by Angler's Covey Guides
The Colorado weather in early spring can be a fickle beast. 60 degree temperatures one day can change to snow and highs of 35 degrees the next. With fish waking from their winter doldrums, though, and bugs on the move, the opportunities are there! Three of our guides offer some tips for fishing in the early spring season.
Greg Blessing keeps his eyes on the skies. “I look for pre-frontal days before storms move in. Fish are hungry from their long winter naps! This time of year seems more affected by fronts than in the summer, so watch for the weather changes and get out!” Keep an eye on the weather forecast and strike before the storm moves in.
Juan Ramirez broadens his range. “Don't think the South Platte is the only river that is fishable right now. The Arkansas River in and above Canon City is completely ice-free and the fish are looking to eat big time.” What’s in Juan’s fly box? “Stoneflies are more active right now due to the molt. It’s the first movement by bugs since last fall. Caddis and mayflies are all on the menu right now until true runoff in mid-May.”
Kenny Romero focuses on his rigs. “Don't go too light on leader and tippet when fishing for early season larger rainbows, cuttbows and cutthroats that have moved into tailwater river systems.”
Kenny reminds us that you have to let the right gear do the work it’s designed to do.
“During the early season I usually fish 4X leader and 4X tippet to my first fly. Many large fish have been lost by not having the right gear and not not letting the reel drag do its job. Give big fish what they take and take what they give you right back!”
And he echoes Juan’s comment about hungry fish coming out of their winter doldrums. “My first fly is usually an egg pattern with color variations from chartreuse to orange or a San Juan worm. Larger stone fly patterns are also effective early-season lead flies, particularly on the Arkansas and Deckers areas. I usually fish 5X to my second (or third fly) which is generally a midge pattern.”
Swing by the shop and get updates on river conditions, talk with our guides about gear, fly selections, and even the weather. But make sure you pack rain gear, a winter jacket, and sunscreen ... it is Colorado, after all.
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Early season stillwater Fundamentals-Classroom