Spring Fly Fishing in Colorado’s Ski Country
As we head from winter into our favorite time of year that 2 1/2-month window before the runoff when the Fly-fishing around here really heats up. Even with the amazing amount of snow we have gotten this winter there has been a lack of cold temperatures. We are heading into a great spring from a great winter this year. Conditions are already very good instead of just starting to improve. We have done more float trips this winter then I can remember for January & February. What makes this time of year so wonderful around here is the longer and warmer days that translates to warming river temperatures. So far, this winter with the warmer temperatures the mid-day temperatures on local rivers have been on average 3 degrees warmer than in past years. That may not seem like much to you and me, but to the Trout that’s the difference between acting lethargic and an all-out feeding frenzy. Many seasoned anglers look at spring as that time of the year to hunt big fish. Water temperature has a direct impact on how a trout feeds. As the water temperatures rise from the 30’s of February to the 40’s of March, the Trout’s metabolism begins to go into overdrive. The improving water temps. are also the key factor in the insect activity. The Midges of winter now give way to the Blue Winged Olive(BWO) and Stone flies of spring. The great thing about spring too is that the bugs/flies are getting bigger and drier. A soon as I see the first Blue Wing hatch, it’s dry fly season. Trout become very active surface feeders when the BWO’s hatch. I start fishing a lot of dry/dropper rigs with a mid-flex 3 or 4 wt. rod. If that’s not good enough, there’s the Grannom Caddis hatch that starts in April on most of our rivers in the heart of Ski country. The Arkansas river from Leadville down to Royal gorge canyon is famous for its Mother day caddis hatch. The eagle roaring fork and Colorado river also have very strong hatches of Spring Caddis. My rule of thumb has always been if there’s Blue Wings, the Trout should chase Streamers too! Spring Streamer fishing is fantastic here all spring and well into the runoff.