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 dropper set up. 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.
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.
Nymphs to Try: black, olive, and brown Pat’s Rubber Legs size 8 - 14, Bitch Creek size 6-10, Wired Stonefly Nymph size 10-16, TDJ Golden Stone size 12-16, The 20 Incher size 10-16, Pheasant Tails 14-16, olive Gold Bead Caddis Pupa size 14-16, Tungsten Bead CDC Hare's Ear size 14-18, olive and black Psycho Baetis size 18-20, The Ninja size 18-20, Black BLM size 18-20, eggs, and worms too.
Streamers To Try: white or black Sex Dungeons, olive/white Barely Legal, Sculpzilla sunrise size 4, black Wooly Bugger size 4-6
Dries to try: Chubby Norman size 6-8, Morning Wood Special size 6, Trina's Dog Puke 6-8, Flutter Bug Paulson size 6-8