Fryingpan River

The fryingpan river is one of the most famous famous fisheries in the west, and for very good reason. It is located in basalt, which is near glenwood springs. It is about 180 miles west of denver and takes about 3 hours to reach, but the fishing is worth the drive. The most popular area to fish the fryingpan is in the lower river belw ruedi dam. The river can get extremely crowded at all times of the year because it is a tailwater, which stays ice free for most of the winter. I have only fished the fryingpan once, and it was packed with other anglers even on a weekday.

The river below ruedi dam is most congested with anglers, and the further down the river you go there will be fewer anglers; but the fishing also becomes not as good. Directly below the dam is a hole called the “toilet bowl,” which is a a deep small pond right at the outlet of the reservoir. This spot will almost certainly have an angler in it from morning till night, and the only way to fish it is to wait your turn. There are monsterous rainbows over ten pounds that are caught regularly from the toliet bowl. The best way to fish this hole is with mysis shrimps, and lots of weight. You don’t neccessarily need an indicator, just lob the flies up into the moving water and stay in contact with them just as you do short line nymphing.

The fryingpan fishes much like other tailwaters in colorado with good midge and mayfly hatches in march and april as wel as in the fall. But the major hatch that brings alot of anglers are the green drake mayflies which come in mid july. Fishing both nymphs and dry flies can be productive depending on where the hatch is at. A size 12 olive hares ear or green-wired copper john work well for nymphs. I fished the river in early august just on the tailend of the hatch, though i caught a few on green drake imitations. The key difference that makes the fryingpan different than other tailwaters is how pressured the fish are. You can’t skimp on any of your tactics and expect to catch fish. Using 6x tippet is the only way to go, and flourocarbon would probobly be even better. If you can get away without an idicator, it will increase your chances as well because they often times spook fish. It may be much further from denver than other popular rivers, but the fryingpan is worth experiencing at least once. They rainbows are big and are brilliantly colored much like cheeseman canyon rainbows. Plus you will also have a chance at browns, cutthroats, and brook trout.

 

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Published in: on May 1, 2008 at 6:24 pm  Comments (1)  

Cache La Poudre

Both the cache la poudre and Big thompson rivers are located in northern colorado, and they start there decent from Rocky Mountain National Park. There are two general sections of the Poudre; the “big south bend” and the lower section that flows down through fort collins. The big south bend is accessible via a foot path that leaves the road behind, whereas the lower river follows highway 14 for nearly 40 miles down stream through fort collins. Unlike the Big Thompson, the Poudre is predominately full of brown trout, as the rainbow population was wiped out by whirling disease. The river isn’t lacking any fish though, because the brown trout have filled the niche that the rainbows left behind. According to a Colorado Biologist, the rivers “biomass is at an all time high.” He estimates there are roughly 2900 fish per mile. Fish in the upper section are generally smaller than what is found in the river along highway 14. Two popular sections for flyfisherman are the designated “wild trout” sections. The first section is above pingree park bridge, which is 20 miles upstream from the mouth of the canyon. The section section is found at black hollow creek and continues up to the big bend campground. Fishing in theses sections is “flies and lures only.” The upper wild trout section is located near a state fish hatchery. The output from the hatchery usually keeps this section clear of ice through the winter. Both the wild trout sections and the rest of river have good numbers of fish; these sections in particular see more pressure than the rest of the river which can make the trout a little more picky.

The best time to fish the poudre is prior to runoff in april and may and after runoff from july through october. My favorite time is in the early fall; the flows are low but respectible enough that there is good holding water for the fish. During runoff, the river is usually considered unfishable beacuse the flows get so high. This is a popular time for kayakers to use the river. In the spring there are good hatches of both midges and baetis. Beginning in late june and early july there are godo green drake hatches. This is a fun time to fish the river because the flies are so big; size 12 and 14. This time of year also has good terrestrial hatches. The poudre is generally not considered a technical fishery. The trout like flashy attractors, grasshoppers, stimulators, ants etc.   

Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Big Thompson

The big thompson is a popular colorado river that runs along highway 34 from estes park to loveland. The lower river is a tailwater, which flows out of lake estes in the town of estes park. The river is predominately full of rainbow trout, out numbering browns about 3 to 1. The river typically stays low and warmer earlier in the season due to it being a tailwater. In march and april there are plenty of midge hatches, and in may there a more baetis. During the summer, this section can get pretty noisey because of tourists and other recreationalists, but if you come in the spring and late in the fall it will be much quiter. After runoff in late june- july there is great dry fly fishing with caddis, pale morning duns and green drakes. The caddis hatches can get very thick as well. My favorite way to fish the big thompson in the late summer and fall is with a dry-dropper rig. You can use a larger elk-hair caddis (#14-16), and “drop” a bead head nymph of some sort off the bend of the hook. Depending on water depths, the tippet should be 15″ to 2 feet. Stimulators also work very well for this application because they are easy to see and can also draw strikes. The average fish is quite small, maybe 12 inches, but they are also wild and very colorful.

Published in: on April 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Deckers Update

I visited deckers last weekend on the 5th, and was pretty suprised to see the number of other anglers there. It was my second time fishing there this year after a failed attempt during January. The river is looking much improved since then though, and all the ice sheets are gone. The river is still running low but was recently bumped up to about 100 cfs which is decent. It is also running very clear, even below horse creek; it seems all the dirty water in the high country has flushed through and is now clear. When i first arrived at the river i was seeing quite a bit of anglers on the lower half, and assumed that if it’s “crowded” far down, then it is only worse up higher. I got on the river at about 10 o’clock, and it looked like it would be a nice day in the 60s, but it soon turned cold and very windy. I started out near the south platte campground area and caught a small rainbow on a rainbow warrior, but did not get any more activity. I moved up the river to above the deckers bridge. It was much more crowded in the section as I had expected, and I almost did not find a piece of water to fish. Fortunately I came across a guy who was just getting out of the stream, so i took his spot. I was in a very promissing looking hole, right below the barb wire fence near the Tee pee club. By this time the weather began to warm up and I switched one of my flies to a pheasant tail. I worked this water for quite a while without any success. I saw a few trout in this run, but couldn’t get any to take my fly. I moved back down river below deckers near the town of trumble. I caught two smaller rainbows on the pheasant tail, short-line nymphing with an indicator. I noticed that the trout were beginning to move more into the faster water, but not so much to warrant fishing in the riffles. I caught all three trout in relatively slow, deep currents far off the seams. They were holding very deep, so it is important to use plenty of weight. If you aren’t losing flies occasionally on the bottom, you aren’t using enough weight. Overall I think deckers is waking up and should continue to get better as the weather warms, and hopefully higher flows.

Published in: on April 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Getting Started

 

Fly Fishing can be an intimidating sport to get started in. To people who have never been fly fishing it can seem very complicated, but it basically isn’t all that hard to pick up for most. I was fortunate and got started gradually with the help of friend. I started fishing like most people do, with a conventional rod and reel. When I went fishing with my friend(and his dad), I would use my spinning reel while they fly fished. Over time I slowly picked up the casting technique as well as other things. This made it much easier than being tossed into a river with no real idea what i was doing. If you take it slow, you will be more likely at succeeding instead of becoming frustrated and quiting.

I would suggest that you go to a good local fly shop where the people are knowledgable and can get you started. There are many good small fly shops still remaining in colorado, especially in the towns near popular rivers. I would not suggest going to the large “outdoor” type stores like gander mountain because the people generally are not hardcore fly fisherman or even fisherman for that matter. Smaller shops will offer much more personalized help, and while they may be little more expensive it will be worth it in the long run. It’s important to support these smaller family run fly shops and keep them from “going under” by places like Bass Pro Shops.

Many fly shops will have guiding services or instructional classes that can help beginners get started. By starting out this way, you don’t drop alot of money on equipment only to find out you really don’t like fly fishing. Most classes will provide you with all the equipment. If you decide you would like to start fly fishing, you can by your equipment after the class. Also, by starting out with a guide, you will experience success right away and be hooked for good.

Fly fishing can be an expensive sport but there are many ways you can save money in the long run. You can start tying your own flies to save money, as well as buy equipment only whenyou really need it; as you progress you can add more things and buy better rods etc. You coud spend $700 on just a rod, or as little as $100 but you do get what you pay for. I would suggest buying the best equipment you can afford early on to save yourself the money of upgrading later down the road. The rod is generally considered the most important peice in flyfishing, and you shouldn’t skimp on this. For trout fishing in Colorado a 5 to 6 weight rod is ideal. A matching real would also be classified as a “#5 or 6”. The fly shops will be able and make sure you get the right rod, reel and line. Waders and boots will also be something to invest in. “Breathable” waders are pretty much the norm today and are a much better choice than the old neoprenes. You will also need a vest or pack, and accessories like clippers, tippet, flyboxes, forceps and possibly a net. Here is a list of my personal favorite manufactures for the equipment you will need:

   rossreels.com (fly reels)

 stcroixrods.com (fly rods)

Published in: on April 3, 2008 at 3:33 pm  Comments (1)  

South Platte below Spinney

The south platte river below spinney reservoir is commonly called the “dream stream,” and for good reason. Both brown and rainbow trout as well as snake river cutthroats are found in the river, and average about 16-18 inches. The trout in this section of the south platte are substantially bigger overall than the other stretches discussed, and even bigger trout enter the river in the spring and fall from eleven mile reservoir.

How to get to the river:

US 24 is the main road from colorado springs that will take you to Spinney reservoir. There will be signs directing you to spinney reservoir, and you take a left on CR 23 and then right onto CR 592. This will take you to will take you to the parking lot right below the dam. You will need to buy a pass or have a states park permit to get in.

Fishing the Dream Stream:

The section below Spinney Mountain reservoir is approximetely 3 miles long and feeds into elevenmile reservoir. There is a bridge half way between the two lakes which separates the upper portion from the lower. There is a parking lot at this bridge too so you can start out at either the dam or the bridge. It flows through a flat prairy/meadow type land and is almost always windy. This stretch can be successfully fished year round though low flows in the winter can make it extra difficult.

I perfer to fish this section in both the spring and fall when there are good BWO hatches but my concern is fishes it when it’s not crowded. This means going during the week and not weekend. As with the other sections of the southplatte, this sections gets hammered as hard if not harder by many anglers. There are some areas that require more walking, such as between the two parking lots. Most anglers won’t stray far from their vehicle so if your willing to walk you can find solitude. As a rule of thumb, this river is fished most successfully by nymphing and with small midges and nymphs. The fishing is technical and tricky but not as hard as cheesman canyon.

In june there are both good PMD hatches and caddis hatches. In the morning it is best to start out with a deep nymph rig with pheasant tails or harears, and when the trout start to rise you can switch emergers such as rs2’s or gregs emergers. The biggest size fly i would ever use on this section when matching a hatch is a size 16, but thats probobly even pushing it. It’s safer to stick with 18’s and smaller.

After the pmds and caddis come a trico hatch in mid july. This is a great hatch on the south platte but can be tricky because the flies are so tiny. A size 24 is about the biggest that will imitate these small may flies. In october, brown trout will begin to spawn up from elevenmile as well as kokonee salmon. This is my favorite time to come fish the dream stream becuase you can fish for the trout or the salmon. Effective patterns this time of year are wooly buggers, san juan worms, nuclear eggs and other flashy nymphs. When fishing the kokonee, earlier is better. Once they begin to turn deep red they are near the end of their life cycle.

Published in: on March 27, 2008 at 6:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Blue-Winged Olives

 

Adult Dun

Blue wing olives belong to the mayfly family “Baetidae.” Within this family there are many different species but they all generally look the same and have the same life cycle. They start hatching in the early spring, sometimes late february, and continue through october. On waters like the south platte, the spring strains of “BWO’s” are smaller than the fall hatches.

Nymph

Blue wing olive are a swimmer type mayfly, where they use their abdomen and tails to propell them through the water. They are typically found in moderate currents as well as faster runs like stoneflies. When fishing a BWO hatch it is important to try and match both color and size, but because most BWO’s are similar in color, size remains the most important factor. If you cannot visibly see adult “duns” floating on the surface, but are seeing rising fish, they are most likely taking emergers or floating nymphs that are just beneath the surface. Popular patterns for these circumstances are crippled mayflies as well as “RS2’s”. When fishing deeper, standard patterns such as pheasant tails and olive hares ears work.

When they are ready to hatch, the nymphs rise to the surface and their shucks spilts and a winged adult emerges. This is the emerger stage where the mayfly is in the process of becoming a winged adult. They will ride on the surface for a while until they are dry, and then fly off. Cooler days are often better than hot, as the flies take longer to dry and are on the surface longer. The fly will then molt and into a spinner stage where the mate. The Females will return to river to lay the eggs and then they die.

Published in: on March 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Effective Fly Patterns

Some patterns that are working right now include the rainbow warrior and flashback pheasant tail. Both are good searching patterns that will catch fish in non-hatch periods. They both have a very “buggy” look to them and are great flies to pair up with a fly that more specifically matches the hatch. Even though both rainbow warriors and flashback pt’s are general patterns; the pheasant tails are primarily used to imitate baetis whereas the rainbow warrior is a midge imitation. Here are the directions to tying both: 

Rainbow Warrior

Materials: Red 8/0 thread, curved scud hook #18-24, gold bead, cyrstal flash, pheasant tail fibers, dubbing of choice (preferrably grey or dark yellow)

Step 1:The first step is selecting a gold or copper bead to fit a size 18 or smaller curved scud hook. Start the thread near the eye of the hook and slide bead into position. Now transfer thread to behind bead and cover shank of hook. ( this way the bead stays in place).

Step 2: Tie in 3 to 5 pheasant tail fibers about the length of the body. Wrap thread covering the fibers and create a red base. Tie in one strand of crystal flash and form the body.

Step 3: Now tie in several strands of cyrstal flash to be pulled over to form the wing casing directly in front of where your body left off. Form a thorax out of the dubbing approximetely 1/3 to 1/2 the total length of the fly. Pull the cyrstal flash over the dubbing and tie off. Clip excess off and whip finish.

 

Flashback Pheasant Tail

Materials: Brown or black 8/0 thread, pheasant tail fibers, gold bead (optional), flashback, copper wire, peacock herl

Step 1: start fly out the way as the rainbow warrior if you choose to use a bead. If the fly will be unweighted, start thread out and cover the shank; return to rear of shank above hook point. Tie in several pheasant tail fibers. Do not cut excess off- tie it off pointing in the direction of the tail. Now tie in fine copper wire.

Step 2: Twist fibers together and wrap foward 2/3 of the shank. Now wrap copper wire over the pheasant tail securing it in place.

 

 

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 10:06 am  Comments (5)  

Winter is coming to an end

Fishing this winter has hads it’s ups and downs depending on the day, though there were a couple of nice 50 degree days here and there in february. We got quite a bit of snow and many of the drainages are nearing a full snowpack if not completely full. This means we should have better flows come summer and fall though spring runoff may be an issue for a longer period. The south platte has fished decently considering it’s the winter but ice has made accessiblity a problem. Warm days did increase the fishing a little bit, but usually brought some color in the water as well. The Cache la Poudre is usually considered a “no-go” this time of year as the river is usually frozen over, though further up the canyon near the hatchery there is open water. The big thompson remains fishable through out the winter and the flows have been fairly good. Pretty much the only patterns to fish have been midges and attractors when the water gets muddied up, and occasional dries on warmer days.

As we get into march the weather should warm up and there will be more productive fishing with greater amounts of food available to the fish. Blue-winged olives will pick up in later march and caddis will begin in may. I hope the flows remain good and possibly pick up a bit this spring. Some of the best fishing of the year is coming. Some effective patterns I have had success with are rainbow warriors, flashback pt’s, mecury blood midges and nuclear eggs. Starting in march, the same patterns should remain effective though will depend on individual hatches. Parachute Adams and griffithes gnats as well as other dries should work as well.

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 2:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Welcome

Welcome to hobojoe’s Fly Fishing Colorado web blog. I am a student at Colorado State University and an avid fly fisherman and fly tier. I will discuss tactics for flyfishing as well as river reports and current flows for major colorado rivers such as the S. Platte, Cache La Poudre, Colorado and Big Thompson. There will also be information on effective patterns and how to tie them. Each week I will make a post of a fishing trip or current “Hot Fly” and discuss information useful to other anglers who may be planning a similar trip. My goal is to keep fellow anglers up to date on conditions of my favorite trout streams and to provide a place where people can share their fishing tips and water eperience with others.

Published in: on February 7, 2008 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment