Reed's Fishing Outlook for September

September is here and we couldn't be happier! Lots of things to celebrate as of late. CPW dropped the remainder of the fishing closure on the Colorado last week as water temperatures have eased. Nightly temperatures are dipping down near freezing at 9,000 ft (I had first frost on my windshield the other morning) and we seem to be on the other side of the summer heat. 

Resident lake and low elevation river brown trout are beginning to show in tributary streams so the small water fishing has been productive for larger than average fish. Woohoo!

August was a continuation of our soggy July with near daily deluges on burn scars in the Colorado River Headwaters as well as the Eagle, Roaring Fork, and Arkansas River drainages. It certainly kept us on our toes! The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above average temperatures and below average precipitation for the month of September. What does this mean for us? To me, I'm looking forward to longer windows of clarity on the Colorado River and enjoying the Middle Colorado zone for the first time since June as it clears and comes into prime fall shape. We love the nocturnal golden stone hatch in this area. While a sparse hatch, they are a big meal for trout and you will often find the biggest fish feeding on the golden stone dries or nymphs throughout the day.  A drier September will push the hoppers that proliferated during our wet summer closer to the river and as ranchers cut their hay, they will be more available to the trout as food. 


There are 3 main ways to fish hoppers this time of year and I'll discuss my favorite techniques below.
1. Dry Dropper - I typically run a dry dropper in the morning hours when fish are a little more keyed in on the morning hatches, like red quills or tricos this time of year. I like to fish a more generic pattern like a gold chubby chernobyl that doubles as a hopper and a nocturnal golden stone. Very often the weight of the dropper will start to sink your pattern and this tends to imitate a sunken hopper a little more so than a straight foam hopper can do. It's often what entices the big boys to eat. 

Double Dry - These are great, especially if you are looking to vary your terrestrial presentation with small ant, hopper, or beetle. Running a small pattern behind a larger hopper can assist anglers with visibility. Additionally, I like to run two small or medium sized hoppers in tandem and use the terminal terrestrial as an "anchor" fly, utilizing aggressive mending to imitate a hopping grasshopper. It can be deadly, especially under cloudy skies or windy afternoon conditions.
Single Dry - For fishing to fish that are keyed on hoppers and tight to the bank, this is the best method. If you can get it closer than our client Bob Yekovich, we'd like to know, we don't know of many who can. If you are dealing with clear water and tippet-shy fish, tie a loop on the fly or check out the "plug" method outlined in this video. Single hopper fishing is also the best way to imitate a struggling hopper on the surface- a slight twitch off the bank with a subsequent settle/mend usually does the trick.
We expect the red quill and trico hatches to continue throughout the month and run right into the advent of fall baetis, which is a fun few weeks as the fish put the feed on before winter. Similarly, streamers should become more important especially in low light conditions (mornings/evenings or cloudy days). We also tend to have a false stonefly hatch this time of year as the fledgling stonefly nymphs shed their exoskeletons in order to grow larger for the season ahead. You may not see any stoneflies hatching, but notice shucks on your waders or your boat. Give a stonefly nymph a try! Medium sized brindle pickles are a favorite of mine. 

September is our favorite month for fishing. Wish it could last 8 weeks instead of 4! 

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