Every spring in Colorado, anglers go through an emotional roller coaster as we watch water levels rise and fall. Higher, faster, more turbulent water brings discoloration, pushes fish out of traditional holding areas, and makes wading more difficult. The best way to find the sweet spots during this season is to watch patterns of cold weather, particularly evening temperatures. Following a day or two when snow melt slows or stops completely, there's a brief window of time when water levels recede, clarity is restored, and fish actively feed. Of course, once we get evening temperatures in the 40's the party is over and run-off is in full bloom.
First my disclaimer: I am no meteorologist, but from my experience, between now and Mother's Day is what I consider the in-between season. In years past we would see hoards of Caddis pop on the Arkansas river, an event that is now history due to positive environmental changes. There are still amazing fishing opportunities. Browns will still rise to Caddis, but consider a BWO dropper to go with that Caddis. BWO's are now the dominant insect on the Arkansas. I say all this because it has been rare to not see run-off start shortly after Mother's Day or even before. So, get out while you can. This is a great dry fly opportunity.
When run-off does come, and it will this year for sure, everyone looks to the South Platte river for refuge. With four major reservoirs to hold back Mother Nature, water will run clear almost every day this spring. The down side is it's the only game in town, which leads to angling crowding. Not up for crowds? Then consider several stillwater options. Chironomids will be in full swing in May and come early June we will see one of our state's largest mayflys, Callibaetis, pop on most of our reservoirs.
We have some amazing fishing opportunities in Colorado. You just need to make the time and take advantage of them while you can. Get out this week!
301 Fly Tying with Greg Blessing: Colorado Guide flies, Part 1
Fy Tying with Juan Ramirez. Caddis