FISHING REPORT: On the Blue, Drake hatch hits its peak |

FISHING REPORT: On the Blue, Drake hatch hits its peak

Daily News staff report
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Denverite Jim Chandler said "practically every cast I was getting a hit" on his small, red and gold spinner while fishing in Dillon's East Bay recently.

Green Drakes, Caddis, Yellow Sallies and Blue Wing Olives are providing great dry fly fishing on the Blue River. Barry Kirkpatrick at Cutthroat Anglers in Silverthorne says the Drake hatch is at its peak right now, stretching 8-9 miles downriver from the first public access outside town to the Eagles Nest State Wildlife Area, which adjoins the National Forest Access at the Blue River Campground.The Drakes peter out beyond Eagles Nest but Caddis, BWOs and Yellow Sallies are hatching all the way to Green Mountain Reservoir. The best fishing is on cool, cloudy days; action slows when bright sun hits the water. In cloudy weather the Drakes start coming off in mid-morning. On sunny days they will only come off in late afternoon. Likewise, the best time to fish Caddis is when the egg-layers become active in late afternoon and evening.Kirkpatrick recommends starting off the day with a dry/dropper rig featuring a No. 10-12 Colorado Green Drake or Lawson’s Green Drake trailed by a No. 14 Epoxyback Green Drake nymph, Olive Hare’s Ear or green Copper John. When the hatch is in full swing switch to a double-dry rig with a big Drake in front trailed by a Spotlight Emerger or Green Drake Cripple. One of his tricks: “Don’t dress the trailer. Even though it’s a dry fly, let it get wetter and wetter until it eventually sinks.”For the other hatches use No. 16 Yellow Caddis and even smaller BWO patterns.Fishing at many warm-water impoundments is slowing down as temperatures rise, but Horseshoe Reservoir in Lathrop State Park is still in the high 60s and yielding “an amazing variety of gamefish,” says park manager John Brandstatter. They include daily catches of tiger muskies, lunker largemouth and smallmouth bass and catfish of up to 30 pounds.”Our muskies are in the 50-inch range,” said Brandstatter – which puts them close to the state record of 53 inches. A cross between a northern pike and muskellunge, tigers are savage top-water fighters with teeth that require steel leaders. They like bright, aggressively colored lures 7 to 9 inches long such as the Mepps Muskie Killer, Mepps Cyclops, Dardevle Cop-e-Cat, jointed Rapala or an AC plug in fire engine red, fluorescent orange, chartreuse or dark green. Besides tiger muskies, Horseshoe is famous for big largemouth bass, which average 16-20 inches with many even larger. But Dave Brown of Colorado Springs says smallmouth bass fishing “is probably at its best.” He caught several over 16 inches last week; the largest 18 inches and weighing 3 pounds 13 ounces. For the complete DOW fishing report, go to

Denver MetroClear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – A fun area for fly fishermen. Fish away from the road near the tunnels. Use hoppers, Caddis flies and Renegades. Best time is late morning and evening when water is cooler. Clear Lake – Some fat stocked rainbows are being caught here on Power Bait and red salmon eggs. This is a beautiful lake above Georgetown, best fished in the morning. South Platte River (Waterton Canyon) – Fishing gets better the farther up the canyon you go. Start with beadhead nymphs and streamers in the mornings switch to Mayfly patterns in the afternoon. Small Tormentor and Rapala lures also work well for spincasters. NorthwestBlue River (below Green Mountain Reservoir) – Flow is 50-60 cfs and hatches include Pale Morning Duns, Caddis and a few Green Drakes. Fishing immediately beneath the dam is very good using No. 12-14 Drake patterns, No. 16-18 PMDs and No. 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis. Action slows with the water flow further downriver. Hopper patterns and San Juan Worms work well when there are no hatches. 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.) – Green Drakes are hatching downriver from outside the town of Silverthorne to the Eagles Nest SWA. Caddis, BWOs and Yellow Sallies are also coming off all the way to Green Mountain Reservoir. The best fishing is on cool, cloudy days; action slows when bright sun hits the water. On cloudy days look for Drake hatches to begin mid-morning; on sunny days they will only start in late afternoon. The best time to fish Caddis also is late afternoon to evening when the egg-layers become active. Flows are low and slow below Dillon Reservoir but fish are still being caught in town on small flies in the No. 18-22 range: cream WD-40s, Miracle Nymphs, Discos, Candy Canes and Mysis Shrimp. Colorado River (below Parshall) – Flow is 377 cfs near Kremmling, the river is clear and fishing is very good with Caddis, Pale Morning Duns and a few Yellow Sallies. Use No. 14-16 Tan Caddis, No. 16-18 Buckskins, No. 18-20 PMDs, No. 14-16 Golden Stones and No. 16 Yellow Sallies. There are also plenty of Baetis nymphs, No. 18-20, so go wet if dries fail. At Pumphouse use No. 10-12 hoppers. Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle) – The Colorado is clear green and fishing very well, best done from a drift boat. Dry/dropper rigs work best but some large fish are also being caught on Caddis dries and Stonefly nymphs, red Copper Johns and Autumn Splendors, fished deep. Best time to catch the Caddis hatch is late afternoon into dusk. Other good flies include Royal Wulffs, Yellow Humpies, Hoppers and TC Yellow Sallies. Flow through Glenwood Springs is 2,150 cfs. Colorado River (near Granby) – Flow is 233 cfs and the river is enjoying a profusion of overlapping hatches by Drakes, PMDs, Caddis, Yellow Sallies and hoppers. Recommended flies include Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, 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. 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. The bass are hitting on tube baits, 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 in shallow water from boat and shore. Pike fishing has slowed some but remains fair to good. Buzzbaits, Rapalas and Mepps Black Furies all catch pike. The limit for smallmouth and largemouth bass is two fish at least 15 inches long

Fryingpan River – Anglers are enjoying superb fishing here. The ‘Pan is clear and running at 112 cfs below Ruedi Reservoir. Green Drakes are out in good numbers on the middle and lower river, especially between mile posts 2-8. Hatch is from noon until 4 p.m. Good Drake patterns include Sparkledun Drakes, BDE Drakes, Winged Green Drakes, 20-Inchers, Poxyback Drakes and Winged Drake Emergers. Pink and yellow PMDs are also hatching in profusion on the entire river. Use No. 16-18 Sparkleduns, CDC Biot Duns, Cripples, Halfback Emergers, Hunchback PMDs and Pheasant Tails. BWOs are still out in the first mile or two below the dam, and Caddis on the lower river. Grand Lake – Trout fishing for rainbows and browns remains good at the river inlet, near the east boat ramp and around the connecting channel mouth. Panther Martins and many other spinners catch fish, as do salmon eggs, worms and Power Bait. Some lake trout are being caught on sucker meat and large spoons. The lake level remains full. Bag and possession limit for lake trout is 4 fish, only one of which can be over 36 inches. Green Mountain Reservoir – Fishing continues to be slow. Anglers have caught a few German brown and cutthroat trout on Panther Martin spinners but nightcrawlers and Power Bait are more effective. Lake trout are deep and elusive. Boaters are using red or green Wedding Rings to catch kokanee. Rifle Gap Reservoir – Lake level is 48 feet below capacity but there is still 20 feet of boat ramp access. Perch fishing remains excellent with worms. Use just enough worm to cover the hook as the fish are only 8-9 inches long. Trout fishing is good in the evening along the southeast and west end of the lake. The best baits are worms, popcorn shrimp or Power Bait. Upstream at Rifle Falls, brown and rainbow trout bite well in late afternoon and evening on mosquito and hopper patterns. Rio Blanco Lake – Pike fishing is very good, as this lake’s local pike population has been augmented by fish removed from the Yampa River. Northerns of up 38 inches are being caught here regularly on cut bait and silver spoons. Crappie fishing has slowed but bluegill are biting well on small white and yellow jigs with Twister tails. Roaring Fork River – Green Drakes are hatching daily along with PMDs, Caddis and Blue Wing Olives. The whole river is clear with great visibility, flowing at 680 cfs in Basalt and 1,090 cfs in Glenwood Springs. Best fishing is on cloudy days. Use No. 10-12 Drake patterns, No. 16-20 Caddis and PMDs, No. 22-24 BWOs and don’t forget the evening spinner fall. Recommended flies include Royal Wulffs, Green Drake Sparkle Duns, H&L Variants, BDE Drakes, Pink PMD Sparkleduns, BH Princes, 20-Inchers, Lite Brite Caddis and BH Pheasant Tails. White River – Fly fishing is excellent with Green Drakes, Caddis, Grizzly Wulff, Yellow Humpy and Irresistibles. Also try Adams, yellow Stimulators, black Woolly Buggers and Royal Coachmen. Flow is 400 cfs at Buford and 365 cfs at Meeker. Williams Fork Reservoir – Anglers are catching a lot of trout in the inlet using No. 7 Rapalas in rainbow trout, black and silver or red and white colors. Pike fishing is good using red and white Dardevles or whole shiners. Quite a few lunkers have been pulled out of the fingers on the west side. Kokanee are hitting well on trolled Needlefish and Wedding Rings in 20-22 feet of water. Lake trout have moved into much deeper water and few have been caught lately. Williams Fork River – Running very low and fishing is only fair. Caddis and Pale Morning Duns are hatching regularly but fish are spooky because of the clear water. Yampa River (Stagecoach through Steamboat) – Fishing is good in the tailwater below Stagecoach Reservoir with midges, PMDs and evening Caddis keeping the fish feeding. Nymphs: No. 20 Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Copper Johns, black RS-2 or Barr’s emergers. Dries: Parachutes, Sparkle Duns and PMD Emergers. Flow in downtown Steamboat Springs is 89 cfs with hatches of PMDs, Yellow Sallies and Caddis. Dry fly action in the evenings has been good with PMD dries and emergers, No. 16 Pablo’s PMD Cripple, Chuck’s Trude and yellow Stimulators. For dry/dropper rigs, try a Hare’s Ear and Prince Nymph, Timmy’s Nymphanator, Green Caddis pupa below a big Hopper or Cricket pattern. Several river sections are restricted to flies and lures only and/or catch-and-release. Call the Steamboat Fishing Company at 970-879-6552 for the latest conditions.

SoutheastArkansas River No. 3 (Through Pueblo) – Flows beneath Pueblo Dam are moderately high but relatively clear, and fishing for trout is fair to good. Arkansas River (Buena Vista to Salida) – Flows are around 600 cfs and sediment from last week’s rain has mostly cleared out of the Big Bend area. Stoneflies are starting to taper off. Pale Morning Duns are producing isolated but good hatches on bright days and terrestrials are kicking into gear. Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – The river is clear, flowing at 72 cfs and very wadeable in this reach. There is still some Stonefly activity with Pale Morning Duns hatching on bright days and Gray Drakes above the confluence with Lake Creek. Arkansas River (Salida to Canon City) – Flows are 530-540 cfs with good clarity. Some sand is still flushing out from a flash flood at Big Bend. Fishing has been good. Stoneflies are tapering off and terrestrials are coming on. Good Pale Morning Dun hatches on bright afternoons. Clear Creek Reservoir – The reservoir has been stocked and fishing has improved. The water level is good and boaters do best trolling along the upper end of the lake and near the dam face. Shore casters do best on the north shore using yellow Power Bait with glitter. Elevenmile Reservoir – Trout fishing has been good on the south side and the north side is improving. Boaters do best at the east end of the lake with Rapalas, Panther Martins, Tasmanian Devils, rainbow-patterned Cowbells and Arnies tipped with night crawlers. Shorecasters are scoring at Lazy Boy, Witchers Cove, Howbert Point and the north shore using white, green, orange or rainbow Power Bait and marshmallows. Kokanee salmon are hitting on Needlefish, Arnies, Panther Martins, Dick Nites, Tasmanian Devils and Kastmasters in the middle of the lake between Duck and Goose islands. Pike are being caught in weedy coves on sucker meat, Black Bunnies and black and silver Rapalas. South Platte River (btwn Spinney and Elevenmile) – Flow is 199 cfs and fishing is very good with hatches of Callibaetis and Damselflies. Use No. 18-22 Chironomids, UFOs, Brassies, No. 16 Red Copper Johns, Black Beauties, Griffith’s Gnats, Trico Duns, No. 16 Light Tan Hare’s Ear, Tube Callibaetis, Pheasant Tails, Red Midge Larvae, No. 14 Callibaetis or No. 12 Borger or Stallcup Damsel. SouthwestGunnison River (below Crystal Dam) – Flow has risen again to a nearly seasonal average of 766 cfs. Midges, PMDs and Caddis are still working on top, and fish are taking hoppers when nothing is hatching. A double-nymph rig works best during non-hatch periods. Consider a midge pupa or larva if things really slow down. Mornings fish best but late afternoons can be productive if you fish the shade lines. Dries: No. 14 Stimulator and Elk Hair Caddis, Caddis, PMD Adams and Hoppers. Nymphs: No. 10 Halfback, Befus Wired Stone or 20-Incher; No. 20-26 midges (larva, pupa and emerger phases), Pheasant Tails, Flashback PTs and beadhead versions, Copper Johns and Woolly Buggers. Call the Cimarron Creek Fly Shop at 970-249-0408 for updates. Gunnison River (through the canyon) – Flow through the canyon is 766 cfs and fishing is good through the Gorge. Most of the fish being caught are browns. Hottest flies right now are No. 14-16 Yellow Humpies or larger Hopper patterns with a No. 16-18 Copper John dropper in red or chartreuse. Caddis, Yellow Sallies, Golden Stones, Stimulators and San Juan Worms also work. Increased flows have raised the water level to where jet boats are back in business, though no motorized craft are allowed above the confluence of the North Fork and Gunnison Rivers. Other restrictions: Gold Medal Water, catch-and-release, flies and lures only. No rainbows may be kept and the bag limit on brown trout is one over 16 inches and three under 12 inches.

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