Fly fishing

Despite the heat wave in parts of Colorado, good local fishing conditions abound

Zone tanks approaching capacity levels

Bob volpe

Summer fishing is in full swing in the local highland region.

With drought conditions wreaking havoc on the western slope, we here on the eastern side of the mountains have been spared much of the fishing problems this region has encountered.

Last week, more than 100 miles of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers were put on alert for adverse fishing conditions. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is asking anglers to voluntarily avoid fishing on the Colorado and Gunnison rivers due to extremely low flows and warm water temperatures.

The Colorado River closure is in effect between Kremmling and Rifle, and the Gunnison River closure applies in the Tomichi Creek State Wildlife Refuge east of Gunnison.

The agency has imposed a voluntary one-day fishing closure on this section of the river effective July 7 for the Colorado River and July 8 for the Gunnison River, which will remain in effect until further notice.

Fortunately, our major fishing destinations on this side of the ditch have been blessed with frequent rainfall and filled reservoirs. According to officials from the Denver Water Board and Aurora Water, the levels of the Cheesman, Elevenmile, Antero and Spinney Mountain reservoirs are in fairly good condition. The Elevenmile Reservoir, a popular haven for local fishermen, has reached a capacity level of 103%. Cheesman, meanwhile, is at 98% capacity and Antero at 100%. The Spinney Mountain Reservoir has also reached the 100 percent level. The flows from these reservoirs feed the great South Platte River and some of the best trout fishing in the country.

The latest flow conditions have increased dramatically over the past few weeks. The biggest winners of the stream flow competition are the Elevenmile Canyon and the Dream Stream under the Spinney Mountain Reservoir. Both flow at low to high rates of 200 cfs (cubic feet per second).

Deckers and Cheesman Canyons flow in the mid-100’s. These are excellent flows for both fishing and wading safety.

As the weed beds grow higher in the water column of the reservoirs, the callibeatis life cycle flies will be your imitations. The key to hanging on to these large tank fish is finding the right depth at which to settle your flies. It’s a hit or miss game with the appropriate depth, so if you’re not getting hits, change your depth.

At this time of year, on the river, grasshoppers become an important food source for hungry trout.

Imitation hopper patterns are a favorite fly to turn into a trout on the South Platte. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a huge trout come out of the water to swallow a big hopper.

Be careful, watch out for other anglers, and most importantly, have tight lines.

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