Pump House Recreation Area offers campsites with amenities, fishing access, and boat ramps to the general public. For the wade fisherman Pumphouse holds miles of river both downstream, and upstream of the parking area. Downstream of the parking area the Colorado River winds through a large meadow, featuring braids, riffles, and undercut banks. Hiking upstream of the parking area will gradually lead the angler into the mighty Gore Canyon, which contains breathtaking spires, powerful rapids, and some first class trout fishing.
For the float fisherman Pumphouse is the first viable put in for angling on the Upper Colorado. Below Pumphouse there are miles upon miles of fishable river to be floated, and numerous boat ramps for loading and unloading.
The Colorado River in this area has very healthy and diverse aquatic insect life. Prominent hatches include Giant Golden Stoneflies, Salmonflies, Yellow Sallies, Skwala Stoneflies, PMDs, Red Quills, Baetis, Tricos, and midges. This diverse bug life provides the angler with both nymph, and dry fly fishing opportunities. Streamer fishing can also be a productive technique here, as the Colorado contains baitfish such as sculpin, whitefish, and juvenile trout.
Nymphs to Try: brown or olive Pat’s Rubber Legs size 8-12, TDJ Golden Stone size 10-16, Moorish Anato-May olive size 14-16, Tungsten Flashback Pheasant Tail size 14-16, Two-Bit Hooker 14-16 red, Bubble Back PMD 14-16, Charlie’s Chronic Caddis chartreuse size 14, Tungsten CDC Flashback Hare’s Ear size 14-18, black or grey Sparkle Wing RS2 size 18, Black zebra Midge size 18, Barr’s Drowned Trico size 18-22
Dries To Try: Chubby Chernobyl black/tan, gold, or olive size 8-12, Fuzzy Wuzzy tan size 6-12, Thorax Emerger PMD size 14-16, CDC Biot Rusty Spinner size 14-16, Missing Link Caddis size 14-16, yellow Elk Hair Caddis size 16-18, Parachute Extended Body BWO size 16-18
Streamers To Try: Galloup’s Dungeon in olive or white, Barely legal white/olive, Sparkle Minnow olive, Home Invader tan or white, white wooly buggers size 4 - 8, articulated Goldie, Slump Buster olive/black, olive, and natural size 2-6, Leaches in purple or black
The Colorado River near Pumphouse Recreation Area decreased in flow last week, down to about 800 CFS, but has increased by about 100 CFS in the last day or two. This increase in flow is mainly due to more water being released from Lake Granby and Wolford Mtn. Reservoir. Daytime water temperatures have been in the low 60’s on average, and the clarity has been over 4ft on most days. Trout are starting to feed on the usual “fall hatches” of smaller insects like Tricos, BWOs, and midges. However hatches of Red Quills, PMDs, and afternoon caddis are all still important food sources as well. The Colorado River is also seeing very good grass hopper action this year, so a hopper-dropper rig is currently a great method of presentation.
The Colorado River near Pumphouse Recreation has been on a slow declining trend in flow, and is currently sitting about 1200 CFS, down from 1500CFS. Water temps have been between 54 through 62 degrees, depending on the time of day. As water gets lower and warmer trout often move into shallower riffles which have more dissolved oxygen in them, but at this point fish are still being caught both deep and shallow. The most notable change in the Colorado recently is the start of the Trico hatch, otherwise hatches are still similar to those of last week. Imitations of Terrestrial insects, golden stoneflies, PMDs, Red Quills, Grey Drakes, and caddis are all currently producing strikes from trout.
Hopper fishing has been very good recently, however on some days trout have been moving into deeper water to take shelter from bright sun, and heavy angling pressure. Fishing 5-6 foot deep in the 2nd seam off the bank, has been one place we are targeting these deeper lying trout.
The Colorado River near Pumphouse Recreation Area has been holding in flow close to 1500 CFS. This flow allows trout to choose their lies, which could include shallow riffles, pockets, and cuttbanks, or deeper seams and holes further off the bank. Imitations of terrestrial insects, golden stoneflies, PMDs, Red Quills, and caddis are currently producing the most strikes for us. We are also expecting strong Trico hatches to start any day in this zone, as they have started hatching on other parts of the “upper C” already.
A hopper with a 2’ or 3’ dropper fished in shallow riffles, or tight to the bank has been a good technique on most days. However, on some days trout have been moving into deeper water to take shelter from bright sun, and heavy angling pressure. Fishing 5-6 foot deep in the 2nd seam off the bank, has been one place we are targeting these deeper lying trout.
The Colorado River near Pumphouse Recreation Area has declined in flow about 300-400 CFS, mainly due to a decrease in CFS released into the Lower Blue River. Hatches are still very similar to that of last week, and we are seeing Giant Golden Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, PMDs (Pale Morning Dun), Red Quills, and a few BWOs (Blue Wing Olive/Baetis). Hopper-dropper season is in full effect as more terrestrial (land dwelling) insects are ending up in the water, as well as trout holding in shallower water which suitable for this teqnique. However, some days the amount of angling pressure seems to be moving fish to deeper lies.
Starting off with a dry-dropper rig is often a good tactic to see if trout are looking up for food. Fish faster riffles and pockets tight to banks with this rig. If there is not much action in those shallower lies, then consider fishing a 4-5 foot deep nymph rig in seams (a visual distinction between faster and slower water) further from the banks.
The Colorado River near Pumphouse is currently flowing in the low 2000 CFS area, down from almost 4000 CFS of a week ago. This decrease in flow is causing more fish to hold in faster riffles, pocket water, and cut banks. However some trout are still being caught in deeper seams a few feet off the bank, or in large back eddies. In general trout have been feeding higher in the water column in the morning, while moving a bit deeper as the day heats up. Evening hours often see another increase in surface feeding activity as the suns rays become less direct.
Current hatches include Giant Golden Stoneflies, Skwala Stoneflies,Yellow Sallies, Red Quills, PMDs, caddis, and midges. Also look for fall Baetis to start hatching on cooler, cloudy days in the future. Olive colored Skwala Stonefly nymphs have been one of our most consistently producing flies on a daily basis. Imitations of the other aquatic insect species listed above have had mix results from day to day. Visual clues such as adult insects on the water, combined with trial and error are the best way to determine what trout are feeding on at that particular time.
The Colorado River Near Pumphouse is currently flowing about 3500 CFS, and has been fluctuating do to changes in CFS released from Windy Gap, Williams Fork, Wolford Mtn, and Green Mtn. Reservoirs. Water temperature has been holding between 54 and 61 degrees, which is prime for trout fishing. Water clarity has settled into typical summer zones between 2 and 4 feet, which is also right where we like to see it. Currently hatching insects include Giant Golden Stoneflies, Skwala Stoneflies (olive), Yellow Sallies, Red Quills, PMDs, and a variety of caddis.
Trout are starting to hold more consistently in their “summer time lies” which include faster riffles, pocket water, and shelves/drop offs. However quite a few fish are also being caught in deeper seams, and large back eddies, so don’t discount this type of water, especially if there has been a few anglers before you roughing up the top water. A hopper-dropper set up is a great tool for targeting the shallower summer time lies, while a nymph rig is a must for getting into deeper seams/eddies.
The Colorado River Near Pumphouse is flowing about 3300CFS, and is still dropping. The water clarity has varied between 2 - 4 feet on most days. We have been seeing significant hatches of Giant Golden Stoneflies, Caddis, Yellow Sallies, PMDs, and Red Quills.
Trout have not been holding consistently in one type of water. They have been caught in back eddies, along cut banks, and in faster riffles/pocket water. Rig your rod according to the type of water you plan to fish most, or if you have several rods rig up a few different set ups. We have been running heavy, 4 - 5 foot deep nymphs rigs in back eddies and deep seams, while shallower hopper-dropper set ups have been productive for targeting banks and pocket water. The streamer bite has been decent on some days as well, olive and white seem to be productive colors at the moment.
River flows at Pumphouse Recreation Area are about 5,000 CFS, and the water clarity has been varying from about 2’ down to 6” at certain times. At these flows the most productive wade fishing targets will be pockets tight to the banks, or bigger back eddies that are accessible by foot. Float fishing anglers should concentrate on recirculating larger back eddies, anchoring up to hit pockets after river features, and fishing deeper seams on the move.
Our most Productive patterns have been imitations of olive stoneflies (Skwala), Yellow Sallies, chartreuse caddis, medium to small mayflies, and worms. Small trout, sculpin, and leach imitations have also been effective food sources to imitate if you are inclined to strip streamers.
We have already seen the first wave of run off hit with the Salmonfly hatch, followed by a platuaue in CFS coupled with good water clarity for the past week or two. We are currently seeing the next spike in run off flows, as the last week was the hottest we have seen yet. Water clarity has been variable from 6 inches to 3 feet, with productive fishing being experienced at a about a foot of clarity or more. We have been seeing Giant Golden Stonelfies, Skwala Stoneflies, PMDs, Caddis, and Yellow Sallies hatching. The streamer bite, and worm bite has alos been strong on some days. A hopper-dropper rig fished tight to the banks, or a deeper nymph rig fished in eddies/seams are the best option at the moment.
The Salmonfly hatch has come and gone for the most part on the upper stretches of the Colorado River, although you may still see a few adults lingering near the banks. Next years hatch is always in the water waiting in nymph form, so never count out this food source, even when the hatch is done.
We are seeing river flows rise as the upper elevation run-off starts to take effect, as result water clarity has been low on some days. However the loose dirt is starting to get flushed out of the feeder drainages and water clarity is becoming more consistent. We are experiencing about 1’ - 2’ of clarity most days, which is great for fishing. Keep in mind that the lower down the river you go, the more feeder creeks there are, potentially clouding up the water. Also expect flows to keep rising for quite some time, as there is still a huge amount of high elevation snowpack to melt.
A hopper-dropper, or nymph rig is the go to set up at the moment. We have been fishing imitations of adult Salmonfies, Adult Golden Stoneflies, adolescent Salmonfly Nymphs, Giant Golden Stonefly nymphs, Yellow Sallies, Caddis, Baetis, midges, and worms.
Salmonflies have been hatching for about a week in the canyons of the Colorado River. The start of the hatch was slow due to cold weather, but the last couple warm days saw a very substantial emergence of adult Salmonflies. Fishing has been fair, but it seems that heavy fishing pressure combined with trout feasting on emerging nymphs has slowed down the angling action a bit. Keep in mind that the tail end of the hatch can fish well, and produce more dry fly eats as nymphs become less available, while the adults are still ending up on the water. Also look out for off color water as recent snowfall melts during the warm days too come. Give the shop a ring, or stop in for the most up to date conditions.
Are the Salmonflies hatching!? No not yet. Conditions where seeming to align for the hatch, but mother nature has brought us another cold front, and the water temps have dropped back down into the forties. Look for sustained water temps in the mid fifties, and we will talk about Salmonfly potential again. For now keep throwing large Salmonfly nymph imitations, golden stone nymph imitations, baetis, caddis, and midges. Streamers, eggs, and worms, are also on the menu. White, and black have been good streamer colors recently.
The plus side of this cold front is better water clarity than we experienced during the hot weather of two weeks ago. Get out and take advantage of the good vis. before this fresh snow melts!
Pumphouse has thawed out nicely, both the banks and the boatramps. However you can still find some treacherous ice if you head very far up the Gore Canyon. Stoneflies, Baetis, Midges, eggs, baitfish/leeches, and worms have all been on the menu. Trout have been holding in a combination of winter and spring lies, including anything from slow tail-outs to the head of the riffle. There is both float and wade fishing available in the area at this time.