On 07-21-2010 Fly Fishing Adventures on the Upper Rio Grande, Arkansas River, and other Colorado Fisheries with Rio Rose by Colorado & New Mexico Fly Fishing Guide Rita Adams
Colorado & New Mexico Fly Fishing Guide Rita Adams
We've been putting the raft in the water every chance we get, even if it means driving extra hours in the dark. Read on for reports on our recent fishing trips to nearby rivers like the Arkansas and the Upper Rio Grande, and the Gunnison Gorge too.....
07-15-10. Nursing a knee injury I had to lay off guiding for a while and so I headed up to Glenwood Springs to get in the boat for a few days. We fished with Kyle Holt, head guide of Taylor Creek anglers in Basalt. He knows his rivers. We fished the Colorado the first day, and I am always surprised not to see more anglers or boat traffic out there. The rapids aren't that scary and the fishing is great. There are some really large rainbows in there, and browns too. The fish are for the most part unmarked and hard fighting. The only downside was that we had to nymph really small flies, and a lot of our nicer fish got off with bent out hooks. Who designs these crappy hooks? The second day we fished on the roaring fork and were amidst a flotilla of boats all day, for the most part Taylor Creek guides. Spread out boys, you've got the whole valley! Fishing was fair, but I've seen it a whole lot better. Hot sun and quickly warming water are the culprits I suspect. All in all a sweet and short trip. We had breakfast at the Village Smithy in Carbondale which was a major highlight. That place has fine breakfast fare down.
06-28-10. I was lucky enough to get invited on a three day camp float through the Gunnison Gorge during the stonefly hatch. It was awesome. Check out my essays if you're interested in a blow by blow.
06-16-10. I fished with my great friend and fishing buddy Wenert on the upper Rio Grande over the last two days. We floated the river, with Duranglers guide Joe Delling and Wolf Creek Angers Mike McCormick. Both days we floated from lower Coller to bridge 17 in between South Fork and Del Norte, a long float at any flow. Intense dust storms over the last month made the winter's snow pack all but disappear, and the river has dropped drastically over the last week, prompting the upper river guides especially, to worry about later season flows. Right now however, the Rio Grande is gorgeous and the brown trout are happy. The Stoneflies are just starting to pop on the lower river near Del Norte, and we managed to interest some fish in large dries fished tight to the bank, but both days the name of the game was the streamer. Small black Buggers that imitate a stonefly nymph really got fish to commit. I fished hard both days, and moved so many fish that my dreams at night have been nothing but stripping streamers and fish on. Really, really fun. Anyone who has a chance to make it up this way should take advantage of some great guides and an awesome river. As I woke up on the river yesterday and prepared to make my way home, a proud red robin hopped up to me with a huge adult Salmonfly in it's mouth. They're coming! I headed up to fish the Mothers Day caddis hatch on the Arkansas with my father and Cousin Bruce this week
(5/13-5/17) The fishing was so good that upon heading home I turned around and went back out again, this time with a tent and no fixed plans. What a river. This time around we fished the lower river (near Howard) and saw fish of a caliber I didn't know existed in the ArK. Caught some massively thick rainbows, all around 19", and three browns that were pushing that but not quite so thick, as well as lots of 16-17" fish. The caddis didn't really seem to be the show stoppers, and only a smattering of fish took my caddis emerger or dry fly. It was the blue winged olives these fish were after. In the early afternoon of the second day we had almost two hours of epic dry fly fishing. The whole river came alive with rising fish, which for the first half hour ignored both me and my flies pretty much exclusively. I finally dove into my box with the size 22 and 24 mayflies though, and the game was on. I chose some insignificant speck of feather that seemed like it would ride low in the surface film, and if I couldn't see it, the fish could and did. Epic is the word. Later in the week I fished near Texas Creek, and found a healthy population of 12-15" bright buttery browns, smaller than their friends upriver but fun just the same. The rest of the week I tried to recreate the dry fly conditions we'd experienced but had no luck, and fishing for me was sporadic to slow, with only the odd fish coming to hand and very few fish moving about on their own accord. I got home yesterday but already I'm wanting to turn it around. The river is on the rise but still holding, and should be fishable for a few days yet.... Warm weather seemed about to end the fun on a lot of area rivers this week, so we hurried up to Salida for two days of float fishing on the Arkansas.
(4/19-20/10) I've fished this river many times, but never from a boat. At just under 600 cfs when we started, it was a fast ride, with plenty of rapids and some technical rowing, especially on the second day when the river had dropped to 450 cfs. The water was off color, and became more so as the day wore on, but still completely fishable. Our first day ended up being one of the best days of fishing I've had on the Arkansas to date, numbers and consistency-wise. We caught fish on everything we threw: nymphs in deeper runs, streamers in shallow riffles and off the banks, and small dries (olives) to rising fish whenever we had cloud cover. We saw bwo's and some caddis. Don Puterbaugh helped us with our shuttle to Rincon, and told us that all the caddis he's seen in the river were within two weeks of hatching; if full runoff can hold off for just a bit, we should be in for a good time... Small case caddis nymphs and mayfly emergers were the most effective patterns by far this trip. I tried fishing several varieties of caddis dries, to no effect. Not quite yet. We floated an eight mile section that starts just downstream from Salida. The second day we had weather moving in and out, and that or some other factor had the fish off their feed somewhat. We still caught plenty of fish, though the streamer bite was most definitely off. If they wanted anything at all, it was something small. This was a really awesome spring fling trip, and a great send off to JP as he heads back to Montana to guide on the Kootenai. We'll miss him.
04/10/10 Rio Grande Near South Fork We floated the upper Rio Grande last week from Lower Coller SWA to the Co. Rd 19 bridge (near South Fork). We were the first party to float this section this year, from what we could tell. The road at the put in hadn't been driven in months and the channel through the ice floes under the Hwy 149 bridge had only just opened wide enough to admit a boat. The guys at Wolf Creek Anglers were wonderful and helped us with both accurate info and a shuttle despite having their first trip of the year that day and not quite being open for the season yet. We'd spent the previous half hour trying to thrust $20 bills at gas station passerby, to no avail. I thought there was a recession on...? We knew we were pressing our luck coming up this early, but we wanted at least one day pre-runoff. The guides made dire predictions that had words like 'wet socks' in them with regards to the fish, so we weren't expecting much. Water temps started at 39 degrees, but the water looked good and only just off-color. We started out fishing nymphs from the front of the boat and streamers from the back; Our first fish ate an ultra-heavy Stonefly in a deep pocket below a mid-river boulder, ten minutes in. He was a fifteen inch brown and there was no wet sock about him. My dad's steamer got a 14" brown not long after that, and we hit fish periodically from then on out, just enough to keep things interesting. In the end we boated thirteen fish, the majority of which were on the Stonefly. The only sluggish fish were the rainbows- scuzzed up and post-spawn snaky(2). Our fishing slowed considerably once we passed the South Fork, which was pumping in lots of dirt and cold water, but we did see several rising fish in that lower stretch. The only bugs we saw were midges. All things considered, a lovely spring day. Water temps were 42 degrees when we took out.