Fishing Report: Spring runoff complicating Memorial Day weekend conditions
Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of the summer outdoor-recreation season, and in Colorado, it just might be the most popular fishing weekend of entire year.Spring has arrived. The school year is winding down. The season of summer vacations is just beginning, and with it, the arrival of out-of-state visitors. For many winter-weary Colorado fishermen, Memorial Day is both the first chance to get away for an extended weekend and the final holiday before the “tourist season.” Whether a quick escape or a mini vacation, the holiday offers some potentially good fishing opportunities. With some notable exceptions, conditions across much of the state are prime.All but the highest lakes are free of ice, and trout and kokanee salmon are becoming active. Some lakes have mainly resident fish; others have been stocked with catchable-sized trout from the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s hatchery system. Mountain creeks and beaver ponds as a rule also are open and accessible, though snowdrifts and muddy conditions can hamper access in some locations. Many creeks also are high and off-color from melting snow and difficult to fish.Most major rivers also are affected by the spring runoff, and tailwaters including the Blue, Fryingpan, Williams Fork and Muddy Creek have increased flows as part of the Upper Colorado River Basin Endangered Fish Recovery Program.For the complete, statewide fishing report, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/Reports/StatewideConditions/.Denver MetroClear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – The water is fast and muddy. Fishing is tough, but if you must, find slack water and fish a large Prince nymph or a small streamer. Use extreme caution when fishing during the runoff. Currents are swift and footing can be tricky. Clear Lake – No current reports about the lake off Guanella Pass are available. The lake is stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout and also has brook trout and a few browns. Early season fishing can be good.
South Platte River (Waterton Canyon) – Flows have been fairly constant. The water is clear, and fly fishermen have noted blue-wing-olive and midge activity. The section from Strontia Springs Dam downstream to 300 yards above the Marston diversion structure is restricted to artificial flies and lures and offers the best fishing. The most effective lures for spin-fishermen are small Panther Martins, Mepps or Blue Fox spinners. Night crawlers are most effective in the unrestricted lower stretch. NorthwestBlue River (below Green Mountain Reservoir) – Due to heavy releases from Green Mountain Reservoir, the flow on Monday was 996 cfs. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Blue River (Dillon to Green Mtn. Res.) – The flows changed dramatically on Saturday, going from 101 cfs to 500 cfs. The river has cleared quickly, however, and fishing is very good. Now’s the chance to fish the Blue with 3X tippet, lots of weight and bigger, bright flies. San Juan Worms followed by a size 14 Mysis shrimp are all you really need. The higher flows will push the “Big Boys” down from their hidey hole right below the dam – the No Fishing zone. Fish the newly created eddies and slower water along the banks or dredge the deeper pools. You’ll need a lot of weight to get near the bottom. Downstream, use stonefly nymphs, Copper Johns, beaded Hare’s Ears and San Juan Worms. Colorado River (below Parshall) – Due to Heavy releases from Williams Fork Reservoir; the Colorado at Parshall is near 900 cfs. Fish Byers Canyon above the confluence for the best water at approximately 500 cfs. Watch for the stoneflies soon. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle) – The Colorado River below Glenwood Springs is heavily discolored, unfishable and flowing at 9,200 cfs. If in the area, focus your efforts on the upper Frying Pan and upper Roaring Fork rivers, both of which have been fishing decently. For daily river reports and fishing conditions contact the Taylor Creek Flyshop in Basalt at 970-927-4374. Colorado River (near Granby) – Fishing below Parshall remains fairly good. Streams will have color and increased flows during the runoff season. Egg patterns, San Juan worms, small nymphs, black midges, Woolly Buggers and Copper Johns have been working well. Also, look for signs of the beginning of different hatches. The stream flow below Windy Gap last weekend was down to 233 cfs. However, near Kremmling, it was running at 2,690 cfs. In the immediate Granby area and downstream to the bridge at the west end of Byers Canyon, bait fishing is permitted and two fish may be kept. For current conditions call Budget Tackle in Granby at (970) 887-9344. Fryingpan River – The Frying Pan is fishing tough, as flows are expected to increase to around 800 cfs. The water is clear but fast. Look for fish to be holding tight to the banks and in any slower pockets of water. Mysis shrimp and big fish are more common; though landing these behemoths in this volume of water is tough. The Frying Pan above Ruedi Reservoir is fishing well using Princes, Copper Johns, 20-Inchers, Pheasant Tails, and San Juan Worms. Call the Taylor Creek Flyshop in Basalt for daily river reports and fishing conditions at 970-927-4374. Grand Lake – Nothing new to report, at this time. The West Portal has been fishing well, as usual. The channel between Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Grand Lake also has been fishing well. Please call Budget Tackle if you have any first-hand fishing reports. For current conditions call Budget Tackle in Granby at (970) 887-9344.
Green Mountain Reservoir – The lake level is coming up about one foot a day. Shore fishing for rainbows is good using worms. Big lake trout have gone deeper. It’s best to have a boat and troll for them. Rifle Gap Reservoir – The lake is full. The water temperature is 60 degrees. The inlet above the lake still somewhat cloudy from snowmelt. In the reservoir, try deep-running lures or streamer flies for pike. Trout have been hitting Panther Martin spinners and streamer flies. Perch fishing is picking up using a No. 8 hook tipped with a small piece of worm. A few visitors caught walleyes last weekend. The boat ramp and docks are in the water. The catch-all in this lake seems to be a perch-imitation type of lure. For walleyes, use a deep-running lure or jig. The regulation on walleyes at Rifle Gap now reads, “Bag, possession limit and minimum size for walleyes is 3, 18 inches long.” The 2006 fishing regulations, fishing information and State Parks Annual passes are available at the visitor center. Rio Blanco Lake – Fishermen have been catching northern pike mostly in the 15- to 19-inch range on spoons and crankbaits, and catfish on the traditional catfish baits. Crappie also are being taken, but no reports of bass have come in yet. For current conditions, call Wyatt’s Sporting Goods in Meeker at (970) 878-4428. Roaring Fork River – The upper Roaring Fork below Aspen is the crown jewel along the river right now. Flows are around 300 cfs and the water is mostly clear. The river below Snowmass is too high and muddy to fish effectively. Hot flies have been Poxybiot Stones, Wired Stones, Copper Johns, Z-Wing Caddis, Princes, 20-Inchers, BTS Baetis, and BLM’s. Look for the lower stretch to improve in the next two weeks. Call the Taylor Creek Flyshop in Basalt for daily river reports and fishing conditions at 970-927-4374. White River – The river is very high, discolored and essentially unfishable for most of its length. A few fish reportedly have been taken on black and olive-and-black Woolly Buggers in the upper reaches. For conditions updates, call Wyatt’s Sporting Goods in Meeker at (970) 878-4428. Williams Fork Reservoir – With the lake level rising fast, big pike are in the shallows and lake trout are being caught in deeper water. Fish the fingers for trout and the flats for pike. Try off the points for big lakers; up in the inlet for good trout. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Williams Fork River – Due to releases from the reservoir, flows are up to 400 cfs and could increase. Fish the Colorado River above the confluence for the best conditions, and watch for the stoneflies to appear soon. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Yampa River (Stagecoach through Steamboat) – The tailwater directly below Stagecoach Reservoir has been flowing at about 175 cfs and remains virtually the only fishable stream in the area. By Steamboat Springs, the river is very high and muddy, and possibly out of its banks. The river likely will be unfishable until late June. Call the Steamboat Fly Fishing Company at (970) 879-6552 for current conditions. Southeast
Arkansas River No.3 (Through Pueblo) – Flows have been variable, most recently at a high, 1,870 cfs. Fishing is difficult at that volume of flow, but some fish still can be taken on terrestrial patterns, streamers and San Juan worms. Flows are subject to irrigation demands and should vary widely through the summer. Call the Ark Anglers shop in Pueblo at (719) 543-3900 for current conditions. Frequent stocking of this stretch usually makes for excellent fishing. Habitat improvements have created deeper pools and structure for the fish to thrive in even when releases from Pueblo Dam are minimal. Standard fishing regulations and limits are in effect on this section of the river. Arkansas River (Buena Vista to Salida) – As of Monday, the river was running at 2,000 cfs through this section and had about one foot of clarity along the edges. As a result, fishing is poor until the flows stabilize and conditions improve. Area tributary streams and lakes are producing good fishing. Go to http://www.arkanglers.com for more information. Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – As of Monday, flows in Hayden Meadows were about 500 cfs, with an additional 800 cfs coming in from Twin Lakes. Clarity is generally poor though there are daily periods when it improves and fishing along the edges can be productive. Area tributaries and lakes are faring much better. For more information, visit http://www.arkanglers.com. Arkansas River (Salida to Canon City) – The river below Salida was flowing at 2,100 cfs on Monday and was quite murky, with about one foot of visibility along the edges. Area streams and lakes are providing good alternatives to the river. Go to http://www.arkanglers.com for updated reports. Clear Creek Reservoir – Fishing for trout from shore and boats has been fair to good on the usual array of baits and lures. Fly fishermen report good action from boats on black and purple Woolly Buggers and around the inlet area. The lake typically produces very good fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and a few large brown trout. It also has kokanee salmon, mostly less than 13 inches with a few over 15 and fishing for them should be good in 2006. The water-supply reservoir was full last year and also will be filled to capacity in 2006. Eleven Mile Reservoir – The reservoir is open to boating ? hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. The bag and possession limit is 10 kokanee salmon and four trout, of which only two can be 16 inches or greater. No limit applies to northern pike. Trout action is good to excellent. Trout are beginning to leave spawning beds for deeper water. Hot-color Power Baits, various jigs and spoons, night crawlers, Kastmasters and Dardevles are working well. Pike fishing is poor, although improving, using Rapalas and sucker meat. Kokanee salmon action is fair from boats using Pop Geer, Kastmasters, and various trolling spoons. Gold and pink are the best colors. South Platte River (btwn Spinney and Eleven Mile) – The river is open to catch-and-release fishing with artificial flies and lures. Fishermen report seeing significantly fewer big fish in the river, indicating the trout spawning run is about over. Effective flies have been orange and yellow egg patterns, No. 18-20 Scuds, San Juan Worms, No. 20-22 Miracle Nymphs, No. 20-22 Black Beauties, and No. 18-22 Copper Johns. SouthwestGunnison River (below Crystal Dam) – The flow at the East Portal is about 699 cfs, but the water clarity is affected by record flows from Cimarron Creek that enter Crystal Reservoir and carry sediment through the dam. Despite that, fishing still has been good, even when the river is off-color. Egg patterns, scuds, BWOs, RS-2s, Adams, Parachute Adams, Pheasant Tails, Flashback Pheasant Tails and an assortment of different-colored midges have been the go-to patterns. As the spawning season winds down, anglers still should tread lightly on the redds. For current conditions call the Cimarron Creek Flyshop at 970-249-0408. Gunnison River (through the canyon) – The weekend flow was 704 cfs and the water was slightly off-color. Caddois are thick, and fishing is good. Top flies are stoneflies, Half-backs, red Copper Johns and Flashback Pheasant Tails. We are seeing Pteronarcys at the confluence, and big black stoneflies are moving on the bottom. Some dry-fly activity and emerging caddis also were reported. No motorized craft are allowed above the North Fork tributary. Other restrictions include: Gold Medal Water, catch-and-release, flies-and-lures only. No rainbow trout may be kept. The Gunnison River Pleasure Park is offering ferry service to help anglers access the upper river. Call 970-872-2525 for current information.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
DILLON — Due to novel coronavirus rules, Anthony Santiago can’t visit his older brother Cristian at Children’s Hospital of Colorado in Aurora during Cristian’s slow recovery from a car crash last month. That’s why it…