great condition for floating, that has created a raft/boat hatch that makes wading a better option. Like the Colorado, nymphing the deeper runs is often your best bet when boat traffic is heavy.Learn more »
As we move into August, many anglers find the fishing slows. There are several possible reasons for this. One, there’s an abundance of food, so the fish can afford to be picky. Further, trout have been exposed to a large number of manmade “food” items, and fish do tend to become a bit more wary. Savvy anglers adjust by fishing less-pressured waters and trying new tactics (time, location, lure/fly/bait and presentations).
South Park waters have been seeing a lot of pressure these recent weeks, but some waters continue to produce well. Jefferson Lake is worth the drive if you’re looking for fast action. While baits are popular, the fly-fishers, either long rods or spinning with fly and a bubble, have been doing best, as there’s been plenty of surface action. Any small pattern in black or peacock has a good chance of working.Learn more »
There’s an old adage commonly known among both Colorado’s natives and transplants: come for the winter, but stay for the summer.
For South Carolina native Kyle McKenzie, 30, Colorado’s draw was just the opposite. He came for the water. Winters just happen to be one of state’s most valuable perks.Learn more »
Rivers continue to fish well, and many are offering some outstanding dry fly-fishing. A couple of things to keep in mind: Afternoon storms can quickly muddy things up. Such is the case with the lower Colorado River. We are moving into the time of year when hot weather, coupled with low flows, can result in water temperatures exceeding 70 degrees. Please avoid fishing at those times, as it can stress fish beyond their ability to recover. Opt to fish still waters or tailwaters.
Of the area rivers, the Eagle is offering outstanding wade fishing. Excellent dry fly action is occurring; it just depends on where and when you fish as to what will work best. Patterns to have on hand should imitate pale morning duns, caddis, small stones, ants and hoppers. Nymphs are always an option when surface action is quiet; pheasant tails, prince nymphs, midges, small stones and caddis larva are always good choices.Learn more »
Rivers continue to be one of the better fishing options at this time. Flows, for the most part, are perfect, water temperatures are still good, and excellent hatches are occurring with regularity. Toss in a few terrestrials, and you have the fly-fisher’s dream — although, afternoon storms can quickly discolor the water.
The Upper Colorado River is a great choice at this time. Flows are strong, so use caution wading. Anglers will find solid dry fly action; mayfly and caddis patterns are a good choice. Small stones and hoppers are also worth trying. Nymphing is a good option when there isn’t an obvious hatch. Small stones, prince nymphs, San Juan worms and pheasant tails have been productive. Leach patterns and small spinners will also produce in the deeper runs.Learn more »
Trout fishing on most High Country rivers and streams is great right now. Look for evening Caddis hatches to get fish to bite. Try ants or hopper during the day, especially with a slight breeze. Afternoon thunderstorms have the potential to quickly muddy the waters. The Eagle and Colorado rivers are two very good options right now.
Many small metro waters are offering great panfishing opportunities, primarily bluegills and green sunfish. A bit of worm under a bobber is all you need, but flies are good also. Lonetree Reservoir and Cherry Creek have been doing well for walleye, although mostly undersized. Small spinners, streamers, or bottom-bouncers with a worm are good options. Work shorelines for the best results. Boyd is seeing good white bass action early, and late when traffic is light.Learn more »
With the warming waters, trout move deeper during the day. This is a good time to take a nap, fish rivers or, from a watercraft, fish deeper water, preferably along a weed line or underwater dropoff. Concentrate your efforts on early morning and late evening fishing. Enjoying sunrises and sunsets are added bonuses. Fly and bubble rigs are at their best right now.
South Park waters, particularly Elevenmile and Antero reservoirs, are mostly reporting good success early and late, though a few anglers are anchoring their boats just off shore 10 to 20 feet doing well with baits. Just up the hill, Jefferson continues to produce good numbers of smaller rainbows and an occasional lake trout. The road is rough, and the south parking area is closed.Learn more »
Rivers are quickly receding to normal flows, and at the very least most have cleared substantially. Consequently, barring a thunderstorm, anglers can expect excellent fishing conditions.
On the Eagle River, anglers should look for caddis hatches to start showing and offer some evening dry-fly actions. Until then, Bluewing Olives and Griffiths Gnats are good choices. Don’t hesitate to give ant patterns a try at this time, especially when there’s a breeze. Standard nymphs sizes 18 to 14 and small streamers are going to be the best bet during the day.Learn more »
Other than tailwater fisheries — the Blue River below Dillon Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir, Dream Stream and Frying Pan River — most rivers and streams remain high and roily. The good news is the rivers appear to have peaked and flows are dropping. With each passing week, the rivers will become increasingly fishable.
Near Kremmling, the Colorado River has been fishing well despite the high flows. Anglers have been experiencing some nice evening caddis hatches. For the tailwaters, scud, mysis and midge patterns continue to produce. Plan on fishing during the week to avoid the heavy angler “hatch.”Learn more »
Dillon Reservoir inlets are off-colored, making fishing a little unpleasant, especially with the extra debris in the water, which tends to foul lures and lies. Still anglers are managing a few fish. Fish darker lures, gold, copper and black for best results. Dark streamers for the fly fisher with a bit of red would be a good choice.
Clear water can be found below the reservoir in the Blue River. Several anglers have had success sight fishing with mysis patterns. If the pressure is light, such as mid-week, small streamers have a good shot at producing.Learn more »
It’s hard to imagine what was going through Stephan Nicolas’ mind at the put-in for the Class III upper section of Gore Creek in East Vail on Thursday. He appeared to be nervous, and looked like he didn’t quite know what to expect. This would be his first real whitewater experience.
“It took a lot for me to push off into the current,” he said afterward.Learn more »
Too often people stop into Ten Mile Creek Kayak in Frisco thinking they can just rent a kayak or paddleboard and hop into a river or creek and start paddling.
“That’s crazy,” said store owner Matti Wade. He goes through a series of questions to assess skills any time someone comes in his store thinking about paddling Ten Mile Creek.Learn more »
Rivers remain high and roily across much of the Rockies. The Colorado River from Kremmling downstream to Glenwood Springs is typical of many moving waters. Despite muddy conditions, anglers are managing a few nice fish. Spinners or streamers have worked near shore. Dark colors are best. Fly fishers are managing a few trout when drifting large black stonefly patterns.
Tailwater fisheries remain the best bet for clear water. However, on weekends the fishing pressure can often have you wondering if the angler population isn’t larger than the fish numbers. Still, the fish do have to eat. Midges have met with some degree of success. Look for some decent action with dry flies, small and dark, early, late, or during periods of cloudy weather. The Blue River below Dillon remains popular. For a few less anglers give the South Platte in Eleven Mile Canyon a try, especially mid-week.Learn more »
7 a.m., 33 degrees, snow flurries — suddenly the idea of a morning kayak run was less appealing than it had been the day before. But I’d already agreed to meet Matti Wade, owner of Ten Mile Creek Kayaks in Frisco, at his shop for an 8 a.m. run to demo a kayak on the lower section of Ten Mile Creek.
By the time I made it to the store, the thermometer in my Jeep was reading a questionable 37 degrees.Learn more »
VAIL — Alpine Quest Sports and the town of Vail have announced a new event, the Vail Kayak Race Series. The event takes place every Tuesday from May 14-June 18 from 5-7 p.m. on Gore Creek.
The event has gathered interest so quickly that stand up board and raft divisions have been added. The series has three different races for competitors and spectators to enjoy. The down river races will have racers paddling fast from the Covered Bridge to the International Bridge. Racers will need to navigate turning around two buoys before crossing the finish line. The Ring Your Bell Race has competitors racing from the Covered Bridge to International Bridge, but they cannot complete the race unless all bells on buoys are rung. The Best Trick event will showcase the Vail Whitewater Park at its best with big tricks and surfing from kayaks, SUPs and rafts. The judges will decide but the spectators get to enjoy the action from the side.Learn more »