Fishing Report for Lower Colorado- week of April 1, 2020
Some of the finest reports come over the phone, squeezed in between spots of cell coverage or while backing the trailer into the garage for the night. Guides often don’t have the time to pour over online fishing reports, but rather spend their screen time looking at river flows, forecast models, and weather observations that produce the conditions they are after on that particular day.
A detailed fishing report from another guide goes a long way and, for us, its just another piece to our daily puzzle of providing memorable experience for every guest we take fishing. Here’s a transcript of a recent phone report between former Cutthroat Angler’s Head Guide Mitch Melichar and current Head Guide Reed Ryan. Note the targeted questions that Mitch asks. These should be as important to you as the answers given by Reed.


Q:  How was it?

A:  Awesome. We had a great time. Caught a few nice ones including a 5lb rainbow. All in all, I’d give the fishing a B-. There were moments of greatness, but not terribly consistent.


Q:  Where’d you go?

A:  Lower Colorado.


Q:  Do you think the inconsistency was hatch based or water based?

A:  It was certainly water based. Some banks were definitely “on” and other standbys didn’t produce. The baetis were hatching from 11:30 onward so bugs were definitely there, but fish didn’t seem to be feeding everywhere.


Q:  When was your best fishing?

A:  Oh, it started getting good around 11, but the best fishing was between 1 and 3.


Q:  How did you do in the faster water? Are fish moving in there to feed yet?

A:  Ok. We fished that a little harder in the morning and there were a few occasional risers in the pockets, but the nymphing was good. Not a ton of fish feeding in the fast water, but the ones we did catch were nice and well fed.


Q:  Were you fishing tight on the seam or off- seam?

A:  Off-seam unless it was a well defined pocket in fast water.


Q:  Flies?

A:  A few on the olive pickle 8 and sparkle RS2 18, but the best fly for me was the TDJ Oprah 12. The water was that silty spring green color so I sized up a little. Also, there were a few caddis about.


Q:  Did you run any weight?

A:  Nah, just enough tungsten to get down.


Q:  And caddis? Seems early. Could be done soon down there.

A:  Agreed, but its been warm, so makes sense.


Q:  And how’d the flat-water fish during the hatch?

A:  Again, it was ok. Not every setup had fish feeding, but found a few that produced for us.


Q:  Why’d you think that was? Was it cloud cover?

A:  Cloud cover had the greatest influence I think. The morning was super nice and bluebird so the water warmed up quick. The afternoon was 60% cloudy, which held the hatch for the most part. Anytime we got 30 minutes of uninterrupted clouds it seemed like we got great dry action. The sun definitely put them down. We were watching this one nice rainbow feed rather consistently on the surface and as soon as we were ready to throw to her, the sun peaked out and she went down, never to be seen again…


Q:  Were they “podded” up?

A:  No not really, not like the other day. The hatch was a little sparser today so it seemed like there were a few less fish out feeding. Plus yesterday was cloudy all day so I would imagine they fed a little harder yesterday. But I kinda like the sparse hatches more. The fish that are feeding are looking for flies and it’s easier to get them to see your fly.


Q:  Yeah, greater chance of hooking up. Anyone taking emergers?

A:  Yes, at times. We ran a short dry dropper with a greased RS@ for a bit, with some success, but it was so sporadic we found it easier and more fun to find a fish that was rhythmically rising and feeding hard. In almost every case, a well presented dry got eaten.


Q:  What dries were best?

A:  I threw size 16 Purple Adams and Matthews Sparkle Dun 18. Both got eaten, but the Purple Haze was best. Purple seems to be the best color right now, even though the baetis are pretty olive. After a while we just went single dry since it was getting a better drift.


Q:  Were they feeding in the slow water then? Or did it need to have some pace?

A:  A few in the slow foamy eddies, but they were intermittent, didn’t seem to be feeding hard and it was hard to get the fly in front of them. We did spend some time trying for a big rainbow that was eating emergers and left empty handed. The best water was the steady, medium-paced water broken by a few rocks. At least that’s where I found them, in ~2 feet of water.

And then the wind came up when the front passed over us and shut everything down. We threw the streamer for a bit and got 1 or 2 fish on the baby Rainbow Gonga, but we were pretty much done by then.

1.     Weather and cloud cover are the dominant driver of the BWO hatch right now.
2.     The fish aren’t spread out. Move around until you find the fish if there are bugs hatching.
3.     Pay attention to water composition. If you find fish feeding in specific water, continue seek out similar water to maximize time in “fishy” water. Tailor your rig to the type of water you are fishing and how you are observing fish feeding (flashes underwater=deeper nymphs, dorsal fins=emergers, mouths=dries or spinners)
4.     Time of day is important. This is often driven by the weather both day-of and prior to when you are fishing.
Ask the right questions and find someone willing to share.

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