Fishing in March is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. One day you could be fishing in a T-shirt and the next you could be picking ice off of your rod tip every few drifts. Projections of warm weather may lead to our local freestones opening up & becoming a more viable option. We are already seeing vast amounts of open water on the Eagle, Arkansas and both the upper and lower Colorado. This is an awesome time of year to take advantage of world class fishing with very limited crowds & pressure. This is also a great time to explore & learn about your local streams due to low water making that so obtainable.
Where to Fish:
As our watersheds begin to warm up, your options of where you can fish will expand. With warming temps, you can expect your local freestones to become a more viable option. Watersheds such as the Arkansas, Eagle and Colorado will have increasingly good opportunities. Although, in the mornings especially, ice shelves, slush and ice flows may inhibit fishing at times. On the Arkansas, you can take advantage of great fishing below Salida and possibly all the way up to Granite depending on conditions. If twin lakes continue releasing water at around 140cfs, we should see a lot of open water there and down (If the atmospheric temperatures cooperate). In past years, the Eagle and Colorado rivers have been great options for us through the month of March. We are already seeing significant open water on the Eagle starting around Gypsum. Although the Eagle near Gypsum has been seeing ice in the morning, the afternoons have produced good fishing with 1-2 ft of clarity. The tough thing about this time of year is the variance in conditions. One day can feel like a beautiful day right from the center of mud season and the next can feel like the dead of January. These drastic changes can do both good and bad. Warm temperatures can melt ice and lead to great fishing, however, too much can lead to the water turning into that notorious Colorado chocolate milk. Keeping an eye on flow charts can help mitigate the risk of trekking all the way out to something that is not worth it. A link to Colorado USGS flow charts can be found at the following: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/co/nwis/current/?type=flow.
How to fish:
Deep and heavy nymph rigs are going to be my bread and butter throughout March. Triple or tandem rigs deep under an indicator are what you will find on my rods more than not. Don't discard your winter fishing strategies just yet. Targeting deeper slower water is going to be the ticket to success. With fish being more congested near one another, if you find fish, odds are, you found many. However, as snow melts and the water begins to warm, the fish will move out of their winter holds and spread out. 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 rainbows while they bulk up for the spawn.
Hot Flies for March:
As we move into March, be on the lookout for increased bug activity. Most of my rigs will have some sort of blue wing olive, stonefly and midge this time of year. Here are some of my favorites: