Misunderstood Poudre River in Greeley is emerging as hot spot
GREELEY – The Poudre River, in the opinion of Greeley fisherman Giles Alkire, “is one of the most misunderstood and underfished rivers in Colorado.”
But those who know it – and the owner of Alkire’s Sporting Goods in Greeley knows it very well – routinely catch 3 to 5 pound trout. Now is the best time to catch them, he says, because flows are stable, the water is clear and the fish are feeding on a profusion of bugs ranging from midges to grasshoppers.
The river frustrates many anglers because lures, flies and bait that work well in the lower levels are only marginal in the middle stretch and almost worthless in the upper reaches. There are three reasons for this:
First, the Poudre drops 5,000 feet in just 55 miles from its headwaters on the Continental Divide to the mouth of Poudre Canyon, west of Fort Collins. Second, it changes with every influx of water from four main tributaries: the Little South Fork, Big South Fork, North Fork and Joe Wright Creek. Third, fish counts indicate that 75 percent of the fish in the river are German browns.
But creel counts indicate that 90 percent of fish caught are rainbows. In other words, although there are more of them, anglers aren’t catching many of the bigger and smarter browns.
Alkire recommends bait fishing the lower section from Ted’s Place, at the intersection of Highways 287 and 14, to the Ansel Watrous Campground. Use worms, Power Bait or salmon eggs and fish the deep pools and pockets. Switch to nymphs, streamers and other wet flies in the middle section from the campground to Indian Meadows. Try gold-ribbed Hare’s Ears, Prince Nymphs, Zug Bugs, Hornbergs, Matukas and Hoppers.
Use small nymphs and dry flies in the upper section: Elk Hair Caddis, Mosquito, Royal Wulff, Irresistible, Float-n-Fool. Both the middle and upper sections can also be fished with lures – Panther Martins and Mepps Black Furies in the middle river, smaller Panthers, Roostertails, Mepps Aglia and Vibrax further upriver.
There is plenty of public access off Highway 14, which parallels the river.
Use a Roosevelt National Forest Map to locate campgrounds and identify public and private land.
COLORADO DIVISION OF WILDLIFE FISHING REPORT
Blue River (below Green Mountain Reservoir) – The river is seeing cooler temperatures below the reservoir and at the confluence with the Colorado River. Pale Morning Duns, caddis and mosquitoes are also hatching. Best flies are #16-18 Caddis, hoppers and small midge patterns. Try a Joe’s Hopper with a WD40 or RS2 dropper. Lure fishermen do best with Panther Martin spinners in yellow with red spots and Blue Fox Super Vibrax in frog colors. Warning: the stretch of public water immediately below the dam is only open to fishing from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Sheriff’s deputies are enforcing the weekday closure.
Blue River (Dillon to Green Mountain Reservoir) – The Blue continues to fish well. With consistent flows (110 cfs) and stable water temperatures (40 degrees at Dillon dam)conditions are near perfect. Mysis Shrimp, Black Beauties, Miracle Nymphs, RS2s and a variety of baetis nymphs produce all day. In the afternoon, PMD and Green Drake hatches dominate the dry fly action. From Silverthorne to Green Mountain, use hopper/dropper combos. Hoppers, Drakes, simulators, Trudes, followed by Drake nymphs, Olive Hare’s Ears, Copper Johns, Prince Nymphs and streamers work well throughout the day but especially well from late afternoon til after dark.
Colorado River (below Parshall) – Flow is 1,050 cfs. The river is clear and increased flows have lowered water temperatures, but the best time to fish is still early in the morning before the heat of the day. Anglers are catching a lot of fish on dries and emergers. Try Caddis #14-16, Adams #18-20, RS-2 and WD40. Lure fishermen do best with Roostertails in brown trout colors and Panther Martins with gold spinners and yellow and red spots on the body. Lot of nice browns are being caught in the Gore canyon above the pump house. There is also excellent trout action on the public waters below Parshall.
Colorado River (Glenwood to Rifle) – The river is running at 2100 cfs in Glenwood Springs, off-color and murky, making fishing quite tough. Caddis and Yellow Sallies with a few PMDs make up the bulk of the hatches. With higher water temperatures lately, make sure to land fish quickly and fully revive them before release.
Colorado River (near Granby) – Fishing remains good with dragonflies, damsels, hoppers and Adams [just about all patterns]. Early morning is the best time.
Fryingpan River – Flow is slow and clear. There have been some good hatches of PMDs lately with Green Drakes a close second. The drakes are all the way up the river now with mile markers 8-12 being the most consistent. Great Rusty Spinner falls towards dusk have provided good dry fly fishing. Baetis, mysis and midges are also active on the upper river.
Green Mountain Reservoir – Shore fishing is slow but boaters are doing well on kokanee schooled about 14 feet deep. Some weekend anglers would have done even better if they had remembered to bring landing nets. The salmon are big and hitting on hot pink Kokanee Kings, Arnies and Wedding Rings.
Roaring Fork River – Good hatches of Green Drakes from Old Snowmass to Aspen. Caddis, Yellow Sallies and PMDs are the main hatches and the best dry fly fishing is early and late in the day. Nymph at midday. Use a dry/dropper combo in the faster water such as riffles, tailouts of pools and edges/seams.
Shadow Mountain Reservoir – Rainbows and some kokanee are being caught on crawlers, Power Bait (green is still best), Panther Martins and other spinners. Early morning is the best time. Spillway action is slowing but a few fish are still being caught on flies. Green Power Bait works best for bait
White River – River is flowing low and clear and fishing very well. In the mornings use #14-16 Pale Morning Dun. Later in the day switch to big hopper patterns, and in the evening switch again to Elk Hair Caddis or Colorado Caddis. Nymphs: Copper Johns, Beadhead Prince Nymphs and Beadhead Pheasant Tails. Spincasters do best with black and yellow Panther Martins with a gold blade or a Blue Fox in copper or blue/silver.
Williams Fork Reservoir – The water level is beginning to drop but the boat ramps are still usable. Fishing for lake trout has slowed but a few macks are still being caught on sucker meat and large spoons at the inlet. For kokanee, troll lures with a metallic perch or fire tiger color at 16 to 20-foot depths. Rainbow and brown trout are hitting Panther Martins and Super Vibrax Rapalas in silver and black or perch colors. Pike action is very good early in the morning on the flats by the three rocks or the fingers on the east side of the lake. Best lure is a #7 Rapala in silver and black or sucker meat. Flyfishers are also catching pike with large streamers, #4 or larger, in bright colors.
Williams Fork River – Flow is 240 cfs and trout are hitting on #14-16 Caddis and PMDs, #16-18 Black Gnats and #18-22 Mosquitoes. Subsurface: #22 Prince Nymph, Zebra Midge, RS2 or WD40. Lure fishermen are doing well with frog-colored #1 Panther Martins and chartreuse Roostertails.
Arkansas River (Buena Vista to Salida) – Fishing is good with afternoon thunderstorms sometimes discoloring the water. Hoppers, caddis, and beadhead nymphs are still the bugs to use on this section, along with stimulators and Royal Wulffs.
Arkansas River (Leadville to Buena Vista) – Afternoons fish best on this section of the Arkansas. Use Caddis, smaller attractor flies #14-16, Royal Wulffs, stimulators. Beadhead nymphs #16-18 are also effective; use Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Prince Nymph and Caddis Pupa. Water clarity on this section has not been an issue.
Arkansas River (Salida to Canon City) – Afternoon thunderstorms continue to play havoc with water clarity in this section. Has been clear for several days now. Hoppers, stimulators, Wulffs and caddis. Flow has dropped to 315 cfs at Wellsville and should stay that way for a while.
Clear Creek Reservoir – Water level is low but the boat ramp is still accessible. Fishing is good all around the reservoir but boat fishermen do best casting dry flies along the south shore.
Elevenmile Reservoir – Fishing is still fairly good lakewide. Hotspots for trout this week are Witcher’s Cove, Howbert Point, Rodger’s Mountain and the rocky areas along North Shore. Worms and Power Bait in rainbow, yellow or white colors work best, Kokanee are moving around the lake right now and fishing for them from boats has slowed somewhat. A rare few Kokanee are being caught near the shoreline by belly boaters around Coyote Ridge. Pike fishing is still slow.
Twin Lakes – Fishing is very good for rainbow trout. Montera’s Shore casters are doing well with Montera’s Marvels, Power Bait, salmon eggs and crawlers. Anglers in boats are catching quite a few fish by casting small lures towards the shoreline.
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