Summit County anglers suggest lakes and inlets for Father’s Day fishing
Special to the Daily
With Father’s Day almost here, this weekend is the perfect time to dust off that reel and head to your favorite Summit fishing hole.
Only thing is, that spot might not look the way you remembered it.
Normal weather may have returned to the High Country, but water currents are still showing the lasting effects of a wet spring.
To get a perspective on how fast these currents are, the ideal water speed for fishing in the Blue River is around 200 to 500 cubic feet per second. According to Denver Water, the river is moving at a rapid pace of 1600 cfs as of June 19. Local fly-fishing experts expect it to be at least another week or two before the water returns to more normal levels.
“We want people to use their best judgment when fishing this weekend, because by exercising caution you promote quality fishing and create a better fishing experience overall,” said Chris Sabina, an officer with the public information team at Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
No closures have occurred yet on local waterways, but it’s best to be careful when getting your feet wet in these fast-moving rivers. As great as that bubbling trout may look on your mantle, it’s still not worth life and limb.
“I wouldn’t go in past your knees or you might get swept away,” said Mitch Melichar, head fly-fishing guide at Cutthroat Anglers in Silverthorne.
“I know people who have been here for over 30 years that haven’t seen the waters move this fast,” Mitch Kincaid of Colorado Fly Fishing Guides said. “We’re only really taking those with previous fly-fishing experience out on the rivers.”
Rainy weather usually brings good fishing, but since the rivers and lakes are already so high, many fishing aficionados are hoping for sun from here on out. They’ll get that wish this weekend, as forecasts call for clear skies and warm temperatures.
Take to the lakes
These conditions have had a significant impact on fishing across Summit, but it’s not all bad.
“On rivers it’s certainly making things more difficult since fish don’t like fast currents, but lakes are fishing pretty well right now,” Melichar explained.
For some fisherman, lakes are preferable because the lack of current makes them inviting to fish and much easier for casting. Fast river currents make it hard for fish to see bait.
However, Melichar was quick to add that there are still great quantities of fish to be had in rivers. They’re just a little tricky to track down.
“There are fish near the edges, in soft water under willows, and also some in deep water behind boulders, but those are hard to get at while fly-fishing,” Melichar said.
“There’s just as many fish out there,” local fisherman Matt Bowman explained. “You just have to work a little harder to get to them.”
Tricks of the trade
Inlets — places where a river meets a lake — are great spots right now because a lot of fish are being brought through on the currents. A few good inlets to try are where Lake Dillon meets the Tenmile, Blue and Snake rivers.
Fish also like humps, dips and shelters, such as docks and marina areas. According to sources, the eastern portion of Lake Dillon is fishing very well right now because it’s home to manmade shelters that do not exist on rivers.
“I caught some fish on Dillon a couple days ago,” Bowman said. “It has still water, which is a very good combination with the high levels right now.”
Along with Lake Dillon, the Officers Gulch and Copper ponds are also promising for June fishing.
No matter how often you hit the lakes and rivers, another important aspect to always consider is bait. A big part of fly-fishing is analyzing your surroundings to replicate bugs that are currently flying around naturally.
“This time of year a mix of both dry flies and nymphs are the best bet for fly-fishing,” Bowman said. “Nymphs are probably going to be a little more productive, but if you see hatches definitely utilize those.”
For spin fishing, smaller baits like rooster-tails, cast masters, and dry dropper rigs are suggested for rainbow and brown trout patterns.
Trout are the most common fish in Summit, with rainbow, cutthroat and brown varieties found in abundance. Whitefish and pike can also be found in smaller amounts this time of year.
If the water in Summit doesn’t strike your fancy, head south to the Leadville area. River conditions are about the same as in Summit, but Clinton Reservoir, Twin Lakes and Crystal Lake all offer above-average fishing, Kincaid said.
“Because of the above-average snow and rain, combined with the recent warm weather, we’re seeing some really good bug action right now, which is good for bait replication purposes,” Kincaid said. “It also encourages the fish to bite more. We’re seeing a lot of hungry, hearty, stout, fat fish out there.”
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