Cuba – Where the Flats Never End

Most people have heard of the never-ending saltwater flats in Cuba, but most Americans have only dreamed of casting a fly on them. I have been one of those dreamers for many years after hearing of a friend getting there through “other channels.” Stories of bonefish averaging 4 pounds, and snook over 20 pounds were just the beginning of a yearning to cast at a Cuban Permit, the famed “el Palometa.” Thoughts of mangroves teeming with baby tarpon only created a stronger yearning to see their bigger, more mature ancestors that migrate to those flats certain times of year. For me it was always, “someday.”

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Fishing Report: Blue River

Current Conditions

Flow: 98 cfs Silverthorne

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: High 30’s to low 40’s

Hatches: Midges

14 Day Forecast:  Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Considering the time of year, conditions are ideal in the town of Silverthorne, and fishing has been good. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges.  In addition to the trout eating midge larva and pupa; Mysis Shrimp imitations are fooling a decent number of fish.  A red larvae or a Mysis pattern trailed with darker pupa has been an effective rig as of late. You’ll find an occasional bank sipper feeding on adult midges if you look for them. Its hard to go wrong with a size 26 Parachute Adams to fool the trout feeding on adult midges.

Note: Straight Creek is adding a substantial amount of dirty water (snow melt) mid day and is affecting the clarity downstream. Plan accordingly.

Effective Patterns:    #20-22 Mercury Flashback Pheasant Tail, #20 Laney’s Mysis, #22-24 Mercury Black Beauty, #22 Red Midge Larva, #20-24 Brassie, #22-24 WD 40, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #24-26 Parachute Adams, and #22 Matt’s MidgeBlue Quill Angler’s veteran guides who frequently visit many of these streams on a daily basis guiding their clients.  We have guides on the South Platte, Blue, Colorado, William’s Fork and North Fork several times a week. This incredible network allows you to share their successful tips, and techniques as well as keeping you informed on effective fly patterns.

Fishing Report: Colorado River

Current Conditions:

Flows: 100 cfs Parshall and 546 near Kremmling

Clarity: Good

Water Temperature:  Mid 30’s to high 30’s

Hatches: Midges

14 Day Forecast: Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish this time of year.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information: The Colorado River is fishing best in and around the Parshall area.  Warm water entering from the Williams Fork keeps the water between the Sun Set Ranch and the confluence open year-round. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges, with the densest hatches mid day.  It’s hard to go wrong with egg-midge combos this time of year.

Effective Patterns:  #18 Hot Tailflash Egg, #18-20 Buckskin, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #20-22 Mercury Pheasant Tail, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #22 Minute Midge, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #24-26 Parachute Adams, and #22-24 Griffith Gnat.

Fishing Report: Williams Fork

Current Conditions

Flow:  75 cfs

Clarity: Good

Water Temperature:  High 30’s to low 40’s

Hatches: Midges

14 Day Forecast:  Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Flows are prefect on the Williams Fork and fishing has been pretty good considering the time of year.  Anglers should prepare for sporadic hatches of midges with the occasional riser in the slower pools and tailouts.  Anglers are catching a mixed bag of rainbows are browns. There is two feet of snow in the hayfields so plan accordingly.

Effective Patterns:   #18-20 Buckskin, #20-22 Mercury Midge #22-24 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #20-22 Mercury Pheasant Tail, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Griffith Gnat, and #24-26 Parachute Adams

Fishing Report: North Fork of the South Platte

Current Conditions:

Flows: 113 cfs

Clarity: Fair to Good. Geneva Creek is adding some color on warm days

Water Temperature: High 30’s

Hatches: Midges and winter stoneflies

14 Day Forecast: Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges and a few winter stoneflies. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Fishing along the North Fork of the South Platte has been good the past few days.  Anglers are fooling trout with an assortment of small bead heads, midges, and egg patterns. Look for flows to remain in the 75-100 cfs range for the remainder of the winter season.

Effective Patterns:  #18 Hot Tail Flash Eggs, #18 Black Pheasant Tail, #20-22 Bead Head Flashback Black Beauties, #20-22 Pearl Jams, #20-22 Rainbow Warriors, and #20-22 red midge larva.

Fishing Report: South Platte – Deckers

Current Conditions 

Flow: 86 cfs, Trumbull

Clarity:  Good

Water Temperature: Mid 30’s to high 30’s

Hatches: Midges

14 Day Forecast:  Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Fishing in and around the Deckers area has been challenging as of late. Anglers willing to battle the elements and work hard are fooling some nice fish on tiny midge imitations however. They key word here is tiny–size 20 and 22 imposters are not small enough! If you are struggling to catch fish, go to a size 24 or 26!  I pumped a fish recently and it was full of size 26 midge pupa. Releases from Cheesman  Dam are currently 59 cfs. Thank goodness Wigwam, Fourmile, and Horse Creeks are adding some additional water bumping the flow up to nearly 85 cfs.   My recomendation is to concentrate your efforts in the deeper runs and slower pools where you’ll find the highest concentrations of fish.  Your best bet is dead drifting midge pupa mid-column. The water is ice cold, so make sure your drifts are precise and cover the water methodically. Crowds remain heavy despite the low flows and challenging fishing.

Notes:  With the recent warm weather trend, the river is ice-free and there is no slush ice in the mornings. This opens up the lower river where anglers can seek some solitude. Spread out and enjoy the entire South Platte valley!

Effective Patterns:   #22-24 Top Secret Midge, #24 Black Beauty, #24 Minute Midge, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS II, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #22 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parashute Adams.

Fishing Report: Spinney Mountain – Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area

Current Conditions 

Flow: 62 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature:  High 30’s to low 40’s

Hatches: Midges

14 Day Forecast: Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see good (some dense at times) hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Flows are low, but fishing is good, especially for small to medium-sized fish. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently stocked 16,000 rainbows in Eleven Mile Reservoir. As you might imagine, there is a surplus of 8-12 inch fish in the system right now. The little fish are gobbling midge pupa (mid column) and eating single adults and clusters on the surface. The midge hatches have been incredible lately, especially on overcast days.  It’s hard to go wrong with a  size 24-26 Parachute Adams to fool these surface feeders. A size 18 Griffith Gnat is an excellent choice for the clusters. Anglers willing to work hard and battle the elements are catching a few nice-sized 14-18 inch resident rainbows, cut-bows and the occasional brown.  There are a few lake-run fish that are beginning to enter the system. Make sure you pinch your barbs and watch your step in the shallow riffles to avoid stepping on redds….

Effective Patterns: # 20 Manhattan Midge, #18 Micro Egg, #18-22 Mercury Pheasant Tails, #18-20 Buckskins, #20-22 Barr Emergers, #20-22 Jujubaetis,  #20-22 Flashback Black Beauty, #20-22 Minute Midge, #20-22 Tube Midge, #20-22 Chironoflash, #20-22 Mercury Blood Midge, #20-22 Foam Wing Chocolate Emerger , #20-26 Parachute Adams, #18 Griffith Gnat, and #20-22 Matt’s Midge

Fishing Report: Cheesman Canyon

Current Conditions 

Flow: 61 cfs

Clarity: Excellent

Water Temperature: HIgh 30 and low 40’s

Hatches: Midges

14 Day Forecast: Look for low flows and technical fishing. Anglers can expect to see sporadic hatches of midges. Target the traditional winter lies (slow, deep pools) where you’ll find the largest concentration of fish.  The best fishing is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Tips and Other Information:  Fishing remains challenging in Cheesman Canyon with the low flows.  Denver Water is holding back water in an effort to fill Cheesman Reservoir.  Look for flows to remain between 50 and 100 cfs for the majority of the winter/spring. Currently the lake is still 8,000 acre feet from the top (about 85% full), but the good news is that our snow pack is above normal.  My guess is Cheesman Dam will spill normally during the first part of May. For the meantime, my recomendation is to concentrate your efforts in the transitional zones that drop off into the deeper runs.   Flies of choice have been #22 Mercury Midges, #24 Black Beauties, and #24 Top Secret Midges. Think simple, sparse, and most importantly small. Small is key, if you are struggling fish with size 24’s and 26’s…

Effective Patterns: #22-24 Top Secret Midge, #20-24 Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger, #20-22 Jujubaetis, #22 Stalcup’s Baetis, #20-22 Mercury Midge, #20-22 Mercury Flashback RS II, #20-22 Sparkle Wing RS 2, #18 Hot Tail Flash Egg, #22-24 Sparkle Dun, #22-24 Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun, #22-24 Barr’s Visa Dun (BW0) and #24 Parachute Adams.

How to Catch Trout in the Winter

Where Do Trout Go in Winter? – by Tom Rosenbauer Walk along a trout stream in the winter and the riffles and pools that danced with insects and rising fish look as lifeless as the bare branches on the hillsides above. Overhanging brush that offered secure feeding spots in August is transparent and useless without its veil of leaves. You peer into a riffle and can’t imagine a trout living there. But there is plenty of life in a January river.

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Fishing Report: Boxwood Gulch

Flows at 126 CFS. This is a great winter time flow at Boxwood Gulch. Boxwood has some big fish in there right now! We have had some great trips there as late, and we are anticipating having a solid winter at Boxwood Gulch.  This is a great place to hone your winter-skills, with the convenience of a warm clubhouse to thaw out.

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