The warmer weather during the week brought a few visitors down from the ski fields for some fishing. In addition the flow in the rivers picked up a little and some color was introduced as run-off gathered dirt when the snow melted revealing the roads and streets for the first time for a while. The verges of the roads have cleared a little and it is easier to get down to the river in places where the sun shines the longest during the day.
As the days lengthen and we move towards the end of winter any further snow won’t have the same propensity to stay on the ground in the lower elevations. The colder weather today is predicted to yield tomorrow to a spate of warmer weather as the week progresses with an increasing possibility of snow later in the week.
Both the Fork and the Pan are fishing well now when the sun is out and it warms. As soon as it turns cold and the sun goes down, everything slows down so if you are in the area and the sun is out, take the opportunity to get out onto the river for a while if you have the time.
Dress in fully fledged sub-zero clothing and don’t take any chances on the cold. The day will warm quickly now, so you will be able to peel off the layers as the day progresses. But don’t be deceived. No matter how well you dress, standing for a few hours in the near freezing water, particularly in the shade will test your clothing. So take care and enjoy some excellent winter fishing.
Current Flow: below the Dam -167cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The clearer warming days are bringing a few more visitors onto the river. The fish remain in the quiet sections of the river or on the edges where the flow is slower. It will be a little while before they venture into the current to take baetis and larger bugs drifting by. It is a matter of trying to spot them lying down in the deeper sections and fishing to them unless they are up on dries.
The temperatures this week will remain in the higher 30’s and low 40’s. The warmth during the week melted a lot of the ice off the road along the Pan so where the valley is widest and the sun shines longest, it is easier to get down to the river.
As the days begin to lengthen look for the wider areas of the valley floor where the sun can reach the water. As the temperature warms extra layers of clothing are quickly stripped away. But make no mistake, it is still cold in the shade.
The fish have been taking dry and emerger midge patterns well into the afternoons up near the dam. The increased flow will begin to spread the fish out in the river and as we move closer to spring the baetis nymphs will start to move about more in the water. The increased flow will wash some of them about and the fish will start to feed on them.
Recommended Flies: The principal hatch is now midges. They will come off during the day, particularly if it is sunny. So try WD-40's #20 , red and black chironocones #20, brassie's #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22, copper johns #18 - #22, black polywings #18 - #22 and garcia's rojo midges # 18 - #22. Try the gray loopwing emergers #20 - #22, the FPA special emergers, biot emergers both with and without the trailing shuck and gray RS2's #18 - #22. Also carry dry patterns such as the z-wing real midge, suspended midge and any similar dry black and gray patterns in sizes from #20 through to #28.
The fishing was great on the Fork during the week when the sun was high and the days warmed. Mo was out on the river on Saturday afternoon and advised that as soon as the sun went behind the cloudsand a cold change arrived the fish just turned off. She said she had success on small pheasant tails, copper johns, egg patterns and princes. Other reports were similar. So the fish are most active now when the sun is out and a few midges are starting to come off.The principal hatch at the moment is midges which are coming off in the mornings as the day warms up and some sun can get onto the water. The fish will take small nymphs and midge emergers when nymphing during the day. As the days warm and lengthen, the baetis nymphs will start to move about more in the water. The flow will pick up in the river and with it a lot of nymphs and insects stirring from their winter slumbers will be washed along to the feeding fish.
Recommended Flies: Use midge emergers and tiny nymph attracters. See some of the patterns we have mentioned for the Pan. If you are nymphing deep down, use plenty of weight and pick where the fish are protected behind structure or deeper down in the slower water. Try small baetis nymph patterns such as pheasant tails #18 - #24. Also try princes, brassies, copper johns and eggs deep down. As the days lengthen try streamers for some variety.
The water in the Colorado remains generally clear at the moment. Try midges, streamers if floating or alternatively nymphs and eggs deep down. The baetis will be moving about more now, and as it a touch warmer than the Fork the bug activity will start a little earlier particularly where the sun shines.
Recommended Flies: BWO nymphs; midges emergers and dries during the hatches, eggs and princes, 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #2 - #8.