Welcome to the Trouts Monthly Frisco/Mountain Forecast!
This fall in Colorado has been quite spectacular with some beautiful weather, moderate temperatures, and one of the best fall foliage seasons I have seen in a while. We have had a couple of fall storms bringing some rain and snow to the highest elevations, but for the most part, the weather has been quite pleasurable. While the nice weather doesn’t bring the prolific blue-winged olive hatches, I have managed to find a few hours of good dry fly action on the stormier days. The nicer weather has allowed me to extend my hopper-dropper season with great success. I do expect this trend to change in the weeks to come, as cooler temperatures and weather systems start to flow through Colorado.
Here are some sections I will be looking to fish in the weeks to come.
The Arkansas River Salida to Buena Vista:
Not much will change with wanting to fish the area for the next couple of months. The lower altitude brings a wider window of prime feeding hours with warmer temperatures. Look for the prime fishing times to start moving to the middle of the day, and extending into the evening and as we move into winter, look for these peak feeding times to move to the middle of the day. This is a favorite place to look for blue-winged olive hatches on cloudy and stormy days. The sunny and warm days can have some very active and hungry trout on the move during these prime feeding hours.
The Blue River North of Silverthorne:
Fishing locally is sometimes overlooked with the desire to get out and explore. I tend to forget just how pleasing fishing the Blue River north of Silverthorne can be. The Gore Range looms in the background for a beautiful backdrop and the Blue River itself is quite spectacular. Add in the opportunity to fish blue-winged olives to rising fish and you have a win-win situation.
The Colorado above Dotsero:
As the weather cools you will find me heading to some lower altitude destinations to not only enjoy some warmer temperatures, but also enjoy that longer feeding window in the shortening and cooling days. This area brings just that and more with beautiful scenery, fall foliage, minimal people, and some great fall float and wade fishing opportunities, to name a few.
The Colorado below Glenwood Springs:
As we keep moving into shorter and cooler days, I will start moving my fishing experiences down the valley and into altitude. This area is a great place to extend your fly fishing season, whether you are float or wade fishing. Besides the extended season and warmer temperatures, this area offers some active and feisty trout looking to fatten up for the winter months.
The South Platte above Spinney Reservoir:
The next few weeks will offer some of the last opportunities to fish this section of river before the temperature and ice-up start to send the trout back to the reservoir or deeper holding water to winter under the ice. The flows are low and the fish can be spooky, but you might just find some large fish fattening up before the impending winter. There can be a good run of browns spawning in these waters, so steer clear of reds and paired-up fish.
As we come into the last few weeks of hopper-dropper fishing and some of the year's lowest and clearest flows, sometimes a lower profile fly can be just the right trick to fool picky and wary trout. This pattern sits low on the water, has a very slim profile, and has a white post for visibility to help see this sparse attractor pattern.
Speaking of low-profile patterns, this is a favorite for those picky trout this time of year. With its unique tail, sparse body, and deer hair wing, this pattern sits low, but has just enough floatation and visibility to fool the fish and be seen by the angler.
This is a favorite fly to fish for trout looking for those smaller baetis patterns. Some added weight of the tungsten bead will aid in slightly sinking this fly in dry-dropper situations or get it to just the right level in the water column in nymphing situations. The little bit of flash gets the attention of the fish, and my favorite attribute of this fly is its durability.
This is another one of my favorite baetis patterns, but this one has minimal weight, and instead of a tungsten bead, uses a colored glass bead to add some flash and color. The color and flash give the trout something a little different and attract their attention. The lighter weight can come in handy when you need a free-floating dead drift, as well.
The Li’l Kim is sometimes an overlooked pattern in the streamer world. Personally, I think this comes from its “Bin Appeal” or in this case, the lack of it. Bin appeal isn’t what catches fish, but what catches the angler. In this flies bin, it looks like just a bunch of fluff and flash, but get this fly wet and moving and you have a whole other “appeal”. I highly recommend putting a few of these in your fly box for your fall streamer fishing options.
The Blue River below Dillon Reservoir- 55 CFS
The Colorado at Hot Sulphur Springs- 75 CFS
The Williams Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir- 194 CFS
The Colorado at Kremmling- 762 CFS
The Colorado at Catamount Bridge- 812 CFS
The Colorado at Dotsero- 1090 CFS
The Colorado below Glenwood Springs- 1820 CFS
The Arkansas near Leadville- 33 CFS
Lake Creek below Twin Lakes- 20 CFS
The Arkansas at Granite- 132 CFS
The Arkansas near Nathrop- 335 CFS
The Arkansas at Salida- 318 CFS
The South Platte above Spinney Reservoir- 42 CFS
The South Platte above Eleven Mile Reservoir- 149 CFS
In the next month, we should start to see the transition into full-on fall conditions and the arrival of some of the first snow storms of the season. With these snow storms and cloudy days look for blue-winged olive hatches. We will still see plenty of sunshine for weeks to come but look for daytime high temperatures to start falling. Look to fish the days as they warm and into the early evening.