Reed's Mid-July Fishing Outlook
Summer is in full force and things have been getting hot. The Colorado River has continued to suffer from dewatering secondary to Front Range water users, and as such water temperatures have climbed to dangerous levels on parts of the Colorado River. Fishing has still been good in the mornings on the Colorado when temps are at its lowest and our guide trips heading for the Upper Colorado have been leaving much earlier in the mornings to accommodate the shift. Voluntary fishing closures after 12pm are in place on the Upper Colorado from Granby to State Bridge and the river is closed to fishing at this time from State Bridge to Glenwood Canyon. Inside sources indicate a heftier release out of Green Mountain Reservoir is imminent, which should help ease the low water woes. PMDs, sallies, caddis, and red quills are on the daily hatch menu as well as the sparse but very important nocturnal goldens.
The middle and lower Arkansas River continues to provide a stable midsummer float product with daily PMD and yellow sally hatches as well as a sparse nocturnal golden emergence. The Chubby Chernobyl and all of its variants and sizes really shine here on a dropper rig especially when fishing the fast pocket water that the Ark is known for. Under high sun, fish have been a little more drift and tippet-sensitive. Brush up on your technical tactics using a reach cast, “chop” cast (my clients know this one), or a straight upstream presentation to feed the trout. I have found that sizing down on the PMD hatch has made a difference in the fish size.
Drakes on the Upper Ark are sparse, but when present, the fish are stupid. For god’s sakes don’t dead drift the drakes. Pop them, swing them, over mend them; the trout will respond. I like running a double-dry rig with a parachute (Adams, purple/olive haze) as the lead fly and a cripple or emerger pattern like the Film Critic. When the flies are cross current from you, over mend the leader so that the lead fly in the tandem rig changes order to be upstream of the Green drakes very often have a lot of grey on their bodies so be prepared to utilize flies like the BDE extended body drake that incorporate both green and grey colors.
The Eagle River finished up its float season with bang up yellow sally and pmd hatches. Don’t fret, some of the best wade fishing is yet to come! If you are heading to the Gypsum Ponds zone be aware of the voluntary fishing closure below Eagle. Dropper fishing and nymphing are definitely the mainstay of most angling pursuits, but be ready for fish to look up in the shallow riffles, especially during the height of the hatch. Prospecting in pocket water has also been quite effective.
Action on the Roaring Fork has cooled down a little with drakes moving up above Carbondale for the most part, but the PMDs and sallies have kept fish active, especially in the mornings.
Local creeks and alpine lakes are at their best right now with great clarity and volume. It’s the time of year where all you need on a creek is a PMX and a beadhead pheasant tail and some aquel. Get out there and enjoy!