The Colorado River at Pumphouse Recreation Area offers miles of water for the wade fisherman, as well as several boat ramps for float fishing access. The wade fisherman will find slower water with a few braided sections below the boat ramps, and faster pocket water upstream into the Gore Canyon. Camping is also available at Pumhouse Recreation Area. Our go to set up for this area is a triple nymph rig, or a hopper with a few nypmhs dropped off the back. However, the angler that keeps a close eye on the water can be presented with rising fish if the conditions are right. The Colorado is primarily a freestone river, and it hosts a large variety of aquatic insects, including several species of stonefly, Blue Wing Olive Mayflies, PMD’s, Green Drakes, Rusty Spinners, Trico’s, caddis, and many more.
Nymphs to Try: black, olive, and brown Pat’s Rubber Legs size 8 - 14, Pheasant Tails 12-18, Hare's Ear size 12-18, black Two-Bit-Hooker size 16-18, Red Copper john size 18, Tungsten Pyscho Baetis black size 20, Zebra Midge black size 18-22, The Ninja size 18-20, red or purple Ju-Ju Baetis size 18-22, Pure Midge in black or red size 18-22, Chocolate Foam Wing size 18-22
Streamers To Try: white, black, or olive Sex Dungeons, olive/white Barely Legal, tan Home Invader, Sculpzilla sunrise size 4, black or white Wooly Bugger size 4-6, olive Sparkle Minnow, Thin Mint, Baby Gonga in Rainbow or Brown Trout theme.
Dries To Try: Matthew's Spakle Dun olive size 20-22, Parachute Adams size 16-22, Extended Body Blue Wing Olive size 18-22, Brook Sprouts Midge grey size 18-22, CDC Morgan's Midge size 18-22
November has put us into full on winter conditions, we have received lots of snow and very cold temps. Commercial Shuttles for float fishing are shut down for the winter, but the “Upper C” has been floatable for the time being just be prepared to run your own shuttle. There is ice developing along the banks in the Pumphouse area, and some colder nights are producing thin sheeting and floating ice so don’t count on floatable conditions for long, things can change over night. We have been doing most of our float fishing down lower on the Colorado towards Glenwood Springs. Trout have been feeding on eggs, smaller fish and leeches, Baetis, and midges. Most days a nymph rig has been the ideal set up, but its never a bad idea to try a few streamers, or throw dries if you see fish rising!
The primary hatches on the Upper Colorado at the time being are Tricos, Blue Wing Olives, Red Quills, and Midges. Dry fly fishing has been decent on some days, but if you don’t see much of a hatch, or any rising fish, then a hopper dropper set up, or nymph rig is a better choice. Fish can be found in shallow riffles, along the banks, and in deeper seams further from the banks. Back eddies can also be a good place to find sipping trout as bugs that are trapped in the surface film tend to collect there. One other technique to consider is streamer fishing, which can be quite good on some days at this time of year.
The Colorado River is transitioning from mid summer hatches into fall hatches. This means Golden Stones, PMDs, Drakes, and Caddis are all still available, but are declining in strength of hatch. Tricos are just starting to hatch, and are an important source of food for trout in the late summer and early fall. Other active aquatic insects of note will be Red Quills, Fall Baetis, and Midges.
The fishing conditions near Pumphouse remain very similar to our 6/16 update. Large Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, Caddis, PMDs, Red Quills, and Drakes are the most prevalent bugs for the time being. One thing to consider is the low amount of precipitation/snow melt we have been seeing this year. This can produce good dry fly fishing, especially with terrestrial insects such as grass hoppers, beetles, and ants which tend to migrate toward consistent sources of water such as rivers and lakes. Lower warmer water can also accelerate the hatch “schedule” which is why we started seeing Green Drakes much earlier as usual. Also look for trout to lie in the areas of the river with the highest oxygen content (faster riffles), or in deeper colder water.
* We have been seeing water temps on the Colorado climb to 70 degrees on some days, please keep fish in the water while handling during these times or take a break from fishing altogether * Hopefully we will see a decline in water temps as the Colorado has just been increased in flow by about 200 CFS due to releases from Windy Gap Reservoir and Williamsfork Reservoir.
The Colorado River near Pumphouse Recreation Area is continuing to see heavy fishing pressure, but is also has lot of aquatic insects hatching. We are a few Baetis hatching here and there, but other bugs are starting to take precedence. Trout seem to be more interested in Caddis, PMD’s, Yellow Sallies, and Green Drakes these days. Either concentrate on fishing dries to risers along the banks and back eddies, or hit the faster riffles with a hopper dropper set up. Some trout can also be found in deeper seams several feet off the bank.
The Colorado River near Pumphouse Recreation Area has been seeing a lot of fishing pressure. However, fish are still being hooked consistently for the time being. This is due to trout capitalizing on high enough CFS to provide cover for them, combined with high numbers of active aquatic bugs to feed on. Our go to rig has been a hopper-dropper consisting of a Salmonfly, or Golden Stone dry, with Stonefly, Baetis, Yellow Sally, or Caddis droppers. We have been fishing both fast shallow water, and deeper seams further off the bank.
The Salmonfly hatch has been in full effect for the last week. We are still seeing good numbers of adult bugs on the wing, and in the bush. We have been having success fishing single, and double dry flies when lots of adult Salmonflies can be seen in the air (especially if it's a bit windy). If the dry fly action is not consistent enough for you then consider fishing 1 or 2 nymphs below your choice of bouyant Salmonfly imitation. As the Salmonfly hatch starts to wind down look for more action on Giant Golden Stonefly, Yellow Sally, Baetis, and Caddis imitations.
The Colorado River near pumphouse is near 800 CFS at the moment, down from around the 1500 CFS we where seeing last week. The rumor is that we have already seen peak run off flows on the colorado for the spring. The clarity of the water has gotten much better over the week, escpecially above Radium ( Sheephorn Creek ). Pumphouse has consistently had water clarity of at least two feet during the last few days. Baetis, Caddis, and Stoneflies have been the most productive bugs to imitate recently. Salmonfly nymphs have moved in close to the banks, and one or two adults have been spotted. Cold weather over the weekend may delay the hatch a bit, but it seems like more adults will be hatching soon as warm weather moves back in on Monday.
This past week's temperatures rose well into the sixties, and above in some areas, triggering the first heavy run off of the spring. Most of the freestone rivers in the area are becoming very off color, especially below confluences with any "feeder creeks". This is creating poor fishing conditions anywhere downstream of the Radium access for the time being. Pumphouse still has about a half foot of clarity, and is fishing decently with Baetis, caddis, stoneflies, and streamers. Be aware, Pumphouse is seeing heavier fishing traffic due to this, dont expect to have the river to yourself.
The water clarity from Pumphouse down to Radium is still around the two foot mark, however it is loosing clarity below Radium and State Bridge. This is due to Piney River, Sheephorn Creek, and Blacktail Creek delivering a couple hundred CFS of muddy run off. High fishing pressure is being seen from Pumphouse to Radium so don’t be afraid to venture a bit lower and try your luck with a touch less clarity. Try fishing streamers, eggs, worms, and attention catching nymphs in the more off color water. We have been seeing decent Blue Wing Olive hatches and are now starting to see the first caddis come out. Salmonfly nymphs are also becoming more active, as well as golden stones, and a few Skwalas hatching. Trout are transitioning into different lies at this time of year, so you may have to fish several different types of water to consistently catch fish. As water levels become higher look for more fish along banks, and feeding in large back eddies.