The Ramblings of a Fly Fisherman

Gross Reservoir This Weekend

I spent some time today canoeing and fishing Gross Reservoir located just outside Boulder, Colorado. This is a great location for trout, especially right now due to the high flows that we are seeing in many of the “main stream” fly fishing destinations around Denver. Right now, the fish are biting well, and appear to be feeding primarily around the bottom on various patterns including the flash-back pheasant tail and the prince nymph. I did get a few vigorous strikes on the surface, but this was seldom and not what I would have considered to be a real producer. The inlet is fishing the best and while it will be tempting to exclusively nymph in this area, the subsurface boulders and logs will make that technique frustrating as you will spend most of your time hung up on snags. I recommend tying a dry-dropper with a larger stimulator at the surface and running your nymph about 24 inches below that. This is not my typical configuration, but between the three of us that fished today, we caught 12 in just a few hours.

Gross Reservoir Website

Williams Creek and the San Juan River

I just returned from a camping trip in Pagosa Springs, CO. Honestly, I couldn’t say enough good things about this place. Most of our local fishing was done at Williams Creek and while the browns in this area were quite challenging to fool, they were a lot of fun and willing to take larger patterns such as salmon flies and hoppers this time of year. We fished from the Williams Creek Reservoir to about 6 miles downstream noting the best success around the pastures located near where the road starts heading up into the higher hills. The water here is a little fast for a small stream and very clear so watch your approach and don’t overlook the smaller pools as I found a few nice trout in those locations. Patterns to have with you include salmon flies, ants, and a variety of stone flies.

We also headed south to the San Juan River. If you are anywhere near this area, I highly recommend taking a float trip down the San Juan south of the Navajo Dam. We met up with Scott from High Country Charters and booked a full day trip down this section of river. The trout here are big, strong and plentiful. Scott and Steve were able to show us a few good nymphing techniques and get us on top of some impressive fish. Weekends can be crowded so be sure to arrive there on a week day to avoid the crowds and maximize the fun.

Fishing Williams Creek

Alyssa's Monster Brown on the San Juan River

My Big Rainbow on the San Juan River

Flooding and Fishing

Due to the flooding that I am sure we have all been hearing about, fishing in many of our favorite streams around middle Colorado has been very limited or even nonexistent. Some have retreated to stillwater fishing, including myself, but my luck has been a bit limited. In light of the situation, it appears that opportunities do exist further south. I will be fishing the San Juan in a few days and according to my contacts near Pagosa Springs, I should be looking at good conditions on the San Juan and Williams Creek. For those that are not taking a vacation, there are still areas that should yield good fishing provided you do the research and are open to checking out a few areas that you may not have considered in the past.

Division of Wildlife Fishing Conditions

High Water Everywhere!

I am sure that a lot of us are patiently waiting for the runoff conditions to subside so that the rivers will clear and the water levels will return to their normal conditions. I feel your pain. We have a lot of runoff currently due to the fact that many snow areas have receded a little faster than originally predicted. I visited the Blue around Silverthorn last weekend thinking that I was going to be challenged by a few nice browns in that water. Unfortunately, I was surprised by how fast the water was moving. In fact, it was moving so quickly, that rafting companies were actually launching guided trips right near the outlets in the middle of town… I had not seen them that far up before. Due to some of the seasonal limitations, I cannot stress to you enough about the importance of checking the flow reports. If I had done that, I would have saved myself a trip and fished the Thompson instead as its flow was pretty fish-worthy.

I will be in Ft. Collins this weekend possibly fishing the Cache La Poudre. Flow reports indicate that waters are a little high in areas, but this river has a few nice streams that should be very fishable. I’ll keep you posted.

USGS Flow Reports for Colorado

Knot of the Month – The Perfection Loop

This is a great knot for creating loop-to-loop connections. Most fly fisherman use this to connect leaders to fly line along with the ever so popular nail knot. I like this connection because it allows you to change leaders with ease and without the need to tie additional knots while on the river. After all, the river is for fishing, not for arts and crafts!  Link to Video

Here is a guide showing how to make the loop-to-loop connection.