Recent warmer weather has resulted in enough snowmelt to discolor some of the lower sections of the Eagle, Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.
The immediate future calls for a brief break in the warm, which may clear things up for a couple of days. However, expect off-colored waters to be the norm, with rising waters not far off.
Don’t let a little color keep you from fishing. When the water is only stained, versus flowing mud, the fishing can be outstanding. The key is to upsize your offerings — larger nymphs, such as stoneflies and streamers, will be your best bet.
Also, select colors that have the best chance of being seen, dark browns, blacks, reds and oranges. That means attractor patterns such as eggs and San Juan worms are good choices for stained waters.
While rivers are sometimes viewed as the fly-fishers’ domain, that’s not true. Spin-fishers are doing well with small crankbaits and spoons, and though seldom mentioned, marabou or bucktail jigs of 1/16 to 1/4 ounces bounced along the bottom are deadly at times.
Gore Creek has been fishing well of late with most of the sections ice free. Wait for the day to warm up a bit for the best fishing. Fish the slower, deeper runs for your greatest chance at success. Nothing fancy for flies at this time; basic mayfly nymphs, sizes 16 to 12, will do the trick most days.
While many reservoirs still have a coat of ice, this is not the time to press your luck fishing them. Elevenmile is a perfect example. It’s still ice-capped and the north side is reportedly solid, most anglers are reporting thin or no ice around much of the shore. Spinney Reservoir looks to be a good couple weeks off from opening.
Williams Fork and Wolford Mountain reservoirs are two others that probably ought to be avoided by ice-fishers at this time.
For those looking to get a little more use out of their augers, Lake Granby still has a solid ice cap, though reports are that on warms days the surface often becomes a slushy mess.
Still, it has been fishing well for lake trout. Any variety of small tubes tipped with sucker meat will work, as will mantis shrimp bait. Conditions on Green Mountain Reservoir are similar to those on Granby; it will offer another week or two of ice fishing.
Dave Coulson is the Colorado editor for www.fishexplorer.com.