There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation as it pertains to fishing in Colorado, so I wanted to offer our customers another update on where we stand in regards to fishing during the current drought we are experiencing. First and foremost, it is important to remember that the entire Western U.S. is experiencing overly dry and hot conditions this summer, and if you watch what is happening in states surrounding Colorado, we’re actually doing quite well all things considered.
There has been some positive news this week regarding the Colorado River, as Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced on Monday that they were lifting the voluntary fishing closure of the Colorado River from State Bridge to Red Dirt Creek, and imposing a new afternoon voluntary closure on that section. Last week the section of the Colorado from Kremmling to State Bridge was re-opened fully, and that is still the case as of today. All of this is thanks to the water managers at Wolford Mountain Reservoir, Williams Fork Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir finally releasing adequate water that the upper Colorado River rightfully deserves. All of this does have a silver lining though, that being ample, clean and cold water sitting in the numerous reservoirs that make up the upper Colorado River Basin. While I have been remarking mostly on the three just mentioned, there are other holding basins including Lake Granby and Dillon Reservoir, both of which are holding back additional water from the Colorado River. Here’s a breakdown of all of the reservoirs in the Upper Colorado River Basin and their current water levels:
Lake Granby - 85%
Williams Fork Reservoir - 90%
Wolford Mountain Reservoir - 100%
Green Mountain Reservoir - 68%
Dillon Reservoir - 100%
As you can see from these numbers, we have ample water that is waiting to be released down these three river systems, all of which will be making its way downstream to the sections of the Colorado that are currently restricted, bringing much relief to the downstream fish populations. So, the unfortunate reality is that we’re ultimately in a waiting game, but the good news is that we know we have water coming.
Now we’re getting questions in both stores about rivers other than the Colorado, so I wanted to take a moment to address those questions and concerns. Currently, the Eagle River and Roaring Fork Rivers are starting to see reduced flows, which is leading to dangerous water temperatures during the afternoon hours. While this is unfortunate, it is by no means unexpected, as we see this happen on these rivers quite often during the middle of summer. We are supposed to get some much-needed mountain rain this week, which will certainly help in keeping these rivers open to the public. With that said, we won’t be surprised if a voluntary closure is enacted on that particular river.
The only other river system(s) that are currently experiencing water issues are the Yampa River and Elk River in Northern Colorado. With the exception of the rivers I just mentioned, there are not other notable water issues on the rest of Colorado’s fishable watersheds.
What does this mean for our customers? GET OUT AND FISH, as the fishing has been fantastic.
Trouts is here to ensure your time on the water is as meaningful as possible, and in that vein, we have been putting together some killer content to help our customers make the most of their time fishing. Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve got to offer.
Over the years, we have focused on growing our fly fishing education program. We recognize and want to emphasize the importance of the relationship between new and experienced anglers. Here at Trouts, we take pride in educating anglers of all types. We have in-store openings for our Fly Fishing 101, Bugs For Beginners, and Beginner Casting Classes. Looking to get out on the water? We have openings for a variety of our on-the-water schools including our One-Day Beginner School, Two-Day Beginner School, Dry Fly School, Nymphing School, and Carp School.
Flows on the South Platte have essentially doubled below Cheesman and there are plenty of happy fish and solid summer hatches taking place along the South Platte to keep any angler entertained and engaged. If you are still looking to get away from the crowds take it upon yourself and give one of Colorado's famous high country options a try.
This is no doubt an interesting summer of weather and water we are experiencing, but as someone who has lived in Colorado for my entire life, this isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before. So long as we are all mindful of the current conditions, and we work to find safe places to fish, there is no reason anyone needs to put their summer fishing on pause. We’ve still got a few days in August with guide availability, and our new Educational Curriculum is second to none, so give us a call or come by one of our store locations, and let the expert staff at Trouts Fly Fishing get you out on the water.
Remember that our home is your home, or maybe we’ll see you on the water.
Tucker Ladd - President/Owner Trouts Fly Fishing