FISHING REPORT: Aspen-area rivers make for superb fishing right now
The Fryingpan River runs only 14 miles from Ruedi Reservoir to where it joins the Roaring Fork at Basalt, but fly casters from around the world come to catch its monster rainbows fattened on mysis shrimp and overlapping insect hatches. While rainstorms have clouded many waters in the state, the ‘Pan and two sister rivers are clear and providing great dry fly action.Current flow below Ruedi is an optimum 112 cfs. Will Sands of the Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt says there are good hatches of Pale Morning Duns on the entire river with an “awesome” Rusty Spinner fall toward dusk. As if that were not enough, Green Drakes are “slowly creeping upriver,” with the heaviest concentration between mile markers 6-12. And Caddis are providing good surface action on the lower river while Blue Wing Olives and Mysis Shrimp are doing the same upriver.If you tire of fishing only one river, the Roaring Fork is also clear and just the right level for float fishing. Flows are 434 cfs in Basalt and 790 cfs in Glenwood Springs. There are lots of Green Drakes on the upper river around Jaffe Park, with PMDs, Caddis and some Stoneflies on the lower river. Sands says nymphing is best from Carbondale down to Glenwood. Dries: Triple Deckers, Royal Wulffs, Stimulators and Rusty Spinners. Nymphs: Beadhead Princes, Pheasant Tails, BLMs, Beerhead Baetis, Angelcase BWOs, Electric Caddis, 20-Inchers, Sparkle Pupae and Woolly Buggers.If you want a 1-2-3 punch, fish the Crystal River as well. It flows more than 35 miles through very scenic terrain, with plenty of public access before it joins the Roaring Fork two miles below Carbondale. The flow there is 210 cfs and dry/droppers are most effective. Put a No. 12-14 Stimulator, H&L Variant, Royal Wulff or Yellow Humpy ahead of a BH Prince, Beadhead Pheasant Tail, BLM, Beerhead Baetis, Angelcase Emerger or 20-Incher and you’ll catch fish of 14-16 inches to your heart’s content.For the complete fishing report, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/dowfish/index.asp.Denver MetroClear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – Rain and dirty water has slowed fishing here but it should improve with better weather. Mornings are best when the water clears; try RS2s, Copper Johns and Brown Hackle Peacock flies.
Clear Lake – Rain has made this lake very unclear and few anglers are having success. If you want to try, use chartreuse or yellow Power Eggs. South Platte River (Waterton Canyon) – The river has been running high and off-color due to recent rainstorms. In the opening of the canyon where you can use bait, put half a nightcrawler on a small hook with two split shot about 18 inches above the hook. This has been pretty effective for rainbows and browns. A couple of miles upriver, switch to small Mepps spinners or a variety of dry flies, especially the Rio Grand King. NorthwestBlue River (below Green Mountain Reservoir) – Recent dam releases have raised flows to 276 cfs but the water is clearing and starting to fish really well. Anglers are scoring on rainbows and browns with Green Drakes and Caddis, with PMDs in the evening. Use No. 12-14 patterns for Drakes, No. 14-16 for Caddis. Hoppers also provide great action, along with San Juan Worms, Pheasant Tails and Prince Nymphs. The tailwater beneath the dam is subject to periodic security closures and is currently only open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are three other public accesses on BLM land downriver to the confluence with the Colorado, but they are narrow and anglers are warned to stay off adjoining private property. Blue River (Dillon to Green Mtn. Res.) – The flow from Dillon Reservoir is up at 110 cfs. In Silverthorne, many fish are still being hooked on small flies in the No. 18-22 range such as cream WD-40s, Miracle Nymphs, Disco Midges, Candy Canes and Mysis shrimp. Fishing between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. is best, with dries after noon. Green Drakes are on the decline in the stretch from Blue River Campground to Green Mountain Reservoir, but they have been replaced by good Caddis and PMD hatches. Drakes in the tailwater below Dillon dam are still to come and will provide great dry fly action when they arrive. Colorado River (below Parshall) – Flow is 851 cfs near Kremmling. Increased flows from the Williams Fork River have cooled water temperatures and improved trout fishing. Main hatches are caddis with lots of hoppers and a few Pale Morning Duns. Use No. 14-16 Tan Caddis, RS2s, Prince Nymphs and No. 10-12 Joe’s Hoppers. Also try No. 18 baetis nymphs. Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle) – Recent rains have muddied the river around Glenwood Springs, where flow is 2,150 cfs. Fishing is significantly better from New Castle down to Silt. Best time is in the morning using Trico and Rusty Spinners. Colorado River (near Granby) – Rain showers have cooled the water some but flows are low, 64 cfs near Granby, and temperatures remain uncomfortably high for trout. Try not to stress trout until increased flows cool things down. The Colorado has been enjoying a profusion of overlapping hatches by Drakes, PMDs, Caddis, Yellow Sallies and hoppers. Recommended flies include Parachute Adams, various green/olive styles , Stimulators, Woolly Buggers, Irresistibles and terrestrials. In the immediate Granby area and downstream to the bridge at the west end of Byers Canyon, bait fishing is also permitted and two fish may be kept. Elkhead Reservoir – Fishing is very good for crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass, especially around the inlet. The smallmouth bass population has been augmented by 1,300 fish removed from the Yampa River to safeguard native and endangered fish species such as the Colorado pikeminnow. Bass are hitting on tubes, Marabou jigs and jigheads with Twister tails. Crappie here run big, up to 14 inches, and are being caught on one-inch tubes and small jigs. Pike fishing has slowed but a few are still being caught at the inlet where they are feeding on crappie. Some nice catfish of up to 12 pounds have also been caught at the inlet and by the dam. The limit for smallmouth and largemouth bass is two fish at least 15 inches long. Fryingpan River – The ‘Pan is clear with a great flow of 112 cfs below Ruedi Reservoir. There are good hatches of Pale Morning Duns on the entire river with an awesome Rusty Spinner fall towards dusk. Green Drakes are slowly creeping upriver, most heavily concentrated between mile markers 6-12. Caddis are still providing action on the lower river, and Blue Wing Olives and Mysis Shrimp on the upper river. The best patterns have been Pink PMD Sparkleduns, Harrops Thorax PMD, Rusty Spinners, Harrops Parachute Spinner, Green Drake Sparkleduns, Green Drake Cripples and Winged Green Drakes. For nymphs use Poxyback PMDs, Hunchback PMDs, Pheasant Tails, Green Drake Poxybacks, Winged Drake Emergers, 20-Inchers, Princes, Will’s and Tim’s Mysis Shrimp.
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