Harlan's Fishing Outlook for March

The best time of year is upon us! March is great month to pick and choose those warmer days to get out on the water. With the milder winter we've been having I am already seeing lots of open water on the Eagle, Arkansas and both the upper and lower Colorado. Take advantage of world class fishing with very limited crowds & pressure this spring. My most recent trip down to the lower Eagle was productive in almost every way imaginable. Happy fish were found and angling pressure was at a minimum. Fish were eating nymph rigs, streamers and even a few lonely risers were found eating midge dry flies. Instead of catching a million fish below a bobber, it can be a fun game to try to get a fish on every technique. Start out with a nymph rig to let the day warm up and put a few easy fish in the net. Then cover some water with a streamer while also looking for a dry fly eater to target. Give it a shot next time you're out on the water with your buddies! It can be very rewarding catching fish three different ways rather than sticking to the same ol' method all day. 

Snowpack has improved with a few decent storms that rolled through last week. As you can see below the Upper Colorado headwaters/Yampa jumped up 10-15% since last month. We are expecting a couple more storms this week to help things out. If you ask me we are on the right track for another productive water year in our home drainage. Even with a good snowpack, a lot depends how fast our snowpack will melt. Ideally, we're hoping for a mild start to spring/summer so that high temperatures don't diminish our snowpack too quickly. 


Where to fish this March
Besides the Eagle River, there are a lot of options for productive fishing during the month of March. Sometimes it might be a bit of a gamble when checking out certain sections of river. You may head to the Colorado and find there is slush flow, or you might get there and find the best fishing of the year. From my experience, the gamble is worth it and can payoff big-time with hungry fish and little to no crowds. On the Arkansas, you can take advantage of great fishing below Salida and possibly all the way up to Granite depending on conditions. The Blue River is always fishable in town and at the moment its fishing very well. Reports north of town have been less productive but don't discount it as it will only improve as we get closer to April and May.  

What are we using?
Like I said earlier, be ready to fish everything! Big spring midges will provide some awesome dry fly fishing and nymph fishing. Fish are going to be much more aggressive towards streamers and I've found the good ol' sparkle minnow to be one of the most productive. The most popular nymph rig at the moment has been some sort of stonefly or leech as your lead, then trailing an egg with a midge or baetis pattern as your last fly. 

Spawning Season
With spring kicking in, I am already seeing rainbows pairing up and producing eggs. With that being said, it is time to be on the lookout for redds & do your best to avoid them. This is a great time of year to target big browns with a streamer or nymph rig as they are coming out of their winter slump and are eager to pack on some calories. 

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