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Trouts Journal

Forget The Flows (and forecast)- Get Out And Fish!

Ivan Orsic / May 8, 2015

While the rain and snow melt have been making many of our local rivers look a little less "postcard-esque" the fact remains that there is still some incredible fishing to be had this weekend. Looking at the 10-day Denver forecast, it appears we are starting to see a little light at the end of this rain tunnel we've been in, however bringing along the Gore-Tex this weekend is still advisable. While there are countless other fishable options that listed below, here are my top 6 favorite fishing options for this weekend, broken down by driving distance.

Close To Home

Rocky Mountain Arsenal- no wading is allowed until Memorial Day, however the Pike should be enjoying the fact that May has arrived and will be up shallow cruising the banks. There are also some very large bass and carp inhabiting these waters. I've you've never fished the Arsenal before and are looking for a quick getaway, go check it out! You just might be surprised what you find pulling back on your fly rod.

Denver Ponds- Denver is literally covered up in ponds. Filled with everything from catfish, to bass, to carp, to panfish, a day spent pond hopping around Denver can be a great way to get your fix without traveling far from home. Most all species should be up shallow now enjoying the warmer water temps. Additionally, most every species will be in some form of their spawn and will be the most aggressive they've been all year.

1-2 Hours

Deckers- I'm sure a few of you just rolled your eyes upon seeing this, but Deckers has been fishing incredibly well right now in the high, off color water. A big San Juan worm or Rubberlegs, trailed by a baetis nymph or flashy beadhead (Rainbow Warrior, Two-Bit Hooker, Guides Choice Hare's Ear) fished near anything that will provide a break in the current should do the trick. You'll need to use quite a bit of weight most likely to ensure your flies are getting down, however once you ge that dialed in some fantastic fishing should await.

Cheesman Canyon- You're going to find cleaner, clearer water up here, however Cheesman in the 400's can be lights out. You'll still need to get a little techy with it, however the higher water will make this place much more forgiveable than when the canyon was sub 100cfs just a short while ago. Experiment with a worm/stonefly, however I'm betting a midge or baetis, tied onto something plain and dark like an rs2 or non-bead,non-flash pheasant tail will put a bend in your rod.To quote our owner the other day, "I"m chomping at the bit to get into the canyon like you can't even imagine". One of our guides took a weekday trip there earlier this week as well and the pics he brought back were impressive.Blue Below Dillon

Blue River- This should be another spot within an easy drive that produces consistently throughout the higher flows. My gauge right now is showing 417cfs here. The clarity should be good and the fish on the feed. (Remember- the more current a fish is fighting=the more calories it's burning=the more it needs to eat) Fish a shrimp or worm trailed by a midge and then hold on. The weather over in Silverthorne is looking a little soggy and highs are only in the 40's. This should help keep the crowds down at least a little as well.

2-3 Hours

Roaring Fork- The 'Fork and 'Pan are always a great place to spend a weekend. Even with the high flows on the Roaring Fork right now, our friends over at Taylor Creek Fly Shop continue to sing this rivers praises- particular in the upper stretches. From the sounds of it, the lower stretch between Basalt and Carbondale is a day-to-day type gamble depending on the rain/snowmelt. However, it only takes a few inches of visibility for the lower stretch to get hot in a hurry. Given the current rain in the forecast however, I'd focus my efforts on the upper part of this river this weekend. Stoneflies, caddis, midges, baetis and small streamers should all get the job done.

Frying Pan- Much like on the Roaring Fork, the upper portion of the 'Pan is going to provide the most consistent visibility. Shrimp are always going to be a good option up by the dam, otherwise, I'd stick to nymphing with midges and baetis to keep you reaching for your net. As is always the case on this river, keep an eye out for noses. The dry fly midge fishing will vary from day to day, however there are almost always a few fish looking up on this river. The cloudy, warm forecast should also have the baetis excited I'd imagine as well.

Yampa- The Yampa through Steamboat is high and muddy, however this can be a great river to fish during these times. This will be textbook runoff fishing- look for the soft inside bends, side channels, and boulders close to the bank to be holding fish seeking refuge from the heavy flows. A dark rubberlegs with a worm/flashy beadhead off the back would be my go to if I was headed here. The forecast for the 'Boat is looking much the same as the rest of the state. Slightly cooler with precip being the dominant theme for the weekend.

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