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Trouts Journal

Who’s Fishing This (beginning of April) Weekend!?

Ivan Orsic / Apr 1, 2016

Barring that brief midday slump in the farenheit, it looks like another GREAT weekend to be on the water is upon us!

Before we get into what I think might be some good options to consider in the days to come, keep in mind that your 2015 Colorado fishing license expired YESTERDAY. April 1st is the date that a valid 2016 fishing license will be required so make sure you're legal!

You can get your license online by clicking HERE or swing by the shop and we'll get you fixed up. (side note: keep in mind that all license transactions will be cash only unless a minimum of $10 is spent in-store at the time of purchase)

Alright then, now that the serious part is over comes the next question- where to fish this weekend?

The beauty about springtime in the Rockies is that our options continue to open up/improve by the week. If it weren't for the fact that I'm heading to Montana today to fish the Bighorn for a few days, here are the top 3 places my truck would likely be pointed.

1. South Platte- We'll start with the closest option first. I'm confident it won't be a major surprise to many of you to see me select the South Platte as a viable option for this weekend. While the S. Platte is no doubt a phenomenal year round fishery, Spring might just be my favorite time of year to fish it. We're starting to see consistent/considerable midge and blue wing activity so bringing the dry fly box along is a definite must. Other than that, you should expect to find strong nymph fishing even given the sub-100cfs flows. Add a little extra stealth to your approach, keep your boots in as shallow water as possible while fishing, and you should be in the game. For my nymph rigs I'd recommend a small egg (peach/orange/tangerine), size 10-14 worm (red/brown/wine), Pat's Rubberlegs (brown, size 8-12), leech (olive/black/purple, size 12-14), or scud/ray charles (grey, size 12-16) as my lead fly. For my trailer(s) I'd stick with the standard blue wing (jujubaetis, freestone emerger, shotglass baetis, Barr's BWO emerger- size 18-20) or midge (mercury black beauty, jujumidge, cream midges, miracle midges, red pure midges, Mayers tube midge- size 18-22). I also wouldn't hesitate to spend some time with a small size 18-20 attractor nymph such as a rainbow warrior, two-bit hooker, or copper john. Even with the low flows, I still wouldn't fish anything lighter than 5x flourocarbon. Keep your flies spaced tight, use plenty of weight, set the hook often (and downstream), and always be on the lookout for fish up shallow that you can sight fish to.

As far as sections of the Platte go, while the Dream Stream is fishing well- the crowds are definitely going to be out in full force if I had to guess. If it were me I'd be hiking into Cheesman first thing in the morning. The sun is going to be shining bright and no precip is in the forecast. Should be excellent sight fishing. The nice thing about starting the day here is that you've always got Deckers as a backup if the parking lot is a little fuller than you'd like to see. Daytime temps both Saturday and Sunday look like an easy-to-enjoy range in the 50's or low 60's.

2. Eagle- There's nothing quite like Springtime on a freestone river. The way I see it, fish living in our state's freestones have a much tougher life than their counterparts, leisurely living out their days in a climate controlled, man made tailwater. Freestone fish are tough. Winters are long and food can be scarce. That said, when Spring starts to push Winter out of the way and the water warms/days get longer, there's no place I'd rather be than on a freestone river. The Eagle is a prime example of what I'm talking about. The fish are happy and from the reports I've been getting, VERY eager to eat some fake bugs. Given the beautiful forecast (from a fisherman's perspective mind you- no precip, high's near 60) that is going to grace the Vail valley this weekend, don't expect to be alone should you venture this way. The good news however is that there is a lot of water to explore on this river. Do some driving, find a spot to call your own, and focus on the shallow/mid depth buckets/shelves/drop offs/riffles that will be congregating feeding fish. I'd stick with 4x flouro and maybe go down to 5x on the dropper if you find fishing tougher than you think it should be. If you find a little color in the water, bump it up to 3x. For flies- I'd DEFINITELY be keeping the fingers crossed for some dry fly activity. The midges/blue wings have been showing up with regularity and we had one customer in the other day saying they had a phenomal afternoon of dry-fly midge fishing last weekend. From a nymphing perspective, it shouldn't take much more than a stonefly (Pat's rubberlegs, 20 incher, stone-bomb, size 8-12), trailed by your favorite midge/blue wing numph in size 18 or 20. Cover water, make sure you're using plenty of weight/depth on your indicator, and you should be in business.

3. Arkansas- Piggy-backing off my reflection of freestone rivers in the Spring, the Arkansas river between Canon City and Salida is another phenomal place to spend a Spring day. Like the other areas mentioned above- as well as Denver- this area also received a brief mid-week slump that brought about cooler temps and a little precip. The weekend forecast is looking prime however with sunny skies, manageable winds, and highs in the upper 60's/low 70's. The thoughts on putting together a successful day on the Ark nearly mirrors my report for the Eagle. There's a ton of water between Canon and Salida and I'd expect the crowds to be the lightest of these three places mentioned. Finding some uncrowded water shouldn't be difficulat at all. Fly selection will also be very similar to the Eagle (and any freestone in the state really)- stoneflies/blue wings/midges should be all it takes. I also wouldn't hesitate to swing around a small bunny fur streamer (sculpzilla, slump buster, olive, black, natural, size 8) or leech pattern (black, black/red, olive, size 10 or 12)

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