Conditions for the week of July 22, 2014. Information is provided by CPW employees and local fishing enthusiasts. Keep in mind that fishing conditions change on a constant basis. A lot can change in a week from the time this fishing conditions report is produced. If the water you are interested in knowing more about is not listed here or if you're looking for the most current information, we encourage anglers to explore some of the numerous private websites that offer fishing condition reports.
Many other fly shops and marinas also offer fishing condition reports on their websites as well.
Conditions Report - Metro Denver AreaBarr Lake
Water temp is about 70 degrees and clarity is good (6 ft). Rainbow trout are being caught just south of the boat ramp from the shoreline and by boaters; The trout are biting on pink PowerBait, salmon eggs and spinners. Walleye are biting along the buoy line on pink and green spoons and worm harnesses. A 24" 5.4 pounder was pulled out not too long ago! A 19" walleye and a 22' wiper were just caught from shore near the boat ramp. A valid fishing license and State Park pass is required ($7 daily or $70 yearly).
Conditions Report - Northeast Colorado
Fishing conditions in the canyon are currently fair to poor. Reconstruction of the creek bed and picnic area is underway and the creek from the vehicle bridge adjacent to the picnic area to the west boundary of the park is CLOSED to fishing. Fishing is still allowed from the vehicle bridge to the East park boundary however the disturbance of the creek due to the construction has resulted in poor conditions. Repairs to the picnic area are expected to continue through the summer.
Eleven Mile State Park
Trout (Excellent): Trolling, casting, fly fishing and sitting on the shore all have seen excellent action. Rainbows, Cuttbows, and Browns ranging from 13 to 23 inches are common. The bite is spread throughout the day with afternoon seeing big fish when you least expect it. Rainbow Needlefish, Tasmanian Devils, and Power Baits are working well. KOKANEE (Slow): People are still catching a salmon here and there. Most are big ones and most are coming out of the North Shore area out from the marina. A number of things are working like a sling blade or dodger with a Dick Nite, Needlefish or Hoochie attched with about a three foot leader. Fish are running 15 to 40 feet deep. NORTHERN PIKE (Fair): Action continues to improve but you will work for those big ones. Work shallow water using large Rapala's or big spoons and big tube jigs. Mid morning from 8:30AM to 11:00AM seems to be the best. (Courtesy of 11 Mile Marina) DREAM STREAM (Fair): Red Nyphms and Cooperhead Midges have been the most successful flies on the stream this week
Horsetooth Reservoir (Larimer County)
Water temperature was 69-72 degrees, and the level has leveled out at 100% full. Walleye fair, try West shoreline, 18 feet deep, hitting grubs and tube jigs, and worm harness and shad raps in shad colors. Still best fishing evenings and early night. Bass good to excellent; mostly smaller fish up close to bank. Lots of bass found in the coves and should be close to bank under trees or between trees and bank. Very slow presentation on tubes works, as well as craw colored crank baits, and senko type worms, too! Look for males guarding fry in beds in coves where water is warming, try top water baits early morning, senkos under trees. Trout is fair; try worms under a bobber in Satanka and Inlet Bay, and also crawfish crank baits.
Lake level is full. Surface water temperature as of July 18th was at 77 degrees. Fishing has been slow to fair for species. A few trout have been taken with your typical bait and wipers using nightcrawlers.
Water levels are good and the lake is near full. The outlet is running and the lake is dropping slowly. As of July 20 the water temperature was 80 degrees. Few crappie up to 14 inches being caught along the dam and in the marina bay on jigs and minnows. Walleye and wiper are slow but starting to improve. Catfish are being caught on the flats on cut bait.
Spinney Mountain State Park
SPINNEY RESERVOIR (Fair): No significant report. DREAM STREAM: Red Nymphs and Copperhead Midges have been the most successful flies on the stream.
Conditions Report - Southeast Colorado
The river is in great shape above Stone Bridge this morning. From Big Bend downstream we have clearing conditions following a significant rain Tuesday afternoon. Flows continue to slowly decline on the middle river, now having attained the point where the float fishing in Browns Canyon really turns on. Yellow sallies, pale morning duns, caddis, hoppers...there is a lot of food on the menu and the fish are getting after it. These are the post-runoff glory days on the Arkansas. Lower Basin: An elevated flow persists in Bighorn Sheep Canyon, though it is not much above the 50 year average. Recent monsoon rains have colored up the water a bit but that is clearing out this morning in Salida. Further downstream the river will be compromised today. Current velocity is forcing brown trout into places of refuge edgewater pockets and the riverbed beneath slower lanes of current - but they are hungry, opportunistic, and feeding in a competitive environment. Big dries like stimulators, pmx patterns, and hoppers are all taking a lot of fish. Yellow sally stoneflies are active, pale morning duns are hatching, and our nocturnal 4th of July caddis hatch is getting underway. While the fishing will only get better as flows decline, it is plenty good right now. Time to get on the river.
Arkansas River (Fremont County)
Flows continue their decline to more seasonal levels, opening up more of the shoreline to fishermen and slowing the current velocity for the brown trout. As this trend continues, fish will have increasing opportunity to venture out of velocity shelters and into more of the riverbed, diluting competition while making more of the river productive for anglers. The fish are hitting hard in downtown Salida and in Browns Canyon. The water has been fairly clear mid-morning, and that's when we had the best luck fishing. The rainstorms are muddying the water in the afternoon and morning, making lure fishing difficult.As we move into later July and early August, yellow sally stoneflies and pale morning dun mayflies continue to be the most prolific hatches, though evening caddis activity is strong until dark. These aquatic insects, coupled with prolific terrestrials, are providing consistent dry fly activity on the Arkansas River from Parkdale clear up to Leadville.
Clear Creek Reservoir (Lake County)
Shore fishing throughout the reservoir has been fair. The most productive time for shore fishing has been between dawn and 9:30 a.m. Near the dam at the northern part of the reservoir, shore anglers landed trout on orange PowerBait by fishing the bottom of the lake. Since the water level went down a few feet from last week, fishing access at the boat ramp parking area has opened up more. Worms and PowerBait worked well at the boat ramp parking lot area. At the upper part of the reservoir, shore anglers caught trout on both yellow or orange PowerBait, red salmon eggs, and a bubble with a dry fly. An Adams (size 16) has been the most effective fly for fly-fisherman. Red Woolly Buggers typically works well for fly fishing too. Most of the shore anglers catches comprised of 8 to 13 inch rainbow trout and cutbows. Fishing from a boat has been fair. Trolling at the southern part of the reservoir with worms coupled with troll blades remains the most consistent method to catch trout. Kokanee salmon fishing has been the most productive at either dawn or evening. Boat anglers caught kokanee salmon on green Squids and Dodgers. A few 12 to 18 inch tiger musky were caught during the morning. The reservoir is closed to trailer and motorized watercrafts on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Boating hours are 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Midday water surface temperatures were in the mid 60's F°.
Mancos State Park
Fishing has been excellent. The lake was stocked with catchable rainbow trout on 7/11/14. Fly fishing has also been good early in the morning and in the evenings, especially along the dam.
Trinidad Lake State Park
The lake is at 496 surface acres and the water temperature is 70 degrees. Trout fishing has been spotty, but those catching trout from shore were using powerbait and some homemade dough bait. Walleye and Bass fishing seems too spotty, with most walleye and bass being caught from boats. Catfish are still biting on chicken liver and night crawlers. With the recent rain fall the west end of the reservoir is murky.
Two Buttes Reservoir
Fishing for trout in the 18-21 inch class continues to be good for anglers using flies and lures in the coves. Bead headed wooly buggers in black and purple, #10 dave's hoppers, bead head prince nymphs, and pheasant tails are the flies of choice. Spoons, Rooster tails and Panther Martins in the 1/8th ounce size are also producing. Bass, bluegill, and crappie are also biting but they are undersized as they were just stocked a few months ago. There is a lot of natural food available for the fish that are in the lake. Bait anglers are struggling to catch fish while those in the know are catching many fish each outing.
Conditions Report - Northwest Colorado
The inlet to the lake has always been good for catfishing - this past weekend a 10 lb Blue Catfish was taken from there!
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drakes 10-14, PMDs 16-18, Baetis 18-20, Caddis 16-18, Midges 20-24 OVERALL RATING: 9 out of 10. THE SHORT AND SWEET: Are you the angler that doesn't want to see anyone (or at least just a few others) all day? This is your section. Hatches get rolling down on the lower river before the upper due to warmer temperatures, and we are already seeing good numbers of caddis, PMDs and baetis. Green Drakes are starting to show up on our radar, although numbers are still on the light side. IN DEPTH REVIEW: The fish in the upper miles do trend towards being larger, but they also tend to be much, much more selective. The fish closer to town face far less angler pressure and tend to be opportunistic feeders, meaning you can get away with larger tippet and larger flies, in general. The baetis and PMD hatch has been rock-solid with increasing numbers of caddis, green drakes and stoneflies.
Lower Roaring Fork (Carbondale to Glenwood)
OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10 with evening lightning rounds easily ranking at a 9.5 out of 10! Conditions are ideal but are still amazingly improving daily as the water continues to drop and the fish become more concentrated. FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: GREEN DRAKE ALERT!!! And don't forget about the piles of caddis hatching in the evening, the PMDs hatching midday and the random lingering stoneflies. THE SHORT AND SWEET: Pack up your fishing gear and get your butt out on the river! The green drake hatch starts and moves quickly upriver, thus if you want in on the action, do so NOW! Book your favorite float or wade guide as soon as possible as we're heavily booked this late in the game. Like the other sections of water along the Roaring Fork, nymph the fast water with larger flies and the soft water with smaller flies. As the water continues to fall, look for the fish to make the transition from holding along the edges eating big flies (stoneflies, drakes etc), to holding more midriver and eating smaller flies (PMDs, caddis etc).THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: If you're tired of runoff, your agonizing wait is over. We have been floating daily with much success. The river is still moving at a bit of a fast clip, but clarity is no longer an issue these days. As mentioned above, runoff tends to leave a few booby-traps in the river in the form of strainers and wads of sticks stuffed between the rocks, so take a few extra of your favorite flies as well as tippet and leader along.
Middle River Fryingpan
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drakes 10-14, PMDs 16-18, Midges 20-24, BWOs 20-22, Caddis 14-18, Craneflies 6-8 OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10 THE SHORT AND SWEET: The middle section of the Fryingpan sees far, far less pressure than the upper miles, and this can play to your advantage. The middle river also offers plenty of places to duck out of the ever-present wind. Temperatures warm with the drop in elevation, so the lower and middle river typically see earlier and later hatches in the year as well. IN DEPTH REVIEW: Some people (ok most people) skip this section of river in their quest to go hog-hunting in the upper mile, but big fish and often better hatches are found in the middle section, too. Some of the top spots to hit are Seven Castles, Big Hat, Forest Service #1 and the ever-popular Eagle Pool. Stop by the shop with your map and we will show you all of these spots plus a few more. This section holds the infamous Seratella, a flightless tiny mayfly that has been baffling anglers here in the valley for years. These bugs, only found on the Fryingpan, are still a month away or more, but keep your eyes peeled. This week we are seeing BWOs and PMDs in decent numbers, with a few caddis, stones and even a few craneflies too. Hatches are typically similar to the upper river, meaning midges early and late with mayflies and sporadic caddis hatching mid-day. Caddis need to be fished here like everywhere else, skated, bumped, picked up and laid back down to reassure the fish and get them interested in your offering.
Middle Roaring Fork – Basalt Downstream to Carbondale
OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 in general but again, the evening "lightning-round" or "power-hour" is an easy 9 out of 10. FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drakes, Stoneflies, Caddis, Worms, PMDs. THE SHORT AND SWEET: The leading edge of the green drake hatch is Basalt! Party on! We are back in business on the Roaring Fork. The water is still high and just a tad swift, but visibility is perfect and the levels are dropping daily. All of the fish are still on the edges and side channels, and where you find one, you'll find many right now. THE IN DEPTH REVIEW: The Roaring Fork significantly widens below Basalt, making the river seem less roaring than it is upstream. Numerous side channels are concentrating the fish, as are any pieces of soft water along the edges and near seams. Go ahead, don't be scared...GO FISH! It's been that good. The Roaring Fork is in the declining stages of runoff as our guides are back in their drift boats and catching plenty of fish. The hatches have been light during the day, but the nymphing has been rock-solid. Green Drake and PMD nymphs, San Juan Worms, cranefly larvae, stoneflies and various caddis and PMD nymphs are all on the menu. With such a plethora of insects around, we generally dumb it down and fish the larger insects in the faster sections of water, and the smaller flies in the softer sections of water.
Float tube fisherman seem to be doing well. Bank fisherman have not been having much success as of late. The dam area in late evening has been better than during the day.
Fishing activity has slowed down from previous weeks. Bank fisherman have had the most success early morning or late evening. Boaters have been having success in deeper water.
THE SHORT AND SWEET: The Fryingpan River is renowned world-wide for quite a few reasons, the first that come to mind are the prolific and year-round dry fly hatches as well as fish measured in pounds instead of inches. Hatches currently on the Fryingpan consist of PMDs, BWOs, and midges in the upper reaches, and down low you can add in stoneflies and caddis too. FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, midges, mysis shrimp, along with a few caddis and PMDs. We are in that transitional zone from spring hatches to summer hatches, where the BWOs and midges will be replaced with PMDs and caddis. Drakes are hatching along the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers right now, but won't make it on the Fryingpan until the end of July through August and September. IN DEPTH REVIEW: BWOs, PMDs, mysis shrimp and midges are what's on the menu these days, with green drakes on the horizon towards the end of July. It pays to be a junior entomologist these days on the Fryingpan due to the complex hatches, but fishing the upper miles gets easier when you figure out what the heck they're eating. On the other side of the coin, we say a good drift beats the right fly nine times out of ten on the Fryingpan.
Upper Roaring Fork (Aspen downstream to Basalt)
OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10 though some local anglers would argue that it's rating at least an 8 out of 10. If you know the river well and enjoy pocket water fishing, this upper section of river is right up your alley. THE SHORT AND SWEET: Bye, bye runoff. It's summer time and the fishing and water conditions are much, much improved now. In general, look for the fish to be stacked up in the softer water eating general attractor patterns. Hatches are consisting of predominately caddis, BWOs and midges. Stoneflies, PMD and green drake nymphs are also fishing well. And of course, don't count out the San Juan Worm either. Look for the fishing to go from 0-100 in no time flat! Right now it feels like the calm before the storm, where the locals and fish-bums are taking advantage of the conditions before the crowds of summer roll in the coming weeks. Fish the softer pockets and seams and you'll get em! FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Caddis, BWOs, Midges, Stoneflies, PMD and Drake nymphs IN DEPTH REVIEW: Hatches are anywhere from sporadic to good, and vary wildly with the weather. As we often preach at this time of year, success will come to you if you fish the softer sections of water instead of standing in them. In a nutshell, it's more presentation oriented than fly oriented out there right now. As the river continues to drop and warm, hatches will become more prevalent and the fishing will only continue to improve.
Vega State Park
Fishing is very good in most areas of the lake. Lake levels are starting to recede, however all boat ramps remain open at this time. All boats are required to have an inspection prior to l aunch. Anyone failing to get an inspection will be given a citation. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and we do sell fishing licenses . We have extended hours on Friday and Saturday until 8 p.m.
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Conditions Report - Southwest Colorado
The lake has remained stable at 19 feet below full pool for two weeks now. This has improved the fishing all across the lake. Kokanee salmon fishing gets better and better as the summer goes on. Limits are being caught now in Sapinero and Cebolla basins trolling from 15-50 feet of water. Standard lure choices included orange, pink and purple in spinners and squids trolled behind dodgers in silver or matching color patterns and tipped with white corn. Trout fishing remains good all across the lake trolling salmon gear, Rapalas or fishing the bottom with worms and power bait. Perch have also starting showing up shallow in almost all of the bays and inlets around the lake. Look for weeds submerged in 5-30 feet of water and use small grubs tipped with worms.
The reservoir is at 96% capacity and stable. Shore fisherman and boaters are reporting very good fishing for stocker-sized fish (8"-14") and a few larger fish (18"-22".) The catch is mostly rainbows, with a few browns and smallmouth bass. Shore fishermen are doing well along Dallas Creek day use area and Mears Bay shorelines. Shore fisherman should try gold Kastmasters, Power Bait, Pink Garlic Marshmallow Bait, or worms off the bottom. Boat fishermen are having luck with jigs and black/silver sinking Rapalas near the dam and around the opening to Mears Bay. Fishing in the Uncompahgre River at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk is excellent. The river flows are currently up to around 480 CFS. Fly fisherman are doing well on bead-headed nymphs, wooly buggers, copper johns, pheasant tails, and small midges. Spin fisherman are doing well with gold Mepps and yellow/black Panther Martins. Uncompahgre River in Pa-Cu-Chu-Puk is restricted to flies and lures only, and all fish caught must be returned to the river immediately. The ponds at Pa-Co-Chu-Puk have a population of rainbows and some brown trout. Fishing in the ponds has been very good. There have been several larger fish (18"-20") caught. Fishermen have been doing well with worms and Marshmallow Bait on top in the mornings and evenings, and various colors of Power Bait off the bottom in the afternoon.
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