December 15th - Upper River: The upper river is in excellent shape, and is very easy to wade. Though fish will still come up and eat smaller flies on the surface (particularly caddis, mayflies, and midges), nymphing the deeper runs and pools is consistently the best option up here. No need to get started early in the morning here; nighttime temp's in Leadville make for cold water in the mornings, so let the day warm a bit before heading to the stream. Best hours are 11am-3pm with sun on the water.
December 15th - Middle River: Flows dropped considerably earlier this month due to the decreased release from Twin Lakes, leaving fantastic wade fishing conditions in the middle basin. We're looking at a good forecast the remainder of the week with highs in the mid to high 50s. This should be an excellent week for anyone looking to fish the river, as strong midge activity gets fish moving in the morning, and late season blue winged olives continue to hatch sporadically in the afternoons. Flows are slightly higher than we usually see this time of year, which makes for great late season float fishing conditions near Salida.
Fish are definitely holding consistently near deeper water as temperatures cool down, but will not hold in the heavier, faster current at these flows. In fact, fish can still be found in shallow water when food is available as the sun warms the streambed. Midges are becoming more and more important, particularly subsurface in the mornings. At these flows, don't be afraid of tying on smaller patterns. Midges as droppers in the morning behind a stonefly nymph have been productive, and mayfly nymphs sizes #16-18 work well through the afternoons. The key is finding the right water. Spend more time picking apart likely lies out just inside the main current and adjusting dropper depth til you find the sweet spot.
December 15th - Below Salida: Current flows make for ideal wade fishing conditions near Salida, while still providing ample water for anglers bringing a raft to the valley! We're looking at highs in the 50's the rest of the week, which is excellent for the end of November. Conditions on the river should remain consistent without any precipitation in the forecast.
Strong midge activity gets fish moving in the morning, and late season blue winged olives continue to hatch in the afternoons. Flows are higher than we usually see this time of year, which makes for great late season float fishing conditions, also moving fish out of the heavier water and more toward the shoreline. We do not recommend trying to wade across the river at these flows. The volume of subsurface food has made for better nymphing lately, though the odd fish will still attack an attractor dry fly. Streamers have also proven very effective, especially on cloudier days. Midges are very active in the morning, and mayfly nymphs sizes #16-18 work well through the afternoons. The key is finding the right water. With flows near 500cfs, fish won't likely hold in the heaviest central current, but are more likely to be along the edge dropoffs and pockets. Spend more time picking apart likely lies just inside the main current and adjusting dropper depth til you find the sweet spot. Deeper water fished with a tandem fly rig should be your best bet in the morning, but don't ignore shallower runs and riffles in the afternoons. Best hours of the day are 10am - 3pm where sun is on the water.