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Trouts Journal

Four Rivers To Fish This Fall Weekend!

Ivan Orsic / Sep 25, 2019

Don't look now, but we're starting to see some fall foliage in the high country. We're starting to need light jacket or hoody in the morning when rigging up. We're starting to need...our waders. GASP! OH NO! Is wet wading season over? Yeah, almost. But, that's not a bad thing in our eyes. Bring on fall and all the good things that come with it. Bring on the shorter days. Bring on the streamer eating brown trout. Bring on the bank-to-bank pods of fish rising to Blue-Wings. Bring it all on!

Well, we looked at the weather for this weekend and we probably won't be seeing those bank-to-bank pods of rising fish. Unless you find clouds (hint, hint...wait for the last piece of water). However, with some mild early fall weather in the forecast, hopper-dropper fishing should be super productive on the freestones. We've done a little research for you guys and here's where we'd recommend fishing this weekend.

If you've already scrolled through the rundown, you've noticed that the South Platte wasn't mentioned at all. That doesn't mean it's not fishing well, in fact it is fishing very well. We just wanted to talk about all the good fishing to be had on the freestones. Pardon us.

Eagle River
The Eagle River, especially it's lower stretches, can produce some great fish and great fishing as we transition into fall. Browns start getting revved up in preparation for their annual spawn and are raring to go and willing to eat big streamers. But, don't discount the value of subsurface nymph eaters holding in riffles and traditional runs this time of year. A big stonefly like a Pat's Rubberlegs followed by a blue-winged olive or midge can put plenty of fish in your net whether you get them under the bobber or under a big foam dry. The fall colors hit different on the Eagle...and we like it.

Middle & Upper Colorado River
The Colorado from top to bottom is a great option this weekend. With good flows and abundant bug life as well as hoppers and terrestrials available for trout to eat, our state's namesake river has been fishing extremely well as we transition into fall. With not much in the way of cloud cover forecasted and temperatures in the mid-60s to low-70s predicted for much of the Colorado, we'd recommend throwing deep hopper-dropper rigs with small stoneflies (like the wired stone), rainbow warriors, shotglass baetis, and big zebra midges. Even if it's sunny, throw streamers. Flashy, bright ones tend to work well in the sun, but, never discount the power of big black streamers. NEVER!

Williams Fork River

As the colors start to turn in the high country, it's hard to find a more picturesque place to fly fish in the fall, especially within two hours of Denver. Assuming flows stabilize over the next couple of days and stay around 150 cfs, this weekend is setting up really well for some killer hopper-dropper fishing with a chance of blue-winged olives and midges coming off when the light is little lower in the afternoon. Slicks and tailouts, especially against banks always hold subtle risers on this short tailwater when bugs are present. It's rainbow warrior season along the Colorado and it's tributaries. Make sure to keep the RWs, small blue-winged olive and midge nymphs on your hopper-dropper rigs on the Williams Fork.

Upper Arkansas River

We might be biased, but fishing in the shadow of the Collegiates is one of the most scenic places you can chase trout in Colorado. While the scenery is quite good, the forecast for Leadville reveals the very real potential for some really good dry fly fishing. With periods of clouds and sun forecasted throughout the weekend, we'd lay money that you'll find blue-winged olives hatching and those Arkansas River brown trout will be rising to them. Extended Body BWOs, Sparkle Duns, Iwan-E Duns, and the good old Parachute Adams should all put fish in the net. When they aren't rising, don't be afraid to throw a small dark streamer when it's cloudy or a Sparkle Minnow when it's sunny. The fish won't be that big, but the action can be hot and heavy. Otherwise, hopper-droppers and nymphing will always produce fish.

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