Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fall Fishing on Colorado Rivers..Looking For Big Trout & Top Flies

Fly Fishing In The Fall

Fall and winter are great times to practice your fly fishing skills here in Colorado. As the weather cools, so do the crowds! The weather and scenery during the late season provide for some of the most pleasant and aesthetic days on the water and the fishing can be a little more challenging; the water is generally low and a little colder than normal. However, you have a few things going in your favor. The brown trout are spawning, adding a lot of food into the river in the form of protein rich eggs. Also, you have fewer insects to decipher, in the fall you can generally expect to catch most of your fish on small mayflies such as blue winged olives, midges, eggs, and forage items such as minnows and leeches.

The key to successful fall and winter fly fishing on our Colorado waters, lies in your ability to read the water. The beginning of fall, September and October, finds fish holding in their usual summer spots. As the water begins to cool, look for brown trout holding in shallow riffles, staging, getting ready to lay their eggs. Be sure and watch out for redds, or spawning beds. These areas can be easily identified by shallow depressions in the riffle that are light in color. Avoid fishing to fish on their spawning beds, as doing so can be very harmful for future populations of trout.

During the fall I would start out fishing a nymph rig. The lower and clearer water generally means longer casts, longer leaders, smaller more realistic flies, and finer tippets. Together these principles will help you approach trout and present flies in a more natural and effective manner. Stealth is going to be your overall key to success, use the clear water to sight fish. Once you have located a fish, approach him with care from behind. Take your time and make sure you do not line the fish with brightly colored fly line, instead make sure only the leader and indicator go over the fish’s feeding lane.Colorado fall fly fishing caught rainbow trout

A favorite fall nymph rig of mine that can be effective on most Colorado waters is the egg/pheasant tail combo. The egg makes a great point fly and overall attractor, then trail a realistic mayfly pattern behind it like a pheasant tail, pandemic mayfly, or Barr’s Emerger. Also midges will start to become more and more active so be sure and pack some midges in small sizes (20-22) and various colors, black, grey, olive, and blue. The midge will work well behind the egg, but my favorite set up is a three fly nymph rig consisting of the egg, mayfly, and midge. As always with nymph rigs, find the bottom and fish up. Your flies are always drifting shallower than you think, so when in doubt add more weight. As annoying as it is, if you are not occasionally snagging bottom with your nymphs, your flies are not getting deep enough.

Blue Winged Olive mayflies are the most prolific hatch on most Colorado trout streams during the fall months. These bugs are generally smaller, ranging from size 16 all the way to 24, but most of the time a fly tied on a size 18-20 hook will fool its fair share of fish. For the best dry fly fishing wait until you see fish actively rising, then tie on a good dry such as a Parachute Adams and get ready! For more hook ups suspend a dropper, like a Barr’s Emerger (size 18) off the bend of your hook. Let your flies swing at the end of your drift, the act of swinging will force your dropper to the surface, imitating emerging insects and producing more strikes!

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