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Colorado Fishing Conditions

A brief summary of fishing conditions for rivers and lakes across Colorado.  These reports include Real Time River Flow information, a brief synopsis of the current conditions, as well as a general rating system.  Some reports will be linked to Affiliate Fly Shops that help us keep our reports as up-to-date as possible.

Royal Gorge Anglers Rating:

May - The Arkansas River

Upper Arkansas

General Conditions

Expect clarity and flow to stay stable as long as the headwaters of the Arkansas don't experience multiple days in a row of air temperatures over 60 degrees. Also, sun angle plays a major part in starting true runoff. If spring temperatures hold, expect Flows from Salida through Canon City in the 700 cfs range and fishing to be phenomenal. Water temperatures should range from 45-55 degrees, which will determine the amount of Caddis Activity up and down the river. Blue Winged Olives will continue to hatch regularly through May, and stonefly activity will be key subsurface.

Suggested Techniques

Focus on nymphing in the early AM. Stoneflies are a key attractor up front, with a variety of Caddis Larva and BWO nymphs as droppers. Run longer leaders and make sure you are dredging in the early morning. As air temps and water temps rise in the late morning expect the other lifecycle stages of Caddis and BWOs to become very active. Our guides will run lighter Stoneflies and Yellow Sally nymphs with BWO Emergers/ Caddis Pupa in the mid water column, mid-morning through early afternoon. Potential for large hatches of Caddis and BWOs will come in the early afternoon, in which case you will want to focus your efforts on adults and non-weighted emergers. Egglaying Caddis will continue to be king in the late afternoon and evening as will streamers. 

True runoff could begin at any point in the month of May. Please visit our daily fishing reports online at

Arkansas Tailwater

General Conditions 

Flows can be high and variable during the month of May and already are in April. The tailwater is not your best option until post runoff releases occur, and the river returns to sub- 600 cfs. Visit our daily reports online at

This report was provided by Royal Gorge Anglers.  For more information contact Royal Gorge Anglers at or (888) 994 6743 or (719) 269 3474.

Taylor Creek Fly Shop - Basalt and Aspen Rating:

May Fly Fishing Report - The Roaring Fork Valley

Fryingpan River

Flow:  Currently 296 CFS

Short and Sweet:  Oh, how we love the Fryingpan, especially when our other rivers are starting to rise.  We have had yet another raise in flows this week, putting our happy little tailwater just shy of 300 CFS.  The fishing was a little tough after flows raised, but everything is now settling down and the bugs and fish are getting their equilibrium back.  On the lower river, caddis, BWOs and midges abound, and above mile 8 we are seeing only midges at this point.  Our guide staff anticipates major BWO hatches to start up on the upper river any day now.  The healthy flow we have enjoyed all through winter and early Spring promise very, very healthy hatches on the Fryingpan this year.  For the upper river, bring the mysis patterns, BWO nymphs, midge dries and nymphs, and even San Juan Worms to fool the fish.  Streamers are managing to move a few fish, and be ready to see a terrific BWO hatch in the coming weeks.  Down on the lower river near Basalt, make sure you have caddis nymphs and dries, hoppers (yes, hoppers!) stonefly nymphs, BWO dries and nymphs, and a few midges too.  Fewer people and less gun-shy fish await you!

Crystal River

Flow:  Currently 620 CFS in Carbondale

Short and Sweet:  It’s the beginning of runoff, we will check back with this river after a month or so. 

Roaring Fork River

Flow:  Currently 320 CFS in Aspen, 868 in Basalt, 1660 in Glenwood Springs

Short and Sweet:  As with the Crystal, the primary stages of runoff are underway.  The higher you head up the Fork, the less color you will see in the water, but some days even the upper will be very colored up for the forseeable future.  Be prepared to see BWOs, caddis and midges on the days the clarity improves.  The middle river (near Basalt) looked good this morning despite the high flows, just keep an eye on the overnight temperatures.  On the cold nights, fishing is pretty good the next day.  On warmer nights, the river will still contain a bit of color the next day.  The Roaring Fork can be very, very good right now when conditions are optimal, and it can go the other way in a heartbeat as well.  Just give us a call at Taylor Creek (970 927 4374) and we will let you know what is going on in real time.

Colorado River

Flow:  7790 CFS in Glenwood Springs

Short and Sweet:  Hello, runoff.  See you in a month or two… 

For in-depth and up-to-the-moment information, access our daily river reports and updates by visiting

Trout Trickers - Eagle, Lower Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers Rating:

May 2014 fishing report - Eagle, Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers

Trout Trickers was in Wyoming for the last 23 days enjoying the North Platte river's amazing fishery.  949 trout were hooked and successfully released! Could be a second trip in early June if you are interested.

Cooler weather locally has kept the rivers clear and fishing, subject to change any day with summer having to arrive eventually.

Fish have been taking streamers, baetis, midges and some early caddis.  Stone flies and the fabled Pteronstcys are coming soon to the upper Colorado as well.
Fishing will be more productive in the afternoons when the water warms.  Remember the flows are composed of melted snow, and the temps have been cold.  Get out and hook em up before a long runoff begins perhaps later this week of middle May.
When the rivers do muddy up, explore some of our many local lakes as they thaw for trout, bass, and some big northern pike.  
See you in June!
This report was provided by Trout Trickers. For more information contact Pete Mott at (970) 376-1277 or or visit

Vail Valley Anglers - Gore Creek, Eagle, Colorado and Roaring Fork River Valleys Rating:

June Fly Fishing Report - Vail Valley Anglers

After several weeks of high flows on local rivers, runoff has peaked and trout streams in the Vail and Roaring Fork Valleys are clear and dropping. Because rivers like the Colorado, Eagle and Roaring Fork are still on the high side, making fly fishing a little tough for wade fishing, float fishing gives anglers the mobility and access necessary to catch trout. In our part of the Rockies, some of the best fly fishing of the entire season occurs directly after runoff when trout begin to feed heavily and the best way to target these hungry fish is from a drift boat or raft. The next several weeks will offer intense hatches and excellent dry fly fishing.

Here is quick rundown of current float fishing conditions:

The Eagle

Our backyard trout stream is ready to bust loose as flows reach ideal levels for float fishing. Each day the river is dropping and water temperatures are rising. While the Eagle requires experience and skill behind the oars, rowing a raft anywhere between Edwards and Gypsum will reward anglers with trout willing to consistently eat a dry fly and dropper rig fished near the banks. The post-runoff caddis hatch will begin any day. This tan colored fly runs between size 12 and 16 and is effectively imitated with Stimulators, Foam Caddis and the Guide’s Choice. Evening floats are a local’s favorite.

The Colorado River

As reservoirs fill and tributaries drop, the Colorado is steadily improving. Flows are still high but clarity is good and the fish are eating well. After a couple of low water years, the Colorado River got a good flush this spring which should benefit the trout fishery. Trout are responding well to streamers, large nymphs and big attractor dry flies. Caution should still be exercised for rowers using drift boats on the upper river in Lower Gore Canyon below Pumphouse and Yarmony Canyon below Radium. Less experienced oarsman should use rafts and focus on floats between Rancho Del Rio and Dotsero. With all the new and improved boat ramps, access is now much improved, with lots of options for half days, full days and overnight trips on the Colorado River.

The Roaring Fork River

With Gold Medal status, the Roaring Fork is one of Colorado’s best wild trout fisheries and this river is just days away from reaching good flows for floating between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Each year beginning in late June, the famous Green Drake hatch gets a lot of attention from local and visiting anglers. These big olive mayflies should begin appearing soon along with a solid caddis hatch as well as PMDs and Yellow Sallies giving the trout plenty of feeding opportunities. The Fork has a lot of private land bordering the stream so fly fishing from a boat gives anglers a serious advantage for accessing prime stretches of water. Avoid the morning rush by waiting to put your boat in after lunch.

Conditions are setting up for a fantastic summer season of float fishing. As always, remember to be safe out there. Check with Vail Valley Anglers in the Riverwalk Center in Edwards for information on guided float trips, latest fly fishing reports, hot fly patterns and shuttle information.


Dragonfly Anglers - Upper Gunnison River and East River Rating:

Fly Fishing Report October 2013 - Tayor, East, and Gunnison River

Crested Butte/Gunnison area

As expected, warmer temperatures and longer days have opened the major rivers in our area. All sections of the East, Taylor and Gunnison Rivers are producing as they historically do as we roll into April. This is the best time of year for pre snow melt fishing. Nymph fishing will produce most consistently with the occasional dry fly midge and BWO activity. The average size fish caught during the spring months seems to be bigger than any other time of year.

Taylor River: The fishable sections on the Taylor will be more and more abundant throughout the run from Almont to the reservoir. Look for the deeper runs and pocket water for production. Fly selection:Zebra Midges, egg patterns, Psycho prince, BH Pheasant tails in sizes 16,18,20 Trophy section:  Always have mysis shrimp patterns 18,20 but also have a selection of numerous midge patterns as you never know what these highly educated fish will choose to eat. Black Beauty, mercury midge, disco midges, san juan worms, egg patterns, minute midges, rs2’s, WD 40’s, Syls midge, FB pheasant tails….and variations of all the aforementioned patterns…..sizes 18-22.

Gunnison River: The Gunnison is fishing great in many different section.

Sections around Almont, Van Tuyls, and west of Gunnison on the section that feeds Blue Mesa Reservoir are producing wonderful fish. Nymph fishing has been most productive. Fly selection: 20 Incher stonefly patterns 12,14 Rubber leg stoneflies 10,12,14 Egg Patterns, San Juan worms, Zebra midges, Copper John patterns 16,18

East River: The East is another river that is open and fishing well. Find the deep long runs and the ripples that feed those runs. Nymph fish with smaller midge patterns underneath an egg pattern or larger Bead head nymph. Flies: Prince nymph 14,16 Psycho prince, 16, egg patterns (micro), zebra midges, idyl’s not much midge, jujubee baetis midge, all in 16’s & 18’s. Be ready for midge hatches with the Sierra Dot, Slys midge and Blue winged olives in 18 & 20.

For more information or updated reports contact us at Dragonfly Anglers 800-491-3079.

We are beginning our 4th decade of guiding in the region. Established in 1983 you will be guaranteed professionalism, knowledge and experience from the oldest shop/Guide service in the valley. 307 Elk Avenue, Crested Butte, CO.

Duranglers Fly Shop Rating:

June Fly Fishing Report - Duranglers

It looks like it is going to be a fantastic June for us here in the Durango region.  We have had a handful of rain and snowstorms throughout April and May, so the snowpack and river flows are looking good for June.

Currently working their ways through the bulk of runoff; the Rio Grande, Upper San Juan, Animas, and Piedra are shaping up for some fantastic dry fly opportunities starting mid-June.  Of course, Salmonflies are on the menu for trout in these rivers and should be showing themselves mid-June along with large amounts of caddis and stoneflies.  We are currently sitting on 80% of snowpack while the rest of Colorado is between 150%-250%.  Safe to say, southwest fishing should be coming around a while sooner than our friends up north.

This is great news for those who have booked a float trip with us on the Rio Grande.  With increased flows now; our float season is looking to be a good one.  If you are salmonfly junkie (as most of us are); our local rivers may be the only options in southwest Colorado to fish a Pteronarcys Californica emergence this year.  With…interesting…management of Blue Mesa Reservoir and the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon and Gorge; flows will be increased to 8000 through the first part of June and remain at 4000-6000 cfs until the end of the month.  This is unfortunate news for those seeking to fish the famed Gunnison salmonfly hatch.

However, we do have a few guide openings for our float season on the Rio Grande River.  The Rio Grande should be ready to fish around June 10th with fish looking to surface food sources right around then.  Call or e-mail Duranglers for more information or to book a float trip, 970-385-4081.  This is one of the best dry fly fishing float trips available in the state of Colorado and of course Salmonflies are a real possibility throughout June.  What makes the Rio Grande so great is the abundance of bug life that makes the dry fly action so spectacular.  With brown and yellow stoneflies, caddis, PMD’s, brown drakes, grey drakes, green drakes and of course salmonflies: the Rio Grande is truly a bug factory.

The San Juan River in New Mexico was just bumped up from 250 to 300 CFS.  Now this may not seem like a large increase…but it certainly has the big boys moving.  Duranglers Guide Les has been finding some big browns that love baetis nymphs since the increase.

If you plan on fishing the San Juan, make sure to get your New Mexico fishing licence online before you go.

Insects and Natural Food Sources

If you have any questions on a specific river; please call Duranglers for more info.  970-385-4081

San Juan River, New Mexico– Blue Winged Olives, Midges, annelids, aquatic worms, scuds, eggs, leeches, caddis, PMDs, large ants.

Animas– Salmonflies, Caddis, PMDs, Sculpins, Fingerling Rainbow Trout, Crayfish, Mice, Hoppers.

Upper San Juan– Salmonflies, Caddis, PMDs, Sculpins.

Rio Grande– Salmonflies, Stoneflies, Caddis, PMDs, Green Drakes, Brown Drakes, Mice.

Piedra River & Williams Creek– Salmonflies and Stoneflies; Caddis, PMDs, Midges, BWOs.

Los Pinos River– (Below Dam) - Midges, PMDs, Caddis, Baitfish & Leeches, Mice.

Dolores River Above Reservoir, Los Pinos Above Reservoir–  Stoneflies, Ants, Beetles, Hoppers, Caddis, Baitfish. (Still very cold)

Dolores River (Below Dam)– HOPPERS!  PMDs, Caddis, Midges, BWO’s

High Country Lakes and Streams– (slooowly becoming active, may not be ready until July for great fishing)  Hoppers, Ants, Beatles, Moths, Mice, bugs…things that look like bugs…but for real High country trout are not too selective. Most high floating attractor patterns will slay.  Damsel flies, Chronomids, and Callebaetis in lakes.

Recommended Fly Patterns

San Juan River:

Midges: Size 20-30 – Flash Midge Pupa, Red Big Mac, WD-40, Zebra Midges

Baetis: Size 20-14 – Juju Baetis, Thread Body Baetis, BWO Snowshoe Dun, BWO CDC Emerger, RS2

Annelids:  Red Sparkle Worm, Red annelids, Chamos Leech, SJ Worm in Red, Orange, Pink, and Tan

Ant Patterns: Make sure to have a few size 14 black ant patterns in case of rain…such as a Black Stimulator or Amy’s Ant.

Scuds: Size 14-18 – Olive and Tan

Leeches: Size 8-14 – Olive, Brown and Black Simi- Seal Leeches, Bunny Leeches, and Olive and Purple Buggers

Animas and SW CO rivers:

Stonefly nymphs: Size 2-14 –  20 Incher Stone, Prince Nymph, Pats Rubberlegs, Little Black Sloan.

Stonefly Dries: Size 8-14 – Overstimulated Gold Stone, Golden Plopper Stone

Salmonfly Dries: size 2-6 – Rogue Foam Stone, Overstimulated Salmonfly, Mojo Salmonfly

Caddis Nymphs: Size 12-18 -  Caddisstrophic Pupa, Cased Caddis, Sparkle pupa and Sparkle emerger

Caddis Dries: Size 12-18 – Duranglers Peacock Caddis, Black Mom’s Day Caddis, Clownshoe Caddis

PMDs: Size 14-18 – Juju PMD, CDC Comparadun PMD

Streamers: Mr. Hankey Mouse, Josh’s Ziwi, Circus Peanut, Conehead Wool Sculpin, The One Sculpin

Rio Grande:

Stonefly nymphs: Size 2-14 –  20 Incher Stone, Pats Rubberlegs.

Stonefly Dries: Size 8-14 – Overstimulated Gold Stone, Golden Plopper Stone

Salmonfly Dries: size 2-6 – Rogue Foam Stone, Overstimulated Salmonfly, Mojo Salmonfly

Caddis Nymphs: Size 12-18 -  Caddisstrophic Pupa, Cased Caddis, Sparkle pupa and Sparkle emerger

Caddis Dries: Size 12-18 – Duranglers Peacock Caddis, Black Mom’s Day Caddis, Clownshoe Caddis

Drakes: Size 10-14 – Film Critic, Brown Rib Green Drake

Mice: Mr. Hankey Mouse

Lower Dolores:

Caddis Nymphs: Size 12-18 -  Caddisstrophic Pupa, Cased Caddis, Sparkle pupa and Sparkle emerger

Caddis Dries: Size 12-18 – Duranglers Peacock Caddis, Black Mom’s Day Caddis, Clownshoe Caddis

PMDs: Size 14-18 – Juju PMD, CDC Comparadun PMD

Hoppers: Size 8-12 – Tan Sweetgrass Hopper, Green Morrish Hopper, Turk’s Tarantula

High Country

Any attractor patterns will work.  Have some Humpies, Royal Wulffs, Stimulators, Elk Hair Caddis, Turks Tarantula, or Parachute Adams on hand in sizes 10-16.  If you must go under, a size 10 olive bugger, Copper Johns, and Pheasant Tails always seem to work.  These fish are not too selective.

This report was brought to you by Duranglers.  For more information or to book a trip with Duranglers in Southwest Colorado you can contact them at (970) 385-4081.

South Platte River Basin Rating:

Please see the Local Fishing Conditions section for all South Platte River Basin Reports

Steamboat Flyfisher Rating:

May Fly Fishing Report

Stagecoach Tailwater-The upper stretch of the Yampa, also known as the "tail waters," is one of our most productive stretches of river during the winter months. Being a tail water fishery, this section of river remains a constant flow throughout the entire year and the water temperature also remains consistent. After the river work that the DOW did, the river looks completely different, yet the fishing has been incredible. The water is pretty high right now but fishing has still been very productive. We aren't seeing to much action on the surface but guys have been doing well nymphing. Make sure you are using enough weight to get the flies down to the fish quickly Flows: 220 cfs. Nymphs: Epoxy scuds, BWO Barr's Emergers, Black Beauties, Top Secret Midge, pheasant tails.

Sarvis Creek-Located one mile downstream of the Stagecoach tail waters, this section of public water is not only beautiful, but came be very productive during the winter season. The Sarvis Creek State Wildlife Area is fishable year round and with close to a mile of classic trout stream habitat your chances of landing a trout of a lifetime are highly likely. Concentrate your casts on deeper runs and fish along seams. Fish are located though this entire section, so don't overlook any structure and approach runs with caution to avoid spooking fish. Spot casting for fish is very popular in this area, so keep your eyes glued to the water and look for cruising fish. It’s a bit of a walk to get to this area during the winter but the fishing is very productive! Sarvis is beginning to blow out, however, fishing inside seams and slower water with bigger or brighter flies can still produce. Look for fish in close and the big lake fish have been seen often. Flows: 270 cfs. Nymphs: Olive Flash Back Hare’s Ear #14, Disco Midge, Barr's PMD Flash Back Emerger, Pink and Red San Juan Worms, Bright Eggs. Streamers: Natural, White, and Black Zonkers. 

Yampa through the town of Steamboat Springs -Through the City of Steamboat Springs, anglers will have close to seven miles of public water to choose from. This river can be accessed in several spots throughout town and along River Road. Fetcher Park, Rotary Park and Emerald Park are great places to park and access the river. These areas are located closer towards the Ski Slopes and the mountain village. Closer to town, Little Toots Park, Dr. Richard Weiss Park and Transit Center Park are favorable parking spots for anglers looking to stay closer to downtown. There are also several prime spots located directly across for the shop.

Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area - Just a few miles south of town located off CR 14F, the Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area provides anglers with nearly 2 miles of public access to some incredible trout water. Large cutbanks and deep holes will keep anglers busy all day. 
Unfortunately town is blown out right now. Keep an eye on the weather patterns, If we get a few days in a row of colder weather, the river becomes fishable and can be fantastic. If you do give it a shot, focus on soft spots with big bright streamers Flows: 1500 cfs. Streamers: Tequillies, Inverted Hen Matuka, White, Black, and Natural Zonkers.

The Elk River flows out of the Zirkel wilderness area and boasts of clean clear water all summer long. There are multiple access points starting with the Christina State wildlife area located about 8 miles out of town. Christina is about 1 mile long and has lots of long runs as well as some good pocket water. Anglers can expect to find Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroats, Brookies and Whitefish in the 12-18 inch range and the occasional fish over 20 inches. The upper elk north of Clark on Seedhouse road has tons of public water access in the National Forrest. Your best served with a small rod and attractor dry flies in this area.
The Elk is blown, but we should be getting some colder weather this week so it may become fish-able again. Flows: 1500 cfs. Flies: Pats Rubber Leg, Kaufmans Stone, Purple Prince, Hotwire Prince, Pink and Red San Juan Worms, Bright Egg Patterns, Natural, Black and White Zonkers.

All of our lakes are starting to open and fishing is Hot!  Give the Steamboat Flyfisher a call for updated information. 970-879-6552

River Information

The Yampa River forms near Stillwater, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains in the White River national Forest.  It flows generally south to north into Steamboat Springs where it turns west and continues to the confluence of the Green River at Echo Park near the Utah Border.  The tailwater section below Stagecoach Reservoir is home to monster trout with finicky tastes.  The public section below the dam is small but there are quite a few large fish.  Use standard tailwater techniques – use small flies and fine tippet.

The “in town” section in Steamboat Springs has great access via the Steamboat Core Trail including roughly 20 city parks with access options.   From the town of Steamboat Springs to Hayden there are predominately sections of private water.  There are several State Wildlife Areas and Parks as you drive toward Hayden.

Reports on Colorado Fishing Conditions

Trout's fly fishing offers up-to-date information on stream flows and fly fishing conditions in river basins throughout Colorado. Our expert anglers rate each river and experience to best guide you where to go to fly fish in Colorado.