Published by Reed Ryan
September has arrived and as if on cue, fall has followed suit. Mornings greet our clients with a hint of frostnip and fall colors are showing up everywhere--the mountain tundra, the aspens, the willows, and most importantly, the brown trout! Cutthroat Anglers guide, Charlie Schmidt and I were discussing the correlation of when we start seeing a greater prevalence of large brown trout with the first change in color on the riverbanks. He surmises that the fish see those colors (in addition to lower peak water temperatures and the arrival of the fall bugs) and that ignites their instinct to put on the feed bag and get into "fall mode". We're interested to hear your thoughts. Shoot us a message, tell us what you think.
September is definitely the sweet spot in the angling world where both upper and lower elevation rivers fish at their best before winter really starts to overtake our upper elevation creeks and streams.
The Colorado River is in prime shape with augmented flows out of all the tributary tailwaters and all of the angling restrictions have been lifted.Hatches have returned to a reasonable timeframe and afternoons have brought some great hopper fishing as of late. Hatches have been varied so be prepared with patterns to match red quill, trico, baetis, small caddis and pale-evening dun emergences. As tends to happen in the fall, bigger fish are feeding more regularly. Look for baetis to become more prevalent in the weeks to come and the hopper fishing to peak as the fish look to pack on the protein while it is still available. That being said, it is time to break out the meat again--the browns are ready to chase!
Eagle and Roaring Fork river restrictions have also been lifted. Tricos are the mainstay, but we are looking forward to the baetis moving into prime time the next few weeks.
Alpine fishing is at its peak right now and you likely only have a week or two before the first snow and extended cold snap, so get out now before its too late! Since we have been having freezes at upper elevations, the alpine terrestrial season is winding down.
While we are lamenting the draw-down of the Arkansas and the end of the float season there, it is prime time to wade-fish all of your favorite holes that were too high to get into. Browns Canyon is a lovely place to find solitude in the fall, especially with the bulk of the rafting season behind us.