September and fall are upon us in the high country. Fall always comes so fast with our short summers in the mountains but I think many of us were looking forward to the cooldown that fall brings. This summer brought us some warm temperatures to some of our rivers and with these warm temperatures, some closures. We have moved past these in most areas with reservoirs starting to release cold water and cool long fall nights. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to enjoy Colorado’s rivers and fishing. The crowds have subsided and the fishing tends to respond to the lighter pressure. Cooler temperatures and the promise of colder temperatures to come, encourage the fish to fatten up for the winter.
The Colorado below the Williams Fork Confluence:
Fall is one of my favorite times of year to fish this section. There is an abundance of trout living in this section and as we move into the cooler temperatures of the fall and with the first fall weather systems moving through Colorado, look for blue-winged olive hatches on the cooler cloudy days.
The William’s Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir:
With flows just dropping to a more manageable wading level, this is a great time of year to get to the Williams Fork. I have had some of my best days here in the fall months. You still might be able to get away with hopper dropper fishing and look for blue-winged olives on any day on the Williams Fork.
The Roaring Fork from Aspen to Glenwood Springs:
This river comes alive in the fall. There is great wade fishing on the upper stretches and the lower stretches below Carbondale offer some great float fishing. There is still a good mix of bugs hatching, but now is the time of year to start thinking and fishing blue-winged olive nymphs and dries on this river. And of course, fall on this river can offer some great streamer fishing.
The Arkansas from Buena Vista Cañon City:
With the cooling fall temperatures now is the time you can start venturing downriver on the Arkansas. As the flows start dropping on the upper stretches the fish will move to more water downstream. This makes for some loaded sections of river. As per the fall trend look for the colder and cloudy days for some great blue-winged olive action. But the next few weeks still offer some great hopper dropper fishing as well.
The Colorado from Kremmling to Dotsero:
If you have followed me at all, you know I love to float fish the Colorado in the fall months. Right now this is the season. Plenty of cold and clear water is in the river and this has jump-started some great fishing. With the closures this summer the fish seemed to enjoy a little solitude and have grown fat and healthy. The Hopper dropper fishing has been excellent as well as the streamer fishing. If you can hit the river on one of the fall weather systems cloudy days, look for a great treat of a blue-winged olive hatch and the river coming alive with rising trout.
This is a favorite streamer to fish in the fall. It is extremely easy to cast, pulses well in the water with a mix of rubber legs and rabbit strips. Comes in a good variety of colors from black, white, crawdad and olive to name a few. And I have been told by Ivan that in this pattern “olive” is not technically “olive”. Just happens that “olive” can be a favorite to fish in this pattern.
Since it’s the last push for the next six weeks or so to fish chubbies before winter hits us, the chubby is making the list. It’s hard to go wrong with how well this pattern floats dropper rigs and then add in it’s superior visibility and you have a winner for many fishing occasions in my book.
Bringing back another favorite for this time of year. With some of the higher flows we are seeing on the Colorado this is a favorite fly to get your dropper rig down to the fish. If you’re not picking up fish on the standard Pat’s Rubber Legs, give this fly a try. It’s a lighter color and slimmer profile seem to catch fish for me when other patterns aren’t doing the trick.
This is a great pattern for the next couple of months with the potential of blue-winged olive hatches. I love to fish this on blue-winged olive days as my third fly in a triple dropper setup. This fly comes in a pale morning dun and blue-winged olive patterns and I love to have a mix of both in my fly box.
This is the time of year I especially like to fish this pattern in its smaller sizes. With its blue flashback, this fly gives the trout something they don’t see often and it just fishes well. In the smaller sizes it is a good representation of blue-winged olives nymphs and with a little bit of flash can also represent an emergence. If you haven’t given this fly a try, this is the time of year to tie it on.
The Williams Fork below Willams Fork Reservoir- 131 CFS
The Colorado near Parshall below the Williams Fork Confluence- 267 CFS
The Colorado at Kremmling- 1050 CFS
The Colorado at Catamount Bridge- 1150 CFS
The Roaring Fork at Emma- 380 CFS
The Frying Pan Near Ruedi- 296 CFS
The Roaring Fork at Glenwood Springs- 557 CFS
The Arkansas at Granite- 485 CFS
The Arkansas at Salida- 245 CFS
The Arkansas at Wellsville- 279 CFS
We have been experiencing some great fall weather up in the high country. The monsoon pattern has changed a bit, although we have still been getting a few stray rain showers. Look for a stretch of clear and sunny days in the next week, then a small cold front will move through Colorado. This could be a good time to look for blue-winged olives on your favorite stretch. Look for this pattern to continue into the early part of October but keep an eye out for the chances of a bigger cold front to drop some of Colorado’s first snow as we move deeper into the fall