FISHING REPORT: Trout are hopping on secluded White River
The White River provides some of the best trout fishing in northwest Colorado and while other more famous streams are prone to overcrowding, this one definitely is not. Resort towns are sparse in that part of the state, fishing pressure is low, there’s plenty of public access and a slew of campgrounds between Meeker and Trappers Lake.Brown trout, rainbows and whitefish inhabit the lower river from Meeker roughly to the boundary of the White River National Forest, which is where cutthroats join the mix. The fish average 10 to 14 inches but 16-inchers are not uncommon and fish over 20 inches are not unheard of. Right now they’re feeding on Green Drakes, Caddis, Yellow Sallies, small black and brown Mayflies and grasshoppers.One angler fishing with a No. 14 Elk Hair Caddis last week caught more than 20 rainbows of up to 16-1/2 inches in three hours. Stan Wyatt of Wyatt’s Sporting Goods in Meeker reports that others have been scoring with large Drakes, Grizzly Wulffs, Yellow Humpies and Irresistibles. Also try Adams, yellow Stimulators, black Woolly Buggers, Royal Coachmen and, if all else fails, hoppers.The White has nine public access points between Meeker and Trappers Lake, starting with a downtown stretch of riverfront from City Park to the 10th Street Bridge. Moving upriver along County Road 8, other accesses by name and mile marker are Nelson Prather (2.2), Wakara Ranches (4.6), Sleepy Cat (17), Lake Avery Unit (19), Bel-Aire Unit (21) and three in the White River Forest at mile markers 30.5, 36.3 and 43.Field Reports Wanted – Holger Jensen, the DOW fishing report coordinator, welcomes field reports from individual anglers. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.For the full report, visit http:.//http://wildlife.state.co.us/dowfish/index.aspDenver MetroClear Creek (above Hwy. 119) – Water is still a little cloudy after last week’s rain but quite fishable. Flyfishers are using gold-ribbed Hares Ears, Pheasant Tails or RS2 nymphs. Lure casters do best with small Mepps or Panther Martin spinners. Clear Lake – The north side of the lake is fishing well for smaller rainbows and brookies. Nightcrawlers and salmon eggs work best on these fish. South Platte River (Waterton Canyon) – Flyfishers are doing well with nymphs below the dam. Some of the deeper holes are producing fish up to 18 inches. RS2s, Flashbacks and Brassies work best. Dries are a little iffy but Blue Duns and ant patterns are taking some fish. The unrestricted lower stretch also is fishing well with small Mepps spinners or nightcrawlers. 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, PMDs and Caddis are all coming off downriver towards Green Mountain Reservoir. Cutthroat Anglers in Silverthorne is getting numerous reports of anglers enjoying excellent fishing on the Blue. If water clouds up in the afternoons, throw bigger Beadheads and San Juan Worms. In town, many fish are still being hooked on small flies in the No. 18-22 range: cream WD-40s, Miracle Nymphs, Discos, Candy Canes and Mysis Shrimp. Fishing between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. has been the best, with dries after noon. Many larger fish have been spotted in the higher reaches below the dam. Be persistent as these fish are notoriously picky. Colorado River (below Parshall) – Flow is 328 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. Recent float trips have yielded many nice rainbows and browns in the 16 to 22-inch range. There are good midday hatches of Yellow Sallies and Caddis from late afternoon into dusk. Nymphing has been the most productive method with No. 12-16 BH Princes, BH Yellow Sallies and BH P-Tails. Other good flies include Royal Wulffs, Yellow Humpies, Hoppers and TC Yellow Sallies. Plenty of split shot is required when nymphing. Tuesday flows through Glenwood Springs were 2,620 cfs. Colorado River (near Granby) – Runoff has increased with daily rain showers, but the river remains very fishable at 322 cfs. Nymphs and midges still work and surface action is starting to pick up with Parachute Adams and Elk Hairs leading the way. Dry/dropper rigs, using Stimulators or Wooly Buggers as indicators work well. Irresistibles also work and larger patterns are getting hits. Many different hatches are now in progress including Drakes, PMDs, Caddis and Yellow Sallies. 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. 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 114 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 til 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 – Anglers are catching a few lake trout, rainbows and kokanee but fishing is generally slow. Power Bait has taken a few lakers. Rainbows are hitting on worms and salmon eggs. Boaters are scoring on kokanee with Tasmanian Devils and Needlefish. The hot colors are pink, red or green. Rifle Gap Reservoir – The lake level is 45 feet below capacity but there is still 25 feet of boat ramp access. Perch fishing has been fantastically good. The fish average 8-9 inches but they have been biting like crazy on worms. The trick is to not use too much worm but just enough to cover the hook. One sizeable perch won the fisherman a Master Angler Award on July 4. Trout fishing has been slow, although some are still being caught at the southeast and west end of the reservoir. The best baits are worms, popcorn shrimp or Power Bait. The best time is at night when the water cools. Upstream at Rifle Falls, brown and rainbow trout bite well in the afternoons on black flies and worms. Mosquito flies are also doing well. 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 smaller stoneflies. The whole river is clear with great visibility, flowing at 747 cfs in Basalt and 1,540 cfs in Glenwood. Best fishing time has been afternoon til dark. Good patterns 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. Stephen Nash reports that rainbows are really hitting on No. 14 Elk Hair Caddis; he caught more than 20 fish of up to 16-1/2 inches in a three-hour period. Also try Adams, yellow Stimulators, black Woolly Buggers and Royal Coachmen. Flow is 543 at Buford and 433 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, evening Caddis and Pale Morning Duns. Nymphs: No. 20 Beadhead Pheasant Tail, Copper Johns, black RS-2 or Barr’s emergers. Dries: Parachutes, Sparkle Duns and PMD Emergers.
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