Welcome to the Trouts Monthly Frisco/Mountain Forecast!
August is here and most people refer to this time of year as the dog days of summer. While we still are seeing some low flows and warm water temperatures on some of our lower river sections of the Colorado, Eagle, and Roaring Fork. We have been seeing a good monsoon pattern this summer and many of the upper high country streams are running full and cold. In fact, this past July was the wettest in ten years. And while this has caused mudslides, off-color water, and cold afternoons, It sure has been a welcome change and is benefiting our drought conditions hugely.
So as we move into August, the hope is to continue with some monsoonal flow and capitalize on every ounce of rainwater we can get. As we move towards the middle of August we typically see evening temperatures start to drop in the high country and this will help stabilize our lower altitude stream temperatures, with all of these coming together to hopefully create some great fishing and fishing opportunities.
Here are some of my favorite stretches to visit in the weeks to come.
The Blue River north of Silverthorne:
The summer is a great time to fish in this section of the Blue River. We are starting to see some higher releases from Dillon and with these releases we are seeing some good hatches daily. Look for pale morning duns, caddis, small stones, drakes, and more. This section offers everything from deep long runs, riffles, and some of my favorite pocket water locally. The next month is a great time of year to explore what the Blue River has to offer.
The Frying Pan below Ruedi:
This section's flows have been bumping up and that should mean some great fish and bug activity. This tailwater section will be running cold and clear for quite a few miles below the dam. With the extra flow, look for fish to be actively feeding on Mysis shrimp but also look for this added flow to trigger hatches downstream. Look for pale morning duns, caddis, small stones, drakes and more to be hatching.
The Arkansas from Leadville to Buena Vista:
All the added rainwater coming into this river system is making for some excellent fishing well into the summer this year. This excess water is giving the fish plenty of bug life to feed on and many more hiding places. If you look farther downstream, Lake Creek below Twin Lakes Reservoir has been delivering some good flows and the fishing and hatches have been excellent as well. Look for caddis, yellow sallies, other small stones, pale morning duns, and more.
The South Platte above Spinney Mountain Reservoir:
Just like many of the other upper stream sections, this section is fishing well. The rainstorms are filling this stream's many bends with plenty of cold water. These rainstorms can muddy this system a bit, but I have had some of my best luck when the river has a little color in the water. Fish every little eddy, riffle, and pocket and you might be surprised. This is a great time of year for hopper dropper fishing with so much bug activity on this section. But this is also a great time of year to walk the miles of bends stripping your favorite streamer through some murky suspecting water.
The South Platte above Elevenmile Reservoir:
This is the section also known as the Dream Stream. While this section can be crowded in the summer months, it can also surprise you. With its miles of bends comes bend after bend of holding water. There really is always somewhere to fish, especially if you don’t mind walking a bit. The summer months bring the trico hatch and while this hatch can be frustrating, it is also pretty darn cool to see large fish sipping small dries. Once you tire of this, nymphing the many bender holes can be quite rewarding.
If we are talking higher off-color flows on the upper South Platte as we start moving toward fall. I would have to want to tie on a black peanut envy and walk the miles of bends stripping this streamer looking for some large fish to swoop on that fly. This fly casts extremely well, gets to the pocket, and looks super fishy on the retrieve.
I don’t know what it is about royal stimulator and the fall for me, but over the years I have had great success using this fly on some of these upper stream sections in late summer and early fall. The stimulator looks like many insects, floats well, and is easy to see. This pattern excels either fished alone or with a dropper under it.
If you saw the recent photo essay Throwin’ Stones, you might have noticed I started the day with a hot wing elk caddis. The morning provided some great caddis activity before the yellow sallies were coming off. The hot wing with its “hot” wing is extremely easy to see, floats exceptionally well, is very durable, and just catches fish after fish. I have quite a few of these in my fly box for fishing as a second dry, solo dry, or the dry on a dry-dropper rig.
With the colder water in the upper river systems, the hatches have just kept going and going. A favorite dropper pattern is the soft hackle pheasant tail. The tungsten bead gets this fly in the zone and the little bit of flash and soft hackle attracts the fish's attention. This fly fishes extremely well in all sizes.
Sure we talk about this fly often and a lot in the winter months. But really this pattern in all its sizes and colors fishes great year-round. With flows up on the “Dream”, this is a great pattern to use as one of your nymphs on one of the bender holes. In this particular section I will be using any of the colors but in the size 20 or 22.
The weather for the next period should see an extended monsoon pattern for the next few weeks. These monsoon patterns look to be broken up by periods of warm and dry periods. Look for evening temperatures to start dropping as we move to the middle of August and you never know, we might even see some snow up high during one of these monsoonal flows as we get toward the middle to end of August.