Fishing Report: Ambitious stocking by DOW to prepare for a busy week
With the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday this year, Colorado anglers are facing a bit of a dilemma: Whether to take a couple of days before the holiday and return in time for the local fireworks display, or to leave town on the Fourth and fish through a long weekend.Either way, fishing conditions statewide appear hot as the proverbial firecracker, thanks in large part to an ambitious stocking effort recently undertaken by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, in which the DOW stocked a whopping 79 bodies of water around the state with healthy fish.Aside from that, the annual runoff has peaked on rivers statewide. Though a few remain high, virtually all are fishably clear. Seasonal hatches of aquatic insects including green drakes, summer caddis, pale morning duns and yellow stoneflies are under way, providing fly fishermen with a wealth of possibilities. Spin-fishermen also are likely to find frisky trout in the river of their choice.Fishing for trout, kokanee salmon and in some cases northern pike remains good on many large, mountain reservoirs. However, with gradually rising water temperatures, peak fishing periods tend to be early mornings and late afternoons into the evening. That pattern also holds true on lower-elevation reservoirs, where warm-water fishing has slowed somewhat but fish still are active. Water levels on some irrigation reservoirs are dropping, but virtually all remain at suitable levels. A few, including Pueblo Reservoir, still are rising.However, many large, low-elevation reservoirs also are popular among recreational boaters, water skiers and other water enthusiasts. Holiday traffic on the water often is significant. The holiday weekend traditionally is a time for fishing in the higher mountains, and conditions generally are very good. Mountain creeks are clear, and beaver ponds are accessible. Virtually all alpine lakes are free of ice, and though some snowdrifts may linger, most are accessible.While stocking will continue through the summer at higher elevations, it is discontinued at lower-elevation waters when water temperatures become too high. Many such lakes also have warm-water fish, and they remain active through the summer, offering another dimension for many anglers. For the complete, statewide fishing report, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/fishing/reports/seasonalreport/.Denver Metro
Clear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – The water level is high; use caution. Fish the edges with black Woolly Buggers or dry flies with a dropper. Clear Lake – The lake south of Georgetown off the Guanella Pass road offers fair to good fishing for catchable-sized rainbow trout. It also has some brook trout and a few browns. Fishing can be fairly good on a variety of baits and lures, but success largely depends on periodic stocking. The north shore often is the best location. No boats are permitted on the lake. 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 down but fishing remains tough. On Tuesday morning the volume was 1,390 cfs. 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 flow coming out of Dillon Reservoir is finally starting to slow down. It has dropped from around 1,500 cfs last week to below 1,000 cfs. With this drop in flow, the fishing should really begin to heat up, especially once it drops to around 600 cfs. Big flies and big tippet still will be the name of the game for a few more weeks. Be looking at using large Mysis shrimp, San Juan worms, big Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns with the flows still very high. Also, as the water warms up, there could be a few bugs coming off the water, especially downstream closer to Green Mountain. Caddis, PMDs, BWOs and even green drakes will start to appear as the flows continue to drop. Inquire in Silverthorne for the latest. Colorado River (below Parshall) – The flow at Parshall, below the Williams Fork confluence, on Tuesday was 700 cfs, down considerably from last week. Near Kremmling, below the Blue River confluence, the volume was 2,460 cfs. The annual stonefly hatch has run its course through this stretch, but some caddis activity had been reported. At other times, attractor dry flies with a nymph as a dropper can be effective, and Muddler Minnows, Woolly Buggers and other streamers often produce some fish. Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle) – Fishing on the Colorado has been superb with good hatches of green drakes nightly from 8:45 to 9:45. Prior to that, hatches of PMDs and caddis are evident, which are best fished during the late afternoons. Nymphing with 20-Inchers, Princes and chartreause Copper Johns in the “soft” water is also productive. This is undoubtedly some of the best dry fly fishing of the entire year along the Colorado River. Colorado River (near Granby) – Flows on Sunday were 322 cfs below Windy Gap, 413 cfs on the Williams Fork near Parshall and 2,590 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. Last week and last weekend, the river had been fishing very well. 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 receding, with recent river flows hovering around 1,000 cfs in Carbondale. The fishing has been tough because of the high, discolored water. Look for the fishing to improve as water levels continue to drop.
Fryingpan River – The Frying Pan River has been flowing around 196 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. 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. Grand Lake – Consistent fishing on this deep, natural lake requires some learning and experience but can be highly rewarding. Spinners, Rapalas, vertical jigging, fly fishing, trolling and bait fishing all can produce brown trout, rainbows, large lake trout and kokanee. Boat access between Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Reservoir is possible. The water level of this lake remains constant. Fishing off the public dock area and in the channel between the lakes remains good. Inquire in Granby for updates. Green Mountain Reservoir – The lake is full and the water temperature is warming. Stocker trout are still being caught on night crawlers and salmon eggs. A few kokanee are being caught trolling. Early mornings and evenings are most productive. Rifle Gap Reservoir – The water level has dropped, but the fishing still is excellent. It will be hot this weekend so remember the sunscreen. Several catches of nice-sized perch near the island have been reported. They seem exceptionally large this year. Rifle Creek is a hot spot for fly fishermen looking for some nice-sized brown trout. Northern pike have been noted in the shallow weeds by the Bass Day Use area. Rio Blanco Lake – Fishing for bluegills and other panfish has been very good on crappie jigs. Yellow and chartreuse have been the preferred colors. Fishing for hammer-handle northern pike has been fair, with a few up to 28 inches. Red-and-white Dardevle-type spoons have been as effective as anything. Roaring Fork River – The Roaring Fork is clear and fishing superbly well from Carbondale down to Glenwood Springs. Good hatches of green drakes, Yellow Sally stoneflies, PMDs and caddis are coming off nightly. The heaviest wave of drakes right now is taking place from Carbondale down to Glenwood Springs. Above that point, caddis are hatching in equally impressive numbers. The upper river above Basalt is fishing better daily with mostly nymphing opportunities. This could very well be the best drake hatch in many years because of the clear water and ideal water levels.White River – The river has dropped and is running clear. Dry fly fishing has been good, but with recent hot weather the best activity already is early or late in the day. Elk-hair caddis, Adams and Royal Coachmen have been effective patterns. Bead-head Prince Nymphs and gold-ribbed-hare’s ears are good choices below the surface. 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 – Tuesday’s flow below Williams Fork Reservoir had come down to 413 cfs, greatly improved from last week but still a little high for prime fishing. Drifting weighted nymphs or streamers through the runs and pockets off the main current 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 1,650 cfs on Tuesday morning, down from last week but still too high for good fishing. 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) – Flows have declined by a fair bit on this section and clarity is good, but the river is still high. On Monday, flows were 1,600 cfs in the Buena Vista area and 1,850 in Browns Canyon. Flows are expected to decline significantly by the weekend. Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – Conditions have improved dramatically on the upper river since last week, especially in the reach above the Lake Creek confluence, where flows on Monday were 327 cfs. The Twin Lakes release is still high at 914 cfs, but it is clear water coming in to give a flow at Granite of 1,380 cfs. Golden and Yellow Sally stoneflies and caddis are coming off in this section. Arkansas River (Salida to Canon City) – The river continues to flow at a good clip, though it has receded some and clarity is good. On Monday, flows were 1,820 cfs at Wellsville and 2,110 at Parkdale. This should drop quite a bit by the weekend. Golden and Yellow Sally stoneflies with a smattering of caddis are on the menu at this time. 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 300 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. Some Trico mayfly activity also has been noted. Many of the fishermen 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. The water’s been off-color because of high flows from the Cimarron into Crystal Reservoir. Stoneflies still were providing action from Chukar up through Warner last week. Many anglers back to using typical nymphs, with some good caddis and PMD hatches. Try yellow and melon-quill patterns in sizes 16-18. Yellow Sallies have been fun, but are running out of steam. When in doubt, go deep. Gunnison River (through the canyon) – The flow in the Gunnison Gorge has been around 472 cfs. Caddis are still coming off, and Yellow Sallies, PMDs and flying ants are hot right now. Fishing has been great from the Smith Fork downstream to Pleasure Park. The North Fork now is low enough to wade. A commercial shuttle/return-boat service is still available through the Pleasure Park.
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