Welcome to the Trouts Monthly Frisco/Mountain Forecast!
If you feel like me, it is hard to believe it is April already, nonetheless the middle of April. This next month offers great fishing opportunities, with most rivers opening up from winter, some of the year's first “big” hatches on the horizon, and rising temperatures. Sure we will have more cold fronts moving through Colorado, but there will be plenty of warmer weather windows to get out and enjoy some great days on the water. Maybe even break out the boat for some pre-run-off floats
The Colorado River above Parshall:
The ice has just dropped off this section of the river and this opens up a bunch more public water opportunities above the confluence with the Williams Fork. These are some of my favorite sections of water to fish on the upper Colorado. Nymphing and streamer fishing will be your go-to techniques but don’t rule out dry fly fishing to fish rising to blue-winged olives or midges.
The Colorado below Kremmling:
The ice has dropped and this means some great float fishing from Pumphouse all the way to Dotsero. This is one of my favorite times of year to experience this section of the river. There will be less boat traffic and the fish haven’t seen many anglers yet. Nymphing and streamer fishing will be the most successful techniques, but you can always try long dry dropper setups and look for rising fish in eddies.
The South Platte in Park County:
The ice has dropped on many sections of the Middle Fork of the South Platte, the South Fork of the South Platte, and the South Platte. If you are looking for something new, maybe walk some of the miles and miles of bends of these streams. You never know what you might find in these spring months. Nymphing and streamer fishing will be your techniques of choice and think about using some heavier tippet in case you hook into a large one.
The Arkansas River at Salida:
We are on the ramp-up towards the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch, so look for a lot of bug activity and with this some great fish activity. The fish have started to move out of their winter lies and you can find them all over the river, from the deep holes to the riffles. Look for good blue-winged olive hatches as cold fronts move through and keep your eyes peeled for the first caddis hatches.
The Roaring Fork below Carbondale:
The Roaring Fork is flowing at a great level for floating and this is a great time of year to get on this river. You will be nymphing mostly but long dry droppers can produce fish as well. Streamer fishing can produce some exciting fishing on the Roaring Fork. If you like to fish dry flies, the cloudy days can produce some good blue-winged olive fishing but also look for the season first caddis hatches moving up the river corridor.
Back to a favorite streamer of mine. This streamer is a favorite for many reasons. It’s extremely easy to cast, sinks fast even though not extremely heavy, swims well, and is extremely durable. And most importantly, it catches fish! Make sure you have one in your box!
With freestones opening up, bugs on the move, and the potential for some slightly off-color water. There really is no better pattern than the Pat’s Rubber Leg. This time of year I start fishing this pattern on most days as my first attractor pattern on my nymphing or dry-dropper setup.
Since I have been talking about the potential of off-color water and prospecting on bend after bend of recently opened water. The San Juan Worm is another great attractor pattern for this time of year. Fish this pattern deep as the first or second attractor pattern on your nymphing setup and mix up the colors if your first choice isn’t doing the trick.
With blue-winged olives becoming active as well as many other nymphs in the river systems, in these spring months. The radiation baetis is a great pattern to use as your last fly on your nymphing or dry-dropper setup. Named a baetis, this pattern can most definitely represent a baetis nymph but can look like many other nymphs in the river. With its good size and color range, this fly goes in my box in its many sizes and colors.
With classic patterns being named in this article above I figured it was worth mentioning this classic dry fly pattern. This pattern rarely disappoints, floats extremely well, and most importantly is extremely visible. I have this pattern in my fly box from sizes 12 to 22.
The Colorado at Hot Sulphur Springs- 160 CFS
The Colorado at Parshall- 204 CFS
The Williams Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir- 57.4 CFS
The Colorado at Kremmling- 611 CFS
The Colorado at Catamount Bridge- 847 CFS
The Colorado at Dotsero- 1370 CFS
The Roaring Fork at Emma- 329 CFS
The Crystal River at Carbondale- 246 CFS
The Roaring Fork at Glenwood Springs- 677 CFS
The Colorado at Glenwood Springs- 2010 CFS
The Arkansas at Salida- 184 CFS
The Arkansas at Wellsville- 212 CFS
The South Fork of the South Platte above Antero Reservoir- 8 CFS
The South Platte above Spinney Reservoir- 61 CFS
The South Platte above Eleven Mile Reservoir- 123 CFS
The next month looks to have the typical Colorado spring weather pattern. A few days of warm and sunny followed by a few days of snow and cold. Look for this trend to continue into May. Get out and enjoy the warm days but look for off-color water towards the end of these warm periods. Look for the cold fronts to clear the river systems and start that cycle over again. This will be an ongoing trend for the weeks to come.