This time of year, our mind wanders to Colorado stillwaters that have been locked up for the past 6 months and the anticipation of something large being brought to the net. Most of our reservoirs and lakes have thawed enough to be fishable, but some of the higher elevation stillwaters (above 10,000ft) are lagging due to the colder temperatures. In the spring, the warmest water is found in the shallows and with that brings an increase in bug life and an abundance of minnows feeding on that bug life. Large predator fish will follow these shorelines to gorge on those minnows and bugs. Sight fishing the drop offs and flats can make for some exciting sight fishing opportunities. Although, with Colorado's infamous winds, you'll find yourself blind casting throughout most of the day. Don't be surpised if you find yourself casting a million times. If you put in the work on stillwaters, the rewards will follow. What time should you start fishing? We've found the most productive time of day for larger stillwaters will be dawn and dusk.
Productive stillwater flies:
- Balanced Leeches (Black, Olive, Brown)
- Jumbo Juju Chironomid Red or Zebra #12-16
- Chiron Bomber Black/Silver #12-14
- Tim’s Chromie Red #14-16
- Picky Fish Damsel Olive #12
- Streamers: Yellow/Rust Gonga, Home Invader, Sex Dungeon, Crystal Bugger
Rivers and Creek Update:
As our lakes and reservoirs thaw, creeks are following the same trend. Additional water from pre-runoff opened many of our local creeks and has made for some productive early season small water. Ten Mile Creek, Gore Creek, and much of the South Platte headwaters are all worthy options for this time of year. Fishing small nymph or hopper-dropper rigs will be the most productive method for catching. Keep it simple and fish small nymphs and streamers in the deeper pools and buckets. Water temperatures are still low, so it will be uncommon to see fish in the shallow riffles until things begin to warm up.
As for our larger freestone rivers, we are beginning to see signs of runoff. Overnight temperatures are remaining relatively low causing a slow start. Although lower sections of the Eagle, Colorado, and Arkansas are seeing off color water and bumps in flows on warmer days. Don’t be caught without your dry fly box as hatches of Blue Winged Olives have been prevalent on overcast days (especially on the Eagle). Stoneflies, caddis larva/pupa, midges and baetis will be the go-to bugs for May.
Productive creek and river flies: