It’s high water season, but we’re not staying home. In fact this time of year offers some outstanding fly fishing opportunities. While tailwaters are the obvious choice during high water conditions, there’s a lot more out there.
In case you missed it, go check out our blog post about fishing freestone rivers during runoff. Even rivers that aren’t controlled by dams can remain fishable when the water is high. You just have to approach them a little differently.
Here are four more ideas to find great fishing when runoff is at its peak:
1. Mountain Reservoirs
Colorado is home to some excellent fishing on mountain reservoirs. No matter where you are in the state, you’re probably within a couple hours drive of some excellent stillwater fly fishing for trout, lake trout, kokanee salmon and pike.
“This can be a great time of year to fish from shore,” said Anglers All Assistant Manager, Dakota Wentworth. “Start by fishing off points into the wind, so that your fly is coming back with the waves.”
Check out our newest video on the topic HERE
Dakota added that he’s had success fishing small leeches and baitfish patterns from shore early in the summer. This is also a good time of year to be fishing chironomid patterns. As the weather warms, callibaetis and damsels will make an appearance.
While a 5-weight rod will do, 6-weight to 7-weight fly rods can be helpful for battling the windy conditions on many mountain reservoirs. You might consider bringing two setups this time of year – one rod with a floating line and indicator to fish chironomids. And another with an intermediate sink tip, for streamers and leech patterns.
2. Head for the Headwaters
When many rivers at lower elevations are blown out with runoff, you can often find more fishable water up high.
“I’ve got a new Winston Pure4-weight that I plan on putting to work,” Anglers All travel coordinator, Andrew Pulford, reported. “I’ll be heading up toward some small creeks, fishing small dry flies, beetle patterns, and hopper-dropper rigs.”
These headwaters and small tributary streams can provide fast-action fishing for cutthroat trout and brook trout in places all over Colorado. Additionally, these areas are usually home to some great fishing on beaver ponds.
“You’ll find me chasing brookies,” said Anglers All Manager, Jimmy Juliana. “I enjoy fishing those higher feeder creeks and beaver ponds. When runoff reaches its peak, these high altitude waters tend to fish really well.”
3. Ice Off on High Alpine Lakes
There’s still plenty of snow hanging on in the high country this year. But as temperatures continue to heat up, ice will be coming off our favorite timberline lakes. And those trout are going to be hungry.
“I’ll be working to get up to those high lakes as soon as they ice off,” reported eCommerce Manager, Blake Katchur. “I’ll start by driving out to some of the ones that are more easily accessed from the road. That will give me an indication for when it’s worthwhile to hike to some of the more remote alpine lakes.”
Not only is ice-off fishing on alpine lakes throughout the Colorado extremely productive, but you won’t find more spectacular scenery. The above-average snowpack will produce a memorable wildflower season above timberline this year.
“Look for lakes with south-facing exposures to ice off first,” recommended Warehouse Manager, Ben Baxter. “Then keep your fly selection pretty simple. On the surface I’ll be fishing patterns like Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis and terrestrials. On sunny days, try fishing a hopper followed by a deep dropper.”
4. Warm Water Fishing
Here in the Denver area and along the Front Range, we are fortunate to have some truly special warm water fishing. If you about to jump in on the 6th Annual Mile High 25 tournament or plan to follow along, you probably know that within a short distance from the shop, we’re able to find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, carp, catfish and more – all of which are willing to eat a fly.
“I’m always looking to expand my techniques and to fish places that I haven’t fished before,” Jimmy added. “When you consider the opportunities we have here for carp, bass and pike, it provides a great reason to think outside the box.”
If you’ve never felt the hammering strike of a bass, or the pull of a big carp on a fly rod, make it a goal to do it this summer.
“The opportunity for warm water fishing right here in town opens up so many options,” Blake said. “Even weekday evenings after work become a possibility.”
From stillwater fishing on a mountain lake, to tangling with largemouth bass right here in town, if you’re not sure where to begin – don’t worry, you’re not alone.
We’d be glad to help you with basic rigging tips, fly selection, and where to begin. Don’t let that first time fear factor keep you from trying something new. Because on the other side of it, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Come visit us here at the fly shop in Littleton. You can also give us a call at 303-794-1104. If you’re not local, remember that shipping is always free on orders of $10 or more at AnglersAll.com. If a product is in stock on the website, that means we have it right here in the store. So in most cases, orders ship the same day.