Flow: 1,110 cfs in Glenwood Springs.
Overall rating: 7 out of 10 (floating) and 8 out of 10 (wading)
The short and sweet: We love the Collie! From Glenwood Canyon all the way down to Rifle, the Colorado has been fishing well. There’s no need to get out early as the best fishing has been midday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The go-to nymph rig has consisted of eggs (peg or yarn varieties), midges and baetis. Be sure to also have some small generics, like princes, rainbow warriors and the like as well. Don’t overthink your flies too much, as it’s much more important to adjust your indicator length and split shot amount to the water type you are fishing. Look for the fish to stack into the deep and dark water early and late in the day as well as the seams adjacent to the runs midday when the bugs are hatching. These fish are hot and pissed off. Thus, tippets of 3X and 4X are suggested. A few rising fish have been seen, but I can’t say it’s been consistent enough to ditch the nymph rig. Midges are dominant early, while BWOs command the middle of the day. Because of that, black is the hot color early and late in the day for droppers while gray is the hotness during afternoons.
Nymphs: Prince 16-18, rainbow warrior 18-20, STD baetis 18-20, tungsten soft hackle (gray) 18-20, soft hackle RS2 20, sparklewing RS2 20-22, freestone emerger 20-22, polywing emerger 18-20, zebra midge 18-20, biot midge emergers 20-22, juju baetis 18-20, hot flash eggs 14-18.
Dries: Collett’s para BWO 18-22, hatching midge 20-22, Bill’s midge emergers 20-22, Morgan midge 20-22.
Streamers: Zombie apocalypse, sex dungeon, Gallop’s peanuts, Stott’s ziwi, sculpzillas, clousers.
Hints: Cover water. You’ll be hopping in and out of your car, going from spot to spot frequently if you’re wade fishing. Cover the good water, catch some fish and move on to the next area. You can’t expect to fish one or two pools all day long.
Flow: 39 cfs in Redstone
Overall rating: 4 out of 10
The short and sweet: The Crystal River is extremely low, and because it sits in a canyon, stays much colder than the surrounding rivers. If you’re in the immediate area, by all means go fish it! Check out the deep pools by the big boulders just below Redstone, as well as the Staircase and RVR in Carbondale! The Crystal is an often-overlooked stream in our backyard. If you’re looking for a little solitude and excellent numbers of small trout, swing up Highway 133 and check it out! The Crystal is one of the last true freestone rivers in the state with no dams. Look for the slower water off the banks and any of the deeper seams and pools. Small and generic beadhead nymphs as well as San Juan Worms and eggs fishing well.
Nymphs: Flashtail hot eggs 14-18, BH princes 16-18, BH PTs 18-20, STDs 18-20, copper Johns 16-20, San Juan worms 10, zebra midge 18-20, RS2s 20-22, tungsten hoover 20-22.
Dries: Fryingpan emerger 20-22, sprout baetis 20-22, para quill BWO 20-22, Bill’s midge emerger 20-22.
Hint: In general, go fish the other three rivers (Pan, Fork, Colo) for better wintertime success.
Flow: 41 cfs
Overall rating: 7 out of 10 overall, but 8 out of 10 for the BIG FISH below the dam.
The short and sweet: We are still seeing baetis hatches in the top few miles from the noon hour until 2 p.m. or so. Midges are steadily hatching, depending on clouds and warmth, until 3 or so. We have spawning beds riverwide these days, so please be careful around these vulnerable fish. There is a bit of anchor ice on the lower Pan with these winter flows, but the upper miles are running free and clear. Clarity is pretty much back to normal, especially below Mile 12. A HUGE brown was caught on the upper Pan this week, so keep your eyes peeled for the fish of a lifetime this time of year! Don’t forget the egg patterns either, folks.
Dries: Sparkledun BWO 20-22, flag dun BWO 20-22, Collett’s para BWO 20-22, Foam top RS2s 20-22, para emerger BWO 20-22, Bill’s midge emerger 20-22, hatching midge 20-22.
Nymphs: PTs 20-24, sparklewing RS2s 20-22, black RS2s 20-22, biot midge emerger 20-22, BTS baetis 20-22, pandemic BWO 20-22, Motown mysis 16-18, epoxy mysis shrimp 18-20, tung hoover beatis 20-22, bling midge 20-22, top secret midge 20-22, bead wing midge 20-22.
Streamers: Sculpzilla, buggers, stingin’ clouser, foxee clouser, stingin’ sculpin, slump busters, bellyache minnows.
Hints: Take off your gloves when handling fish this time of year. A hand towel to dry your wet, fish-slimed hands is key to keeping those digits warm.
Flow: 87 cfs in Jaffe Park (Woody Creek Canyon), 190 cfs in Basalt, 357 cfs in Glenwood
Overall rating: 8 out of 10. The fishing has been truly exceptional up here. Even the local trout bums are fired up with the great fishing taking place!
The short and sweet: Most of us are fishing the Fork on our day off lately. We suggest you stop and look before entering the water, there are spawning beds riverwide. The best fishing times will be between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Everything is now downsized flywise, as BWOs and midges are the most consistent hatches at this time of year. Nymphing will be the best way to get into numbers of fish, but sporadic rising fish will be encountered most days. Keep an eye out, especially during those cooler, overcast days for rising fish in slow water and back eddies feeding on BWOs and midges. Sight fishing is generally paramount to success and putting bigger numbers of fish in the net. Like the Fryingpan, eggs coupled with tiny BWO and midge patterns are best. Look for the deep, dark, green water to hold the majority of the trout, and don’t be surprised if you land a few 18-inch-plus slabs. Nymph with 6X, fish dries on 7X, and streamer fish with 0X.
Dries: CDC comparadun 20-22, Collett’s para BWO 18-22, flag dun 18-22, perfect baetis 20-22, no hackle BWOs 20-22. Bill’s midge emerger 20-22, Roy boy emerger 20-22.
Nymphs: Jujubeatis 18-22, PTs 18-22, ultra-bling RS-2s 20-22, RS-2 black 20-22, tung hoover beatis 18-22, prince 14-18, freestone emerger 20-22, rainbow warriors 18-20, Sands’ STD black 18-20, cat poop stones, 6-8, 20-incher 12-14, eggs 14-18.
Hint: Nymph the deep pools thoroughly before moving to the next one.
This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.
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