Deep and Slow

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Alice Tesar

The biggest mistake folks make during spring shoulder season in the Rocky Mountains is heading to the desert to mountain bike.  I enjoy biking – just like any angler, it gets me to the fishing hole when my car is in the shop.  With that said, fishing during runoff should be embraced and not run (or biked) from. 

Not only are the rainbows making moves up your favorite tributaries, but larger trout are more willing to go for your fly, because they feel protected by the murky water.  You may observe that the icy water from the snow melt has slowed the midge hatch from your winter fishing days.  Even the BWO hatches, while present, aren’t magnificent here in NW CO.

I stick to two setups this time of year:

a Barr’s BWO to an egg or a pink worm to an egg- always the egg last.  I’ll weight my flies until I find the bottom of the river bed and then remove a weight to get it just above so that the egg bumps along the rocks on the bottom and the nymph is drifting in the water column above.

Trout feast where the slow water meets the fast water. These seams are closer to the river bank and deeper in the river during runoff than they are in midsummer water levels. Check out the banks for holding and hungry fish before getting your boots wet.  

Landing the beast can be another challenge we encounter during high water – your standard netting areas are deeper, the banks are flooded, and the willows are hanging over the river’s edge.  As you approach the section of river, pick out a few calm areas down river into which you can wrangle the fish to net.  This will help you avoid finding yourself clinging to a branch and breaking the fish off. 

Alice Tesar
Gink & Gasoline
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