Fishing Report: Runoff likely to last into June, though conditions remain good
With the arrival of June, fishing across Colorado is in full swing. Early reports from anglers returning from the Memorial Day weekend indicate they found generally good fishing conditions, with the exception of most free-flowing rivers, which were in a runoff stage, running high and discolored. The runoff is likely to continue into June, but most believe it will be of relatively short duration. The Arkansas River had dropped and become significantly clearer by Tuesday, and other rivers such as the Gunnison also appear to have peaked.Reservoir levels, meanwhile, remain generally good, although some irrigation draw downs have begun. Brush Hollow Reservoir near Penrose, for example, has dropped dramatically during the past few weeks, and the boat ramp no longer is usable.Otherwise, all but the highest mountain lakes are free of ice. Mountain creeks and beaver ponds generally are accessible, though muddy conditions and snowdrifts may linger in some areas. By contrast, parts of the state remain very dry and fire bans remain in effect in some areas, especially along the southern Front Range.Free fishing daysAs part of the Division’s “Colorado Free Fishing Days” June 3-4, residents and nonresidents may fish any public water in the state without buying a fishing license. All other regulations, including daily bag and possession limits, method restrictions and habitat-stamp requirements will remain in place.The weekend is part of National Fishing and Boating Week, designed to introduce people, especially families, to the fun of fishing.”We want people to take advantage of this opportunity, held in conjunction with National Fishing and Boating Week, to try and get outdoors with their family and friends and give fishing a try,” said Robin Knox, the Division’s sportfish coordinator. “The more people we can introduce to the wonderful recreational opportunities we have in Colorado, the better it will be for Colorado’s natural resources in the future.”For the complete, statewide fishing report, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/Reports/StatewideConditions/.
Denver MetroClear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – Runoff has begun and the river is heavily silted. Some clear water may be found below Georgetown Lake. Fish No. 12-16 Copper Johns and bright-colored San Juan worms. Clear Lake – No current reports about the lake off Guanella Pass are available. The lake is stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout and also has brook trout and a few browns. Early season fishing can be good. South Platte River (Waterton Canyon) – Flows have been fairly constant. The water is clear, and fly fishermen have noted blue-wing-olive and midge activity. 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 are small Panther Martins, Mepps or Blue Fox spinners. Night crawlers are most effective in the unrestricted lower stretch. NorthwestBlue River (below Green Mountain Reservoir) – Releases have been cut back and flows below Green Mountain were at 60 cfs on Monday. Fishing is very good. With warm weather, watch for BWOs and duns, and the confluence will see a stonefly hatch by midweek. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Blue River (Dillon to Green Mtn. Res.) – Flows from Dillon Dam have dropped back to 104 cfs and will probably remain there until the reservoir fills, within the next couple of weeks. Once the reservoir fills, water over the spillway may increase the flows from 400 to 1,200 cfs. The warm water off the surface of the lake stimulates the hatches, BWOs, PMDs and Green Drakes. For now, it’s back to Mysis shrimp, midges, Baetis and nymphs. A few BWOs on the surface in the late afternoon and evening have been reported. Gulper Specials, Parachute Adams, Sparkle Baetis and Blue Duns should be working on the surface. Colorado River (below Parshall) – The stoneflies are hatching from Radium to Pumphouse and moving upstream. Above the confluence with Muddy Creek the water will be much clearer and the fishing there is very good. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle) – The Colorado River below Glenwood Springs is heavily discolored, unfishable and recently was flowing at 12,400 cfs. For daily river reports and fishing conditions contact the Taylor Creek Flyshop in Basalt at 970-927-4374. Colorado River (near Granby) – Streams will have color and increased flows during the runoff season. Egg patterns, San Juan worms, small nymphs, black midges, Woolly Buggers and Copper Johns have been working well. Also, look for signs of the beginning of different hatches. Stoneflies are coming on strong. Even though some parts of the Colorado are muddy, many places that are still are fishing well and are fairly clear. The stream flow below Windy Gap last weekend was down below 200 cfs. 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. For current conditions call Budget Tackle in Granby at (970) 887-9344.
Fryingpan River – The Frying Pan is fishing well though somewhat tough. Flows are decreasing after a peak flow of 800 cfs. Expect flows to stabilize later this week to around 250 cfs. Mysis shrimp are fishing very well, with an abundance of 5-pound-plus fish, including a 10-pound rainbow, being caught in the Flats last weekend. Hot patterns include stoneflies, Princes, 20-Inchers, SJ Worms, Sands’ Epoxy Mysis, Tim’s Mysis, Copper Johns, and Pheasant Tails. Call the Taylor Creek Flyshop in Basalt for daily river reports and fishing conditions at 970-927-4374. Grand Lake – The West Portal has been fishing well, as usual. The channel between Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Grand Lake also has been fishing well. Trolling can be productive. Kastmasters, Rapalas, and worm harnesses are popular. Please call Budget Tackle if you have any first-hand fishing reports. For current conditions call Budget Tackle in Granby at (970) 887-9344. Green Mountain Reservoir – The lake level is coming up about one foot a day. Shore fishing for rainbows is good using worms. Big lake trout have gone deeper. It’s best to have a boat and troll for them. Rifle Gap Reservoir – The lake is full. The water temperature is 60 degrees. The inlet above the lake still somewhat cloudy from snowmelt. In the reservoir, try deep-running lures or streamer flies for pike. Trout have been hitting Panther Martin spinners and streamer flies. Perch fishing is picking up using a No. 8 hook tipped with a small piece of worm. A few visitors caught walleyes last weekend. The boat ramp and docks are in the water. The catch-all in this lake seems to be a perch-imitation type of lure. For walleyes, use a deep-running lure or jig. The regulation on walleyes at Rifle Gap now reads, “Bag, possession limit and minimum size for walleyes is 3, 18 inches long.” The 2006 fishing regulations, fishing information and State Parks Annual passes are available at the visitor center. Rio Blanco Lake – Fishermen have been catching northern pike on red-and-white Daredevil-type spoons, and catfish on the traditional catfish baits. Bass fishing is improving, with fish taking yellow and chartreuse spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. For current conditions, call Wyatt’s Sporting Goods in Meeker at (970) 878-4428. Roaring Fork River – The upper Roaring Fork below Aspen is the crown jewel along the river right now. Flows are around 400 cfs and the water is mostly clear by the late afternoons into evening. The river below Snowmass is too high and muddy to fish effectively. Hot flies have been Poxybiot Stones, Wired Stones, Copper Johns, Z-Wing Caddis, Princes, 20-Inchers, BTS Baetis, and BLMs. Look for the lower stretch to improve in the next two weeks. Call the Taylor Creek Flyshop in Basalt for daily river reports and fishing conditions at 970-927-4374. White River – The river remains very high, discolored, fast and essentially unfishable for most of its length. Runoff conditions are likely to continue well into June. For conditions updates, call Wyatt’s Sporting Goods in Meeker at (970) 878-4428. Williams Fork Reservoir – With the lake level rapidly rising, big pike are in the shallows and lake trout are being caught in deeper water. Fish the fingers for trout and the flats for pike. Try off the points for big lakers; up in the inlet for good-sized trout. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Williams Fork River – With flows at 456 cfs, fishing remains good. BWOs and blue duns have produced some surface activity. The stonefly hatch should start midweek. For current conditions, call the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling at (970) 724-9407. Yampa River (Stagecoach through Steamboat) – The tailwater directly below Stagecoach Reservoir remains virtually the only fishable stream in the area. By Steamboat Springs, the river is very high and muddy. The river likely will be unfishable until late June. Call the Steamboat Fly Fishing Company at (970) 879-6552 for current conditions.
SoutheastArkansas River No.3 (Through Pueblo) – Flows were up through the weekend but dropped to 1,860 cfs on Tuesday. Fishing is difficult at that volume of flow, but some fish still can be taken on terrestrial patterns, streamers and San Juan worms. Flows are subject to irrigation demands and should vary widely through the summer. Call the Ark Anglers shop in Pueblo at (719) 543-3900 for current conditions. Frequent stocking of this stretch usually makes for excellent fishing. 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) – As of Tuesday, flows have dropped significantly – 1,450 cfs in this reach – and clarity has improved. Fish are feeding aggressively along the edges – try stonefly nymphs and dark streamers. Go to http://www.arkanglers.com for more information. Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – As of Tuesday, flows at Hayden Ranch were 480 cfs and 1,280 cfs at Granite. The drop in flows has made the river much more accessible and has improved clarity significantly. Fishing is good on the upper river. For more information, visit http://www.arkanglers.com. Arkansas River (Salida to Canon City) – Flows at Wellsville on Tuesday had dropped to 1,800 cfs and clarity is much improved. The stonefly season is at hand. Nymphing the edges with big patterns is highly effective. Go to http://www.arkanglers.com for updated reports. Clear Creek Reservoir – Fishing for trout from shore and boats remains fair to good on the usual array of baits and lures. Fly fishermen also have enjoyed some good activity, primarily around the inlet area. The lake typically produces very good fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and a few large brown trout. It also has kokanee salmon, mostly less than 13 inches with a few over 15, and fishing for them should be good in 2006. The water-supply reservoir was full last year and also will be filled to capacity in 2006. Eleven Mile Reservoir – The reservoir is open to boating ? hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. The bag and possession limit is 10 kokanee salmon and four trout, of which only two can be 16 inches or greater. No limit applies to northern pike. Trout action is good to excellent. Trout are beginning to leave spawning beds for deeper water. Hot-color Power Baits, various jigs and spoons, night crawlers, Kastmasters and Dardevles are working well. Pike fishing is poor, though improving, using Rapalas and sucker meat. Kokanee salmon action is fair from boats using Pop Geer, Kastmasters, and various trolling spoons. Gold and pink have been the best colors. South Platte River (btwn Spinney and Eleven Mile) – The river is open to catch-and-release fishing with artificial flies and lures. Fishing over the weekend was quite good on caddis-larvae patterns. Fishermen report seeing significantly fewer big fish in the river, indicating the trout spawning run is about over. Effective flies have been orange and yellow egg patterns, No. 18-20 Scuds, San Juan Worms, No. 20-22 Miracle Nymphs, No. 20-22 Black Beauties, and No. 18-22 Copper Johns. SouthwestGunnison River (below Crystal Dam) – The flow at the East Portal is about 699 cfs, but the water clarity is affected by record flows from Cimarron Creek that enter Crystal Reservoir and carry sediment through the dam. Despite that, fishing still has been good, even when the river is off-color. Egg patterns, scuds, BWOs, RS-2s, Adams, Parachute Adams, Pheasant Tails, Flashback Pheasant Tails and an assortment of different-colored midges have been the go-to patterns. As the spawning season winds down, anglers still should tread lightly on the redds. For current conditions call the Cimarron Creek Flyshop at 970-249-0408. Gunnison River (through the canyon) – The weekend flow was 709 cfs and the water was slightly off-color. Caddis are thick, and fishing is great. Top flies are stoneflies, Half-backs, red Copper Johns and Flashback Pheasant Tails. Pteronarcys stoneflies are evident at the confluence, and big black stoneflies are moving on the bottom. Heavy stonefly action is about a week away. Big Wooly Buggers are hot in the morning. Some dry-fly activity and emerging caddis also were reported. No motorized craft are allowed above the North Fork tributary. Other restrictions include: Gold Medal Water, catch-and-release, flies-and-lures only. No rainbow trout may be kept. The Gunnison River Pleasure Park is offering ferry service to help anglers access the upper river. Call 970-872-2525 for current information.
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