Kenny Romero, Angler's Covey Guide, and Stillwater Specialist reports ...
The early season ice-off action for hungry rainbows from the shore at Spinney Mountain Reservoir was good, but nothing compared to the action now! As the water temperature has risen and bug activity has increased, the stillwater fishing success at Spinney has really taken off. High flows due to run-off? Stillwater fly fishing gives anglers a great opportunity to hook into some great fish!
Big spawning rainbows that were crushing rocky shoreline areas during April and May are moving into other areas of the lake searching for comfort and food. Spinney is at 95% capacity and flows into it are currently at 366 cfs! Two years ago at this time, Spinney was only 47% full! In fact stream flows across the major river drainages are high due to our recent and prolonged rainfall. Couple this with the draining of Antero reservoir (dam repairs) and runoff, we can expect flows into Spinney to remain high for the nest couple of months. With these sustained flows, it seems more fish are taking up residency in the river.
Antero will close to all public use June 1. Dam repairs will begin and refilling operations will begin in the spring of 2016 with normal public use expected to return by late 2018. Fish salvaged from Antero will be relocated to other Park County waters. Not sure if Spinney will be receiving any of their South Park brethren. But believe me, there are great numbers of large 18" to 22" (with the occasional 24-26") trout in Spinney. As the water level has increased, new fingers to existing bays and coves have formed and fish have moved into these new areas. With the right water temperatures, structure and food sources, these fish are quickly adapting to these new areas of the reservoir.
Although relatively good action can happen from the shore, your best option to hook up with large numbers of big fish is from a float tube or pontoon boat. Float tubes provide much greater access to the entire reservoir and you can cover much more water in a shorter period of time.
My best success recently has been in 4 to 9 feet of water in North, South, Buffalo Bays and off of the islands. Slowly stripping #14 Stillwater Nymphs and brown, black or olive # 6 non-bead head wooly buggers with intermediate sinking line have been the most productive tools in my "tool box." Static rigs with various size and color chironomids and even very small (#20 zebra midges) have also been effective.
All of this will change as the big chironomid hatches get into full swing followed by the callebaetis may fly, caddis and damsel fly hatches. I predict that because of the significant water in the shallower bay areas, the callibaetis and caddis hatches will be extra strong this summer and, in turn, the dry fly action should be excellent!
So don't wait any longer, get out on the water and wrangle out some of those world famous Spinney slabs! Angler’s Covey offers guided float tube fly fishing trips so we can hook you up with everything you will need for a great day on the water from float tubes and flippers to sinking line and flies!
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Early season stillwater Fundamentals-Classroom