Trouts Journal

Trouts Frisco Forecast | May 2023 Edition

Zeke Hersh / May 18, 2023

Welcome to the Trouts Monthly Frisco/Mountain Forecast!

With the first of Colorado’s major hatches upon us, we are starting to move through spring and into the summer months. That means we have one of Colorado’s premier hatches to look forward to - the good ole SALMONFLY. This hatch is just around the corner and if we get lucky we may just get some opportunities to fish this hatch. So far, the weather patterns are looking promising for some opportunities. With some warming and then cooling weather patterns, this has allowed for the river conditions to clear to fishable levels during the cold fronts. Look for this trend to continue for the next few weeks and be ready to hit the Colorado River as we near the end of May and the beginning of June, in search of this impressive hatch and insect.

Here are some sections I will be looking to fish in the weeks to come.


The Colorado from Hot Sulphur Springs to Kremmling:

Although there have been some higher flows on the Upper Colorado this year, this section of the river is a must to check out. Until peak runoff hits us there will be opportunities to fish this section as we ride the warming and cooling trends of the next few weeks. The river might not be completely clear, but if it looks like tea or diner coffee you should be in luck. Just steer clear of the Yoohoo chocolate milk. This is also one of the best sections to wade fish during the salmonfly hatch as it moves above Gore Canyon.

The Colorado River from Kremmling to Dotsero:

With the start of the spring snowmelt runoff starting to hit Colorado rivers, finding floating opportunities can be challenging. The Colorado will rise and fall as cold temperatures move in and out of Colorado. As the river drops with these cold fronts look for the river to clear to fishable levels, with a turbidity level below fifty for fishable conditions. While it will not be perfect clarity, you can get some surprise opportunities with caddis hatches, and hungry trout. As we move toward the end of May and look for salmonflies to move upper the river corridor.

The South Platte above Eleven Mile Reservoir:

As a true tailwater section, this is a go-to option to fish when we start to see peak runoff. The three miles or so of this tailwater offer great fishable water, with bend after bend of fishy water and the potential for a very large trout in every one of those bends. In the weeks to come, look for blue-winged olive hatches and keep your eyes open for caddis to start to become active as the next major hatch on this section of the river.

The Arkansas River - Granite to Salida:

The Arkansas River will continue to be a great option in the weeks to come. As we start getting warmer and warmer and much of the snowmelt starts to come down off the peaks, look for the flows to come up and clarity in the river to start to be a bit more challenging. This river tends to stay a little less muddy than others, so that can still offer good options on this river. A good trick is to follow the caddis hatch up the river corridor which usually corresponds with lower flows and clearer waters.

South Park Reservoirs:

With peak runoff usually occurring the last week of May or the beginning of June, these reservoirs will be great options to get off the swollen and off-color rivers. Make sure you get on the water early as the South Park wind usually picks up about lunchtime. This just means it's time to take a break, eat some lunch, and for an added bonus, fish the tailwater section below Spinney Reservoir.


Umpqua Foam Caddis

As water levels come up a fly's buoyancy is a crucial attribute. This pattern with its foam body checks that box. With its medium to smaller profile, this is a great pattern to fish to match the hatch or help you locate the pattern you are expecting the trout to eat. This is a great first double dry pattern in the weeks to come and also works very well as a dry fly in a dry dropper setup.

Umpqua Chubby Chernobyl

If you need an even more buoyant dry fly, the Chubby Chornobyl is hard to beat. This time of year I am not necessarily looking to get much interest in the pattern itself, but mostly to help me see the other dry fly I may be fishing behind it. Or in many situations, act as the indicator in a dry dropper setup and be able to float larger stonefly patterns under it and most importantly detect any subtle strikes with the ease of its visibility.

Umpqua Tungsten Dirty Bird

The Dirty Bird quickly became a favorite pattern once I got to put it to use a few years ago. The tungsten bead gets this fly down quickly in the higher flows of spring runoff which is extremely important in the weeks to come. You can fish the larger patterns as a first heaver dropper or fish a smaller version as your last dropper to represent an emerging insect. The fly checks all the boxes for this time of year, a darker profile, a little bit of flash, and heavy bead.

Umpqua Pat's Rubberlegs

With stoneflies on the move, water flows on the rise, and water clarity starting to get poor, this pattern is a no-brainer. This fly’s weight, size, color profiles, and buggy legs work so well in the off-color conditions we will encounter in the runoff season. This is a staple pattern in my fly box and will be a first choice as I am adding my first nymph to whatever setup I am fishing.

Umpqua Double Dirty Hippie

This pattern is a great higher profile articulated streamer pattern for the next weeks to come, with higher flows and off-color water. Even with this fly's size, this pattern casts very easily and won’t tire you on your long streamer days. This fly swims well and looks great in the water and has all the attributes needed for a successful streamer fishing day on the water.



The weather for the weeks to come looks to be cooler in the high country with chances of precipitation on most days. This should help the snow melt to come down a bit slower for the weeks to come and with this look for periods of clearer water and lower flows. Typically this pattern changes around the first part of June, which should mean warmer temperatures and typically one of Colorado’s driest months of the year. Then summer is right around the corner.

Stop by our Denver or Frisco locations to see what locations and flies are fishing best!

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