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Trouts Journal

Trouts Frisco Forecast | April 2021 Edition

Zeke Hersh / Apr 15, 2021

Welcome to the Trouts Frisco/Mountain Forecast!

With spring here and the busy fishing season soon approaching, we decided to change this report to a monthly forecast. So, we are going to wrap all the good stuff for the next month to come in this forecast.

The next month is a great time to get on the water. We will still have some snowstorms rolling through as we do this week, but there will be some warm-ups too. This is a time period where watching the river gauges comes into play on a daily basis. With the warming trends look for flows to rise and water clarity to turn off-color. With the cooling trends, expect the water to clear and the flows to drop. This is a common theme for the next few weeks. For the best results, watch the rise and fall of the flows and think about clearer water color on falling troughs.

A few places I think about visiting this time of year:

The Colorado below the Williams Fork:

This section is really hard to beat year-round. With the tailwater section below Willams Fork Reservoir on the Williams Fork River, you will always have some clear water to fish. If the ice hasn’t dropped on the section above the confluence, it will any day now. This opens a ton of more water and some great fishing opportunities. Look for blue-winged olive and midge hatches, rainbows on the move for their spawn, and some great outside experiences here.

The Roaring Fork:


The Roaring Fork has been fishing excellent and will fish great for the weeks to come. Look for spikes in flows from its river gauges and really keep an eye on the Crystal River gauge. If you see this one spike, chances are the Fork will be running off-color. The next few weeks will offer some solid blue-winged olive and midge hatches and as we start warming look for the first caddis and small stoneflies.

The Arkansas River from Buena Vista to Canon City:

The next month is really what the Arkansas River is known for. The lead up to the “Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch”. The fish are actively feeding and have started to spread out throughout the river. Blue-winged olives and midges dominate the dry fly activity, but you never know when you might stumble on the first caddis hatch. Spend some days on the Arkansas and I doubt you will be disappointed.

The Colorado River from Kremmling to Dotsero:


This section of the Colorado is by far my favorite place to hideout. There are so many sections to float fish, wade fish, and explore. Just the other day I was able to float one of my favorite sections and we caught plenty of fish on streamers and nymphs. But I, also saw blue-winged olives, midges, caddis, and small stones all hatching. We were fishing it on the tail end of a warming trend, so there was a little color in the water, but this can help the fishing sometimes and this was one of those times.

The Wild Card*- Antero and Spinney Mountain Reservoirs:

Keeping an eye and ear out on when these reservoirs drop their ice in the next month will be very key for some great fishing opportunities. It will take a few days for Spinney to open after the ice drops, but you can access Antero any day. If you haven’t experienced fishing a reservoir after ice off, this is a bucket list item. With the ice off of the reservoirs also look for fish moving up into the reservoirs feeding streams.

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Flies:

Swim Coach

This newer streamer from Umpqua has quickly become a favorite of mine. With its double articulation, this fly looks super good in the water, casts remarkably well for its size and just plain catches fish. I like to fish this fly in the purple and black and the brown and yellow versions.

Tungsten 20 Incher

This fly tends to live up to its name. I can’t tell you how many big fish this fly has caught me in past. This a great alternative to other stonefly patterns has a great color combination for off-color and clear alike, and add in the tungsten version and this just might start being one of your go-to stonefly searching patterns.

Hot Belly Pheasant Tail

As we are moving through spring, so are the smaller stoneflies, caddis, and mayflies on the stream bottom. This pattern can look a little like all those. Any of the colors work well, but I tend to like the green version, especially as we move towards the caddis hatches on most rivers.

Shotglass Baetis

This is a great baetis pattern with the added flash of the glass bead and then a flashback wing casing. I’ve done very well this pattern on the clearer waters of the roaring fork and it comes in some great colors.

Royal Stimulator

I am going to throw this pattern in there because I saw caddis, stoneflies, and mayflies hatching the other day. And this pattern can look a little like all of these. This is a great searching/attractor pattern and also has some good floatation and visibility. This is a great option for your point fly on a double-dry setup. And as we approach the “Mother’s Day Caddis Hatch”, the dark color body can work well during this hatch.

Flows:

The Colorado at Kremmling- 742 CFS

The Williams Fork below Williams Fork Reservoir- 162 CFS

The Roaring Fork at Glenwood Springs- 535 CFS

The Crystal River at DOW Fish Hatchery at Carbondale- 178 CFS

The Arkansas at Granite- 252 CFS

The Arkansas at Salida- 331 CFS

The Colorado at Dotsero- 1400 CFS

The South Fork of the South Platte below Antero Reservoir- 18 CFS

Weather:

As we start off this report we are seeing a good snowstorm enter Colorado and the high country. This storm will stay with us for about five days and then a slight warm-up with chances of precipitation on most days. I expect this to be the trend for the next couple of months. Warming trends for a week or so followed by a cooling trend for a week or so. As I spoke to before, try and not fish the peaks of the warming trends as this could offer some off-color water. Enjoy the next month of some of my favorite times of year in Colorado!

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