Summit County Weekly Fishing Report
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Summit County, Colorado
FRISCO – Zeke Hersh said there are two things he loves about fishing this time of year.
“No crowds,” he said, “and big fish.”
Although the weather has been a bit too cold in the county for locals to fully feel the official change of season, the conditions for anglers are already heating up.
Hersh, owner of Blue River Anglers on Main Street Frisco, said the recent spell of cold weather has helped keep the rivers relatively clear and at a low depth, making it easier to find and catch fish in local waters.
“Locally in Summit County and within an hour’s drive, there’s pretty good fishing,” Hersh said. “The Arkansas is good. The Blue is fishing excellent. The Upper Colorado, from Hot Sulfur Springs down toward State Bridge, is fishing really well, and so is the South Platte in the Dream Stream area.”
Of course, each body of water is fishing quite differently.
The Blue River north of Silverthorne, running into the Green Mountain Reservoir, is fishing “excellent,” Hersh said. He recommends stone fly, pheasant tail and hare’s ear patterns in the areas leading up to the inlet of the reservoir.
Farther south in Silverthorne, Hersh said cardinal midges – both black and pearl – have been doing well.
“Having some pretty good luck on black right now,” he added.
Also, Hersh recommended black beauty emergers, Don King UV midges and some blue-wing olive midge patterns in that area, as well.
On the Arkansas River, the caddis hatch is beginning to move up into the Salida area, getting ready to move into Brown’s Canyon.
“Phenomenal fishing on wet flies, as well as dries,” Hersh said of the Arkansas. “A lot of guys have been fishing soft tackles.”
Hersh floated the upper Colorado River last week and said stone flies, crystal pheasant tails and bubble-back blue-winged olive patterns were doing well. He didn’t “see a ton of caddis” in the upper stretches and recommended wading into the water rather than taking a float.
Hersh said rainbow trout are starting to run out above the Dream Stream – a stretch of the South Platte River in South Park, also called the Spinney Mountain Ranch – and are getting ready to spawn. Egg patterns, San Juan worms and big stone flies should do the trick, he added.
In the Dream Stream, Hersh said to continue fishing blue-winged olive patterns and to get ready for some caddis to be moving around. Some small stone flies, hare’s ears and pheasant tails should also catch fish in the area, he said.
Really, the only places Hersh recommends avoiding right now are the lower sections of the Colorado in the Roaring Fork Valley and the upper stretches of the Platte.
“All in all, everything is fishing pretty good,” he said. “The colder temperatures have helped keep everything clear, so the fishing’s been good.”
This time of year, Hersh said, is all about nymphing.
A nymph refers to an aquatic insect still in its underwater stage, not having reached its adult or flying stage yet.
Although catching a fish on these sub-surface flies can frustrate many an angler, Hersh has a good technique to help out: the double-nymph rig.
Consisting of two separate flies tied to tippet about a foot apart at the end of your line, the double-nymph rig helps to get at fish in deep pools and trolling toward the bottom of the river.
First, Hersh said, put a strike indicator about a foot from the end of the fly line. As the flies in this rig will be submerged, the indicator will help show you when a fish is striking and when to set the hook.
From the indicator, Hersh said to measure about five or six feet – roughly a person’s wingspan – from the indicator, out onto your tippet and place a weight.
“Just vary the weight for faster moving waters or deeper waters,” Hersh said. “If it’s shallow, you can just take that weight off.”
From the weight, tie a piece of tippet – about a foot long – and tie the attractor pattern (“your biggest fly”).
Tie another piece of tippet, again roughly a foot in length, from either the bend or the eye of the attractor’s hook, and tie on your second fly to the end of that. The second fly is usually your smaller pattern.
“That’s a great set up,” Hersh said. “If you follow those guidelines, it’ll cast a lot easier and you can always tweak it a bit depending on how deep or fast the water is moving.”
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