Harlan's Fishing Outlook for November

November has arrived and the buffer zone between fall and winter is shrinking as quick as it always does in the Rockies. But that's OK! November is a great time of year with typically less crowds and happy fish.

The NOAA forecasters are predicting a dry and slightly warmer November but as of now things seem to be cooling off rather quickly. If true, I'm looking forward to longer windows of fishing ice free rivers like the Middle Colorado River and the Lower Eagle River. This week I've focused most of my fishing efforts on the Upper Colorado and it's tributary tailwaters like the Blue and Williams Fork. There are only three words you need to know for the month of November: Blue. Winged. Olives. These fall/winter hatches can be some of the most productive of the year as fish like to pack on pounds before old man winter slows everything down. Don't be like me and forget your dry fly box when you hike into the river. The hatches were and should continue to be very productive. Luckily I had a single Parachute Adams stuck to my fly patch that did the trick. If only I had the correct flies I could have been 10x more productive. 


Where To Go?

Blue River in Silverthorne - The Blue in town is fishing very well right now and even better on stormy/overcast days. We've been productive with BWO dry flies and nymphs. Covering water with a small flashy streamer has been putting some fish in the net as well.

PS: There was a fresh stocking of rainbows a couple weeks ago.

Upper Colorado River - The Upper Colorado river has been clearer than the last month, unless we get more snowmelt after this next storm. We've transitioned to using more bobber rigs in the deep runs and small dry fly rigs when we spot a pod of risers. 

Lower Arkansas River - The upper stretches on the Ark are slowing down as the river begins to freeze.  Look further downstream near Salida for better fishing conditions. Winter fishing can be productive near Salida due to the warmer than average temperatures they receive. 

Williams Fork Tailwater - The Williams Fork tailwater has been fluctuating in terms of flow but there are a ton of fish stacked in its many pools and riffles. We've experienced some great dry fly and streamer days here this time of year. If you see spawning brown trout, please don't touch! 


How To Fish It

Focus your energy on the deeper pools and runs as fish move out of the fast water and into the slow to help conserve energy through the winter months. Don't completely overlook deeper riffle water as you may find fish feeding on emergers and dries. This time of year it's important to remember to size down on tippet and fly size. With low/clear flows on many of our rivers, any additional stealth will improve your catch rate. We have been seeing spawning fish on most rivers. Mind the redd and avoid fishing to these spawners. They are creating future generations of fish for us to catch. 


Fly Selection


Dries - Extended Body BWO 18-22 / CDC Baetis Dun / Brooks Sprout Baetis / Film Critic BWO #20 / Parachute Adams #16-20 

Nymphs - Foldover Baetis #18-20 / Tung. Sunkist #18 / Darth Baetis #18-22 / Tung. Psycho May #20


Dries - Morgan's Midge / Brook's Sprout Midge / Snowshoe Midge Cluster

Nymph - JUJUBEE Midge / Bling Midge / Pure Midge / Brassie 


Egg Patterns (Yellow, Orange, Chartreuse) / Pat's Rubber Legs (Black, Brown, Olive) / Hare's Ears / Pheasant Tails / Two Bit Hooker (Black, Red, Olive) / TDJ Golden Stone 


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