Fishing Report: Most popular weekend of year approaches
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 the entire year.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 as a quick escape or a mini vacation, the upcoming holiday offers some potentially good fishing opportunities. With some exceptions, conditions are prime.All but the highest lakes are free of ice. Trout and kokanee salmon are active, and the period soon after ice-out may be the best of the entire year to catch a mackinaw in relatively shallow water.Mountain creeks and beaver ponds generally are open and accessible, although snowdrifts and muddy conditions may hamper access in some locations. Many creeks also are high and discolored from melting snow and difficult to fish.High flows are evident even on some tailwaters such as the South Platte River below Cheesman Dam and the Blue below Dillon and Green Mountain dams. Volumes also are up on the upper Colorado, Williams Fork and Muddy Creek, among others. On the other extreme, flows in the South Platte below Elevenmile and Spinney Mountain reservoirs remained extremely low early in the week, but with reservoirs filling up, soon could increase significantly. The Colorado Wildlife Commission recently approved some changes to the fishing regulations that are not included in the 2007 fishing brochure. They went into effect on May 1.On the lower Blue River, catch-and-release provisions were enacted from Green Mountain Dam to the Colorado River. On the upper Blue and its Swan River tributary, long-standing closures in the fall to protect spawning brown trout from Dillon Reservoir have been removed.For the complete, statewide fishing report, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/fishing/reports/seasonalreport/.NorthwestBlue River (below Green Mountain Reservoir) – Flows below Green Mountain Dam have gone up, and late on Monday were 1,150 cfs, more than double of a week ago. 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 been flowing at 720 cfs. This is big water for the Blue. When that happens, the number of Mysis shrimp in the system increases exponentially. Many of the giant rainbows, cutthroats, and browns that generally reside in the no-fishing zone will move down into town and feed with reckless abandon. Fish with San Juan Worms, large Mysis shrimp, egg patterns, red midges and larger nymphs. When flows go up on the Blue, many anglers are standing where they should be fishing. Walk the banks and look for fish feeding in the soft pockets along the edges of the river. When you find a pod of fish, cast from the bank. North of Silverthorne, conditions are starting to deteriorate from tributary creeks. Colorado River (below Parshall) – Flows at Parshall, below the Williams Fork confluence, had gone up to 987 cfs Monday afternoon. Near Kremmling, the volume was 2,270 cfs. With significantly higher flows, fishing is more difficult and the water generally is discolored but on a given day, the river above Parshall still may be fishably clear. Larger nymph and streamer patterns still may take some trout in edge water, and spin-fishermen might do OK on Mepps and Panther Martin spinners. Colorado River (near Granby) – Recent flows have been 507 cfs below Windy Gap and 524 near Parshall. The river is discolored in all but its immediate tailwater sections, but fishing San Juan worms, egg patterns, large nymphs and streamers still may be effective. The annual stonefly hatch is expected soon. Spinner and spoon-type lures also are working. 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. Fryingpan River – Flows have been hovering around 130 cfs below Ruedi Reservoir, where the water has been clear, cold and conducive to good hatches of BWOs and caddis. Midges and mysis shrimp continue to fool fish along the top mile below the dam, as well. The prime time has been 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Light tippets of 6x and 7x are mandatory to be successful. The river above the reservoir recently was stocked and has been fishing well with Woolly Buggers, Princes and Flashtop Coachmen.Green Mountain Reservoir – The water level still is coming up and is down only about 15 vertical feet. Fishing is good from the shore and boats. Night crawlers, sucker meat and silver or gold spinning lures are the preferred items. SoutheastArkansas River (Buena Vista to Salida) – Flows are high but stable on the Arkansas, and should recede with this week’s cooler weather. Flows on Monday were 1,660 cfs at Buena Vista and 1,740 cfs in Browns Canyon. Visibility varies, but has been about 24 inches, on average, along the edges. Because of current velocity and visibility, most fish are holding tight to the banks or on the bottom of slower pools. Fishing right on the edge or bumping the bottom is key – use a dry-dropper rig with stonefly patterns or a double nymph/streamer-nymph rig for deeper situations. Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – Flows on Monday were 480 cfs in Hayden Meadows, 1,400 cfs at Granite and 1,660 cfs above Buena Vista. Clarity is fair to good, with the better water below the clear inflow from Twin Lakes. Tributary flows are dropping while dam releases remain stable, so this week should show real improvement in conditions. Large dark stoneflies have been emerging on the upper river – use large Prince Nymphs, 20-Inchers and dark stones for the nymphs. On the surface, try a large peacock Parachute Madam X or Stimulator. Fishing close to the edge, where fish can hold position, is the most important factor to success. Spinney Mountain Reservoir – Fishing at Spinney is by artificial flies and lures only, with a bag and possession limit of one trout at least 20 inches long. The action is improving as water temperatures rise. The water level continues to rise and the upper end seems a little roily. Fishing has been good throughout the day, with average trout catches in the 18- to 22-inch range. The most successful flies have been scud patterns, various streamers and white jigs. As usual, marabou jigs are hot. 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.
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