December on the Colorado River

December Fly Fishing the Colorado River


Ben Johnston

Fellow fly fishing addict


It’s not just about the fish.


The streamer bite on the Colorado river has been on fire this fall into the early winter, and if you are thinking about going out, I highly recommend driving a little further, ditching the crowds, and experiencing this amazing fishery. No need for a drift boat, as wade fishing has been great from Pumphouse down to Two Bridges. As the weather continues to get colder, the fish will become concentrated in the slow deep pools where nymph fishing under an indicator with stoneflies, eggs, and smaller midges and mayflies are my go to nymphs this time of year. Remember to wear your favorite pair of fishing gloves, and to take them off while handling fish, as this not only protects the fish’s slime coat but also leaves you dry and warm gloves to put your hands in after the release. Until next time stay dry, warm and tight lines!




pumphouse-2 It’s about the walk to the river in that pristine Colorado air. It’s about not being at work on a Tuesday.  It’s about hearing the California Zephr coming through the tunnel and the travelers in the Vistadome cars wishing they were out with you on the Colorado.


OK. It’s also about the fish.


DTU Member Fly Fishing Trip Reports


Fred & John score 100 on the Colorado. 10/16/2014

Fishing with Bob Dye, Blue Quill Anglers. Bob has been fishing this stretch of the Colorado since he was 12. He seems to know exactly where the fish will be based on time of  year, time of day, temperature, and flow. He swore us to secrecy. It was a lights out day. A strike on nearly every drift. And… we were NOT, of course,  fishing over the redds.  He swore us to secrecy. Call Bob for disclosure.


Mike and Todd don’t on the Arkansas. 10/18/2014

Todd: Ark was slow. Flows were about 400 when we were there. A drop to 2-300 should benefit the fishing.  Limited bugs last Saturday. I caught so few fish (1). Mike:The Arkansas at Hecla was VERY slow.  Todd and I walked about 3 miles and fished from 10 to 3. We waited for the advertised baetis hatch in vain.  I caught 5 small browns largest 12″ on the Barrs.

Mike on the Big Thompson 10/16/2014


Water 46-48

Tailwater flow at 68 cfs

Parked on the west side of the lake and walked up to the inlet.  Hooked 3 8″ rainbows on a black xtal bugger.  Fished the lake and got 2 small bows and a brown.  Went below the dam and fished the bridge hole to no avail.  Looks like they have been stocking as I saw a lot of puny rises.  Went to the wall hole below the RMA section.  The run is much changed subsequent to the 9/14 flood.  Lots of sediment in in what were deep slots.  Hooked and lost a couple small fish on a Barrs emerger.  Went back to the inlet and caught 6 bows ~7″ on a white midge.  These fish appear to be stocked due to the uniform size. The color is good and they are very healthy.  Walked up the river until I saw a couple big Elk bulls on the bank and decided to retreat.

John on Clear Creek Canyon mm 266.  10/24/2014





Water 42F Air 56F Sky – Bronco Blue – Flow 95

After a long, high, muddy spring and summer, Clear Creek has finally returned to its wadeable namesake. Fall on Clear Creek can be gorgeous and it was. I was expecting to see sheep but instead saw a nice 4×4 mule deer climbing up a draw. I fished a pegged egg with some thread midges dropped behind with not much success until about 10:30 when the water warmed a couple degrees. I strapped a gopro to my ankle for some under water shots hoping to see some trout hiding under ledges. I tried a elk hair caddis as an indicator, got a couple looks but no strikes. End total was about 10 on for the count of 8, 4 trout unlimited in-stream releases, and 6 released from the net. Most larger (10-12) than I usually expect in Clear Creek. After 4 hours I switched to my nail polish coated plastic bead from the bead shop and got a brown on the first cast. These browns were not colored for spawning yet.

Below Green Mountain Dam – Death Defying Fly Fishing

 Death Defying Fly Fishing

by John Davenport and Mike Hobbs

Photos by John: The Blue below the GreenNovember 2013 and 2012

John:  If you’ve never fished this stretch, don’t start in November. There is nothing more hair-raising than the 70 foot near vertical decent from the parking area to the Blue River. Among the things that can happen are:

1. Loss of rod as you momentarily lose balance an whack it against one of the massive pines trees.

2. Loss of gear as you slide down on your belly from your first step out of the parking lot.

3. Loss of life as you crash head first into a boulder at the bottom of the down “trail.”


I’ve been told that brave rafters floating the Jones property (don’t touch shore or bottom or the sheriff’ll getcha) belay their boats down these slopes before setting off. I’ve never seen this and find it hard to believe.

There is a set of stairs down to the river just below the dam,Steps to the Blue.

but alas, just down stream from the stairs there are steep canyon walls on both sides that will, depending on the flow from the dam, halt your progress in fishing down stream.


Here is a link to what happened last year on this trip to the Blue below the Green.Canyons below the steps.












When there is a thin skim of either ice, snow, sleet, or mud the normally treacherous decent becomes terrifyingly treacherous.

This report from Mike Hobbs for his descent on Tuesday, November 19, 2013. Obviously, Mike was too traumatized to make the DTU Board Meeting that night at the Skylark. We understand.



I took one step down the bank on the thin layer of powder snow and knew there was no way I’d make it down alive. So I went back to the car for my climbing rope. (ed. We all have climbing ropes back in the car, don’t we?)Nice river below the parking lot on the Blue.

The fishery below the dam seems to me to have been in decline the last 4 years but I was happy to pull a nice healthy brown from the “wall hole” on a streamer.The Wall

My Barr’s emerger worked its usual magic on this stretch on a couple smaller rainbows and browns and I lost at least one nice rainbow.

Not surprisingly we had the canyon to ourselves and my climbing rope was still there at the end of the day to pull my ass out of the canyon.

Chris lands 22

Weekend at the Colorado Trout Unlimited Rendezvous

This past weekend I had the honor to represent DTU at the annual Colorado Trout Unlimited Rendezvous in Redstone, Colorado. Unfortunately, my travel partner, Todd Fehr, was not able to get away from work on Friday morning so I began my trip solo. I had quite a decision to make, what water to fish on my way to Redstone? I could fish Clear Creek, the Blue, Gore Creek, Eagle, Colorado, Roaring Fork, Frying Pan or the Crystal! What a problem to have! There is a lot of world-class water on that drive!

On a whim from a good friend, I decided that I had never really put in some good time on the Eagle and now was the time to hit it hard! By the time I got on the water it was 9:30 and the day was warming up very nicely.  The forecasters said snow, but as we all know here in Colorado, they do not always get it right. My friend was right. The Eagle is a stellar river! In roughly 4 hours, I had pulled in 22 fish and the smallest was 18 inches!

I finally arrived at the Redstone Inn just after dark. From there, it was several drinks and very well done presentations by various TU staffers. Too much talk and looking out the window to view the beautiful Crystal River, a few friends and I were forced to bail out to fish a couple of hours on Roaring Fork.

Upon returning we rushed to our rooms to change into our formal attire for the Awards Banquet.  Personally, I was thinking we should have just gone in waders and a tie. We had a wonderful photography showcase that evening that showed fishing from all over the world. Truly spectacular images!

Strong drinks, from a good bartender, with new friends at a quaint hotel in the mountains produced a lot of laughs and great camaraderie. I can honestly say that I had a great time with new friends and am very much looking forward to next years event. Thank you Trout Unlimited!