Shop By Category
Fishing Reports

Need Help? Call Us at 1.877.464.0034

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:
Conditions:

April - The Arkansas River

The Upper Arkansas River (Freestone) - General Conditions

Well folks, it has been a lot of fun out there. We finally have a 50 year average flow for the Early Spring, and BWOs and fish are liking it! Our guides have had some tremendous success in the last few days using a variety of tactics. First and foremost, don't forget you streamer box, because the streamer fishing is phenomenal. Fish are holding fairly tight to shore and shoulder seams in structure, so streamers have been a great option to work that structure. We most definitely suggest tandem rigging, with something big/ heavy and visible upfront trailing a variety of small profile options. Of course heavy nymphing is a staple early in the day, in which case dark stoneflies and caddis larva rule the roost. As water temperature increases through the late morning, fish make a clear change to BWO nymphs, and the BWO lifecycle activity increases as the day progresses. We have had some good calm days in which adult and emergent activity has been top notch. There’s a lot happening on the Arkansas River, and activity will only increase as we enter April.

Flow Update: We have seen great water thus far this Spring! This flow is the average flow for early Spring, remember we have seen a decade of drought years! More water makes for more productive fishing because there is less temperature swing from overnight lows (the water column holds more temperature, it doesn't get cold but it doesn't get hot). This higher flow is perfect for BWO activity, as we only need low to mid 40s for solid hatches. With the Brown Trout Fry Emergence coming the last 2 weeks in April, and Caddis Activity starting in the first 2 weeks in April, we have cooperation from BOR and CPW to decrease tributary release to minimum flows. We expect the river to run in the 550 cfs range by April 1, and the 450 cfs range by April 14th. We really couldn't ask for a much better scenario; more water when air temps are still a bit cooler, and less water during the caddis hatch, which allows for increased water column warming throughout the day to the mid 50's and Caddis Blowouts. This cooperative flow in April also allows for increased survival of Brown Trout Fry. In a nutshell we've got it made on the Ark for this Spring!

Caddis Calling

Caddis are still king in April and May! The Arkansas continues to see strong Caddis activity in all lifecycle phases beginning in early April, so don't wait for Mother's Day. Although it is entirely to early to make an educated guess; with the amount of snow up in the hills, it is quite possible that we might see some runoff type conditions in mid-May…. so don't wait to fish the Ark in late May. The past few years has offered some of the best activity on emergent Caddis than we have seen in a long time, so make sure to grab plenty of emergers when you come in to grab a handful of adults.

Suggested Techniques

Anglers should focus on technical nymphing technique in the morning. Czech nymphing and high stick nymphing using very methodical coverage will be most productive. Long line nymphing with an indicator will be productive in certain sections. Focus on light golden Stonefly Nymphs or crane fly larva as a lead fly, followed by a variety of Caddis Larva, BWO Nymphs, and Midge Larva. Fish will remain in deep tail-outs below oxygenated riffles and seams.
The late morning and afternoon, with increased air temperatures, will bring increased BWO activity throughout the water column. We have seen early hatches in Canon City (11am), and early afternoon hatches in the Canyon (1pm-3pm). Focus on solid emerger fishing through mid-day with a switch to greased leader technique in the subsurface-film and adults as activity progresses. Streamers are also a great option as the day progresses, and particularly in late/ low light situations.

Arkansas Tailwater Section - General Conditions

The tailwater has been extremely productive in the last week, however fairly technical due to mounting angling pressure. Our guides regularly resort to long leaders and 7x tippet. Fish are fairly tight to structure at the 150 cfs range, but expect fish to spread out as flows increase with scheduled Spring releases. We expect flows to increase dramatically in the first few weeks of April to match inflow into the reservoir and prepare for runoff in June.

Please be cautious of actively spawning fish during this upcoming time period, as well as the redds (bright clean gravel patches where hens have scrubbed and laid eggs) they have created. BWO action has really fired up and will continue to get better as we progress into March. Look for Midge Larva/ Pupa to continue to be major players, as well as a multitude of different attractor nymphs. 

Royal Gorge Anglers happens to hold the oldest permit on the Arkansas Tailwater, and our very experienced tailwater guides grew up fishing this section. Ready to learn this section the right way? 

Suggested Techniques

The tailwater is a technical nymphing fishery for the most part. However, BWO and Midge activity will have fish up for several hours a day. Our emphasis is placed on czech nymphing and high stick nymphing, using many methods similar to the Upper Arkansas, however, with different bugs. Focus on a heavy attractor nymph, i.e. San Juan Worm, Pig Sticker, Crane Fly Larva, etc. And, depending on your rigging (Std, or Czech), drop or lead with a bright (orange/ red/ chartreuse) Midge Larva, or dark BWO Nymph (Purple, Black, Dk. Brown). When fish key to a hatch, anglers will need to focus on very long leaders and small tippet, especially on the bigger fish. 12 ft- 7x leader rigs with size 20-26 BWO Adults, and size 20-26 Midge Adults will be the ticket. Of course emerges in the subsurface film will also be productive.

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


Taylor Creek Fly Shop - Basalt and Aspen Rating:
Conditions:

April Fly Fishing Report - The Roaring Fork Valley

April brings many gifts to the Roaring Fork Valley fly fisher, the biggest gift of all being caddis back on the scene.  BWOs place a close second place on the gift list, and don’t forget about those plump golden stones in April, either.  We will see the first heavy caddis hatches on the Colorado and lower Roaring Fork, as these rivers are lower in elevation and generally hotter than up-valley.  Mid day is best for dries, and early evenings when female caddis return to the water to lay their eggs slightly upstream from where they hatched.  Currently, BWOs are what most of our down-valley fish are obsessed with, and terrific baetis dry fly fishing is already in full swing! 

For the folks only concerned with the upper Fryingpan, bring the BWO dries, mysis and midges.  We are seeing terrific midge dry fly activity on the upper mile, and BWOs are starting their engines on the lower mile now as well.  When it comes to throwing dries on the upper Pan, the tippet needs to be fluorocarbon and tapered down to a minimum of 7x.  As the bugs get bigger through Spring and early Summer, your tippet diameters can increase.  The other helpful hint to fishing dries up here is to master the downstream presentation.  These fish won’t tolerate false casts anywhere near them, and feeding them the fly first will increase your catch rate significantly.  On the lower Pan, heavy tippet and big golden stonefly nymphs, small dark winter stones, drake nymphs and baetis nymphs are wrecking fish.

The Crystal is fishing again, with good numbers of baetis and midges.  Caddis and golden stones will come in to play as the month progresses, and as always, if you love solitude, you’ll find some joy on the Crystal.

Floating the Roaring Fork and Colorado is what we all do on our guides day off here in April, feel free to swing in or give us a call and we will square you away on what’s happening and where.

For in-depth and up-to-the-moment information, access our daily river reports and updates by visiting http://www.taylorcreek.com/river.html


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

We all have had an amazing March with above average temperatures and incredible fishing.  Fishing should remain excellent for another few weeks before we begin to see significant runoff.  Trout trickers will be guiding in Casper, Wyoming April 20th for three weeks or more on the much anticipated North Platte.  I have some days still available in the middle of May if you are interested.

The Roaring Fork River

Well the word got out, its been exceptionally crowed especially on weekends with wade anglers.  Huge afternoon baetis hatches have been drawing lots of anglers.  Should remain awesome for the majority of April with weekly snowstorms bringing in the clouds and bwo's in incredible numbers.  Lots of surface actions, watch the slower pocket water from noon on.

Fly Patterns

Twenty Incher, Yellow egg patterns, Bars emergers, Drowed tricos, Wonder midge and non bead Princes

The Colorado River

Fishing has also been excellent on the Colorado; lots of large black midges and afternoon baetis.  I have been finding fish in the shallow runs for the first time this year, and we have adjusted from the huge deep runs we normally target in the winter.  Watch the water clarity as its been fluctuation greatly with afternoon snow melt.  Change up to the Fork when its gets more brown than green in color.

Fly Patterns

Cat pooh, Red worms, Golden stones, Ray Charles, and Juju bees

TIP:When observing rising fish, pay attention to the rise pattern.  Lots of fish are not taking duns, but rather emergers or drowned adults in the surface film.  Adjust your patters and their profile and catch them one after another.

This report was provided by Trout Trickers. For more information contact Pete Mott at (970) 376-1277 or pete@trouttrickers.com or visit www.trouttrickers.com.

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

March Fly Fishing Report - Vail Valley Anglers

Vail Valley Anglers March Report

Roaring Fork River

Current Conditions
Things are really picking up on the Fork. Forecasts show high temps in the 40's this week. The fishing should be excellent with midge hatches and active trout. The fly fishing on this river really turns on in March with longer days and higher temps.With warmer weather in the past several days fly fishing on the Fork has been very good and wading is productive throughout the length of the Fork and despite lower flows, float fishing is now a good bet especially from Westbank down to town. The trout have been feeding actively from late morning through the afternoon. Conditions are good and the trout are on the feed.  The Roaring Fork is truly one of Colorado's best winter fly fishing destinations.

Nymphing with small midge imitations as well as stoneflies and eggs have all been effective and some large rainbows have been common catches. Midge hatches are becoming thicker each day. The best stretch of river for floating is between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs while wade anglers are doing very well near Basalt downstream from the confluence with the Frying Pan, near Jaffee Park and right in downtown Glenwood Springs. Winter conditions still prevail but February on the Fork sees a big increase in trout and insect activity as days lengthen and rainbows begin getting aggressive before spawning.  Nymphing deep, slower holes and fishing later in the day when temperatures warm is the method of choice but we'll see more and more fish rsing as the big olive Midgezillas begin emerging soon. Catching some really big rainbows, browns and whitefish is always a possibility on the Fork during winter and the fishing should now begin to streadily improve as we move into the latter part of winter.

Hatches: Black, olive midges, BWOs, Molting Golden Stonefly nymphs

Recommended Files
Dries:  Adams Parawulff #18, BWO Parachute, Parachute Adams #14-20, Hi-Vis Griffiths Gnat #18-22
Nymphs: Eggs, Worms, Twenty Incher #8-14 ,Pats Rubber Leg #6-10,Flashback PT #14-22, Barr Emerger #16-20, Sparkle RS-2 in black, grey or olive, Formerly Prince #12-18,  Red copper John #14-18, Rainbow Warrior #14-20, Black Beauty #16-22, Disco Midge #18-20, Miracle Nymph #18, WD-40 in Red or Olive #20

Streamers: Slumpbusters in darker colors,Sculpzillas, Autumn Splendor, Olive Conehead buggers

Colorado River

Current Conditions
The upper Colorado from Pumphouse down to Dotsero is mostly iced out and the fishing is fair. Wading and floating are both decent options.  Hatches are sparse and nymphing is the most effective way to put a few late winter trout in the net. Look downstream to Glenwood Springs for more consistent fishing.

The Lower Colorado River below Glenwood Springs is fishing very well when flows are clear. The river has been muddy on some days. The next week should be very good with forecast temps in the 40's! Recent weather has been warmer and the fishing has picked up. There have been some heavy midge hatches and the large olive midges are beginning to show along with smaller black midges and some blue winged olives. This is an option that most float anglers overlook during the colder months but this stretch is fishing well and holds some very large browns and rainbows. Winter may be the best time to float between Glenwood and Rifle for a shot at a trophy fish over five pounds! BWOs and midges are on the menu and princes, girdle bugs, worms and eggs are working very well. Streamers fished slowly are the best bet during cloudy conditions as fish look for big meals to recover from, and prepare for the spawn and winter.  Floating is by far the most effective way to fish this stretch.

Hatches: Midges, BWOs, Stonefly nymphs, Caddis larvae

Recommended Files
Dries: Renegade #18, Griffith's Gnat #18, Para-BWO #16-22, Adams Parawulff #18Adams #18-22

Nymphs:Pat's Pink worms, Rubber Leg Stonefly brown and black #6-10, Red Copper John #12-18, Quasimodo Pheasant tail #14-18, Formerly Prince #12-18, Twenty Incher #6-14, Beadhead Flashback Hare's Ear #12-18, Barr Emerger BWO, WD-50 Olive, Eggs, Biot Soft Hackle #16-22 black, gray, olive

Streamers: Rust Slumpbuster, Tequeely, Buggers, Clousers, Sex Dungeon

Eagle River

The forecast for the next week show temps in the high 30's and low 40's! The fishing should be excellent.Conditions have improved recently on the Eagle with warmer weather. The ice has broken up and there is plenty of water to fish now. The fishing has been good with some midges hatching and fish feeding. The lower river may get a little muddy but Avon, Edwards and Wolcott will be in good shape. We're now into the great "fifth seasin fishing"! Deep nymphing isstill the name of the game but some fish are beginning to rise to emergers. Look for slow riffles that dump off of a drop off into a deep hole. Concentrate on fishing netween 10am and 4pm during the warmest part of the day when trout are most active. Check with the shop for the latest conditions.

Hatches: Midges, BWOs

Recommended Files

Nymphs:Egg patterns, Flashback PT #14-18, Olive Biot Soft Hackle #18-22, Micromayfly, Disco Midge #18,Miracle Nymph #20, Black Midge Emerger #18-22, Barr Emerger BWO #16-20, Eggs, Worms

Dries: Hi-Vis Griffith Gnat, Renegade 

Streamers: Brown Slump Buster, Olive buggers, Vanilla Bugger, Scupzilla Black/Olive, Autumn Splendor # 6

Gore Creek

Gore Creek is low and clear and conditions are excellent for fishing below Lionshead. Recent warmer weather has created better fishing conditions.Much of Gore Creek is now fishable as the ice recedes. Near Donovan Park,Gore Creek is always relatively ice free. Winter fishing in this stretch can be great with no one on the stream while thousands of skiiers are just above you on Vail, Mountain. Concentrate of fishing deep water in the afternoon with tiny midge and egg patterns for a shot at the winter Grand Slam while skiiers ride just up the hill. Call the shop for current conditions.

Hatches: Midges, BWOs
Recommended Files


Dries: Renegades,BWO Parawulff ,Parachute Adams
Nymphs: Egg Patterns, Red Copper John, Disco Midge #16-22, Rainbow Warrior #16-20, Flashback Hare's Ear #12-18, Twenty Incher #12-16, Beadhead Black Beauty #18, 
Streamers: Black and Olive Conehead buggers #6-10

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FISHING CONDITIONS IN VAIL VALLEY AND ROARING FORK VALLEY CHECKOUT vailvalleyanglers.com OR CONTACT US DIRECTLY AT 970-926-0900


Dragonfly Anglers - Upper Gunnison River and East River Rating:
Conditions:

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.  http://www.dragonflyanglers.com


Duranglers Fly Shop Rating:
Conditions:

April Fly Fishing Report - Duranglers

Unexpected weather is a Durango Spring certainty, but our April fly fishing report might help you succeed on the river.  We woke up this morning to an inch of snow and 30 degree temps.  By the afternoon it was 60s and sunny.  Be prepared for anything!  With fluctuating weather patterns comes fluctuating flows.  Fluctuating flows means timing can become crucial.  Watch the flows and get out on the water during a cooling period when the flows seem to be dropping.  Some of the best days can be had this way.  However, with changing weather patterns, you may check the flows the night before with everything looking great, only to show up the next morning with the river very off color.  Do not be discouraged!  Bigger, darker bugs will still bring in the fish, and you may tow in a slab as off color water tends to draw out the larger fish.

April is also the month that many rivers that have been inaccessible or unfishable are now are open!  The San Juan and the Animas are our constant producers; but the Piedra, Los Pinos, Williams, Florida, San Juan in Pagosa Springs, Dolores, San Miguel, Gunnison, and Uncompahgre are all picking up.  As stated before, if your river of choice looks to be murky and off color; don’t forget that the San Juan, Williams, Los Pinos, Florida, Dolores, and Uncompahgre are all tailwaters.  Please also note that the city of Durango is doing work on Smelter rapids until April 15th.  This means that the water can be off color for about 2 river miles below the river.  This is not necessarily a bad thing and can produce some great feeding lanes with all the bugs being kicked up.

Local flatwater is completely iced of and fishing great. Navajo, Puett, Totten, Pastorius, Summit, Vallecito, Lemon, and McPhee are in full on spring mode.  Call the shop or stop in for a daily report and also keep in mind that pike fishing is going off for those interested in something slightly more vicious.

Insects and Natural Food Sources

There are a few food sources of note here in Southwest Colorado in April.  They are: midges, baetis (blue wing olives), stonefly nymphs, caddis larva, eggs, aquatic worms, cranefly larva, baitfish and sculpins.  The midges and baetis will be in full effect and fantastically fishable with clear water.  If the water has turned slightly off color or the small bugs are not doing it, tie on a stonefly nymph, caddis larva, aquatic worm, or cranefly larva.  Off colored water usually means weird things are being kicked up and washed through the river system, so don’t be afraid to get creative.  If all else fails (or if nothing else sounds as fun), olive, brown, and black streamers…and hit it hard, make it move.  If there is anything we can say about streamer fishing it is this: if you want to be successful, make the fish work for it.  They will.  Here is another tip for you avid streamer fisherpersons, if you are fishing a bright clear day and crystal clear water, try tying on a light streamer such as a rainbow trout fingerling imitation.  You may be surprised.

Baetis will also be in full effect on the San Juan below Navajo Dam.  Dry fly action will pick up in the afternoons.  If they are not eating your baetis dry; tie on a smaller midge dry.  As the San Juan is a tailwater: midge larva, midge pupa, midge, emergers, and midge dries will always be on the menu.  Other food sources to be aware of are: eggs, annelids, aquatic worms, and leeches.

If you are ready to try your hand at pike, then large pike and saltwater streamers in olive or black will be the go to starting at 5 inches up to 9 inches with larger being better.  If you see crayfish in the water, this is also a pike a delicacy.  Meat Whistles, Clouser Minnows, or anything large with a jigging action will work great.

Recommended Fly Patterns

Animas and other SW CO rivers:  Baetis size 16-20: Juju Baetis, Tungsten Micro Mayfly, Foam Wing RS-2, WD-40, Black Copper John, BWO Comparadun, Sparkle Dun, . Midges Sz. 16-20: Green, black, tan or white; size and color matter more than pattern. Green or black caddis larva and cased caddis nymphs sz. 12-18.  Dark stonefly nymphs sz. 10-14 such as a 20 Incher Stone, Prince Nymph, Black Wolly Bugger, Pats Rubberlegs.  Streamers: anything that is big, meaty, and has lots of action in the water.  Kiwi Muddler, Rainbow Trout Fingerling, Black or Olive Buggers, and Animas River Special. Egg patterns, Sz. 16 in orange, pink, and cherise.  Barr’s Cranefly Larva or a wooly worm in size 6 or 8 if you so choose to tie on a cranefly.

San Juan River:  BWO’s Sz.18-22; Two Bit Hooker, Juju baetis, WD-40s, Pheasant Tail, RS-2s, CDC Comparaduns.  Midges Sz.18-26; Scissorbill Special, Red Brassie, Big Mac, Griffith Gnats, and Zebra Midges.  Brown, Olive, and White bunny leaches or buggers of the same color. Tan chamois Leeches size 16. Red annelids Sz. 20-22.  San Juan Worms, Sz. 16-20 in tan, pink, or orange.  Egg patterns, Sz. 16 in orange, pink, and cherise. Rainbow Trout streamers in the lower stretches of the river such as T&A Rainbow.

If you are after pike, then Engler’s Pike Fly is a good choice.  Barry’s Pike Fly, Clouser Minnows, Meat Whistle, and very large Buggers.  Try flies in black, olive, purple, red, and white.

- See more at: http://duranglers.com/march-2014-durango-fly-fishing/#sthash.cn9G4GjK.dpuf

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:
Conditions:

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


Steamboat Flyfisher Rating:
Conditions:

March Fly Fishing Report

The Yampa River has been on fire recently. We've had a couple weeks of warm weather and the river is completely open from the tailwater all the way through town.  Small black stoneflies and midges have been working well in slow deep water.  The afternoons have generally been better then the mornings, but that could change depending on the weather.  Fish have been rising most afternoons and guys are having success fishing with small midges in the film.  Try a Pablo's Cripple, Spider Midge or CDC Spent Midge in sizes 18-24.  Swing by Steamboat Flyfisher and we will point you in the right direction and like us on Facebook to receive the most up-to-date information!

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.