Fishing Report: Summer hatches are here; High Country fishing improving
Thursday’s official arrival of summer brings hints of both the heydays and the dog days to Colorado anglers, but also some reminders of the torrents of spring.While most rivers across the state are dropping and clearing after the peak of runoff, a few are running higher than they have all spring. In western Colorado, flows in the upper Colorado River basin recently were raised significantly, and streams such as the Colorado, Blue and Williams Fork at best are marginal for fishing.On the Eastern Slope, with reservoirs in the upper South Platte basin full, flows in the river have come up. The volume below Spinney Mountain and Elevenmile reservoirs has been steadily rising during the past two weeks. The water is high, but in general it remains fairly clear and wading has not been unduly difficult.Though runoff conditions persist on rivers such as the Animas, Poudre and lower St. Vrain, and hot weather has sent surges of snow melt into the Arkansas, among others, the majority should be in reasonably good condition in another week to 10 days.Summertime hatches including pale-morning-dun mayflies, caddis and golden stoneflies have appeared on most rivers. Green drakes – the largest of the mayflies – have been evident on lower portions of several rivers, including the Colorado, Roaring Fork and Yampa. The hatch typically begins on the lower sections and gradually progresses upstream. At times easy, at times ultra demanding, the drakes offer potentially great surface fishing through July and into August.Fly fishermen also can enjoy some good opportunities on lakes. Damselflies, Callibaetis mayflies and midges are active at different times of the day on mountain reservoirs and lakes statewide. Warming temperatures, however, also are sending fish into deeper water for longer periods. Fishing from shore generally is better early and late in the day, and boating fishermen tend to find trout, kokanee salmon and mackinaw in deeper water. The arrival of summer also is the time to head for Colorado’s High Country, where conditions for the most part are becoming prime. With some exceptions, Alpine lakes are free of ice, and though some snowdrifts and mud may linger, they are accessible. Mountain creeks and beaver ponds also are inviting, offering a great way to escape the heat of summer.For the complete, statewide fishing report, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/fishing/reports/seasonalreport/.
Denver MetroClear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – The water level is high; use caution. Fish along the edges with black Woolly Buggers or dry flies with a dropper South Platte River (Waterton Canyon) – The river has been unusually high and discolored. Fishing is difficult. 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 often are small Panther Martins, Mepps or Blue Fox spinners. Night crawlers usually are the most effective bait in the unrestricted lower stretch. NorthwestBlue River (below Green Mountain Reservoir) – Flows below Green Mountain Dam have come up dramatically. Late Monday, the volume was 2,660 cfs, making for very difficult fishing. A catch-and-release provision went into effect May 1 for the river from Green Mountain Dam to the Colorado River. The river holds its share of trout, but through much of this section courses through private property. Blue River (Dillon to Green Mtn. Res.) – The river below Dillon Reservoir has come up even more, and late Monday was flowing at 1,480 cfs. Fishing and wading at that volume of flow are very difficult. Colorado River (below Parshall) – The flow at Parshall, below the Williams Fork confluence, on Tuesday was 1,443 cfs, up considerably from last week. Near Kremmling, the volume was 4,060 cfs, creating next-to-impossible fishing conditions. The annual stonefly hatch has run its course through this stretch, but some caddis activity had been reported. Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle) – The Colorado River has been flowing at 8,600 cfs below Glenwood Springs, where visibility into the water is ranging from 6 to 18 inches. Fishing is really picking up, with the first green drake hatches likely to begin this week. Good hatches of caddis and PMDs, as well as rusty spinners also will be encountered. The best fishing will be from New Castle up to Glenwood Canyon. The best dry fly fishing has been during the last two hours of light from, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Hot flies include: H&L Variants, Royal Wulffs, BDE Drakes, 20 Inchers, Stalcups Drake Emerger, CDC Rusty Spinner, Pearl and Elk Caddis, Princes, Copper Johns and Poxyback Drakes.
Colorado River (near Granby) – Flows on Sunday were 844 cfs below Windy Gap, 624 cfs on the Williams Fork near Parshall and 2,700 cfs on the Colorado near Kremmling. The river can be difficult to fish under these conditions. The fluctuating flows below Windy Gap make interesting fishing patterns. Some caddis have been reported. San Juan worms and egg patterns are still highly productive. 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. Inquire in Granby for the latest conditions. Crystal River – The Crystal River has been steadily rising with the recent hot weather, with recent river flows hovering around 1,560 cfs in Carbondale. The fishing has been tough because of the high, discolored water. Look for the fishing to improve as water levels drop. Fryingpan River – The Frying Pan River has been flowing around 209 cfs below Ruedi Reservoir. Good hatches of BWOs are evident along the upper river and sporadic hatches of caddis and PMDs are occurring along the lower river. Mysis shrimp are still spilling through the dam in good numbers, especially in the Toilet Bowl and Flats. Light tippets of 6X and 7X are mandatory for success. Several large fish in the 18- to 24-inch inch range have been landed recently. Look for the best hatches and dry fly fishing to take place from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as during the last hour of light. Look for the PMD hatches to increase significantly by the end of the month, just as the BWOs begin to fizzle out. Green Mountain Reservoir – The lake is essentially full. Shore fishermen and boaters are still catching trout. Night crawlers, sucker meat, salmon eggs and Power Bait all are working. Kastmasters and Tasmanian Devils have been the hot lures. Rio Blanco Lake – Fishing for northern pike has picked up a little. Some have run up to 28 inches, but most are smaller. Dardevle-type spoons have been as effective as anything. Fishermen also have been catching small bluegills and a few crappie, mainly on jigs. Roaring Fork River – The Roaring Fork is clear and fishing superbly well from Carbondale down to Glenwood Springs. Good hatches of stoneflies and caddis are coming off nightly, along with sporadic hatches of PMDs and BWOs during midday. The first green drake hatches are expected by the end of the week. Once that happens, fishing will literally explode. From Aspen down to Basalt, the fishing is still improving as the water level continues to drop. Hot flies include: BDE Drakes, Sparkledun Drakes, Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, Ethawing Caddis, 20 Inchers, Poxyback Drakes, Princes and bead-head Pheasant Tails. Williams Fork Reservoir – The water level has been steadily rising and the reservoir soon will be full. Fishing for rainbow trout has been fair to good. Anglers have been using Dardevle-type spoons, small crankbaits and an assortment of baits from shore. Northern pike should become active soon. The reservoir also has some large mackinaw. Williams Fork River – Monday’s flow below Williams Fork Reservoir had come up to 755 cfs. Fishing at this volume is more difficult, but drifting weighted nymphs or streamers through the runs and pockets still might produce some decent brown trout. Yampa River (Stagecoach through Steamboat) – The river has been dropping and is in good condition for dry fly fishing. Hatches include caddis, green drakes and pale morning duns. If trout are not surface feeding, try stoneflies and other standard nymphs. The .6-mile tailwater below Stagecoach Dam remains a productive stretch of river but it can get crowded. Midges and a few blue-wing-olives are on the water there.
SoutheastArkansas River No.3 (Through Pueblo) – The flow was up to 2,220 cfs late on Monday. Fishing and wading at that volume are difficult. Fish generally are concentrated in clearer water near the banks and in pocket water. Fish a No. 12 bead-head Prince Nymph, and use a San Juan Worm as the dropped fly. Black or olive Woolly Buggers fished in the deeper water will be effective. 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) – Monday’s flows were 2,030 cfs above Buena Vista and 2,230 in Browns Canyon. Fishing is challenging at these levels, but flows should be receding by the weekend, improving the visibility and providing a better opportunity for hungry fish to feed. Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – Monday’s flow at Hayden Meadows was 555 cfs, with 1,550 cfs at Granite. This looks to be the last surge of runoff, generated by the exceptionally hot weather. Flows should recede significantly by Thursday and generate much-improved conditions for the weekend. Arkansas River (Salida to Canon City) – Hot weather and clear skies have generated a final peak to river flows, with Monday registering 2,480 cfs at both Wellsville and Parkdale. Look for flows to recede by the weekend and conditions to become favorable for hungry fish to feed along the edges. Elevenmile Reservoir – Overall trout-fishing success is fair. The best reports have been coming from shoreline fishermen along the south side of the reservoir. Worms combined with marshmallows, various Power Baits and assorted spinners seem to be working the best. Trout that have been caught recently are ranging from 12- to 20-plus inches. Water temperatures are reaching into the 60s. Kokanee fishing has been poor. Northern pike fishing has picked up, with the majority of fish over 20 inches. The bag and possession limit is 10 kokanee salmon and four trout, of which only two can be 16 inches or longer. No limit applies to northern pike. Boating is permitted daily from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. South Platte River (btwn Spinney and Elevenmile) – Flows and water temperatures are increasing. The average flows from the past week were around 360 cfs. Though conditions have been demanding, some good-sized trout still are being reported. Pheasant Tail nymphs, caddis and San Juan Worms have been effective in the higher water, along with the usual midges. Many of the fisherman are catching trout in the 12- to 18-inch range. Fishermen may use only artificial flies and lures below Spinney, and catch-and-release rules apply. As usual, this area attracts large crowds. Spinney Mountain Reservoir – Fishing at Spinney is really good right now. Fishing at Spinney is by artificial flies and lures only, with a bag and possession limit of one trout at least 20 inches long. Chironomidae midges and Callibaetis mayflies have been evident on the water. The water is high and a little roily in the upper end. Both boat ramps are open. Fishing has been good throughout the day, with average trout catches in the 18- to 22-inch range. The most successful flies have been various nymphs, scud patterns and streamers. As usual, tube jigs also are productive. This is a day use park, opening 1/2 hour before sunrise and closing one hour after sunset. Boating is permitted daily from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. SouthwestGunnison River (below Crystal Dam) – Flows are at 472 cfs, stable and clear. Stoneflies have moved well up into the national park. Lots of action on the big bugs still is occurring in pockets down into the Gorge. Great caddis and PMD hatches also are evident. Try yellow and melon-quill patterns in sizes 16-18, Yellow Sallies and golden stones, or even some Hopper/dropper rigs. Throw a streamer when in doubt.
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