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Blue River

For Denver area flyfishers, the Blue River, which rests just an hour-and-a-half west of the city off I-70, is an excellent after-work and short weekend option. However, due to its location, it can suffer from crowding.

Despite its location and a good population of trout, not many people consider the Blue their favorite river. However, for those who know the Blue, “Big trout,” “Broken tippet” and “the one that came off,” are all phrases that are commonly heard as those anglers head home from the river.

It hasn’t always been that way; improvements on the Blue over the last four or five years have benefited the fishery. New catch-and-release regulations to strengthen the population of larger fish and the fact that the rainbows, browns, and brookies in this river have bellied up to a diet of seafood – a white shrimp called Mysis – have played a big part in these improvements.

The Blue below Dillon Reservoir is not a typical Colorado tailwater. In fact, fishing the Blue below Dillon is a somewhat urban experience – it flows through Silverthorne, and those fast food joints, gas stations, and factory outlet stores make a strange setting for a blue ribbon trout stream.

River description excerpted from Flyfisher's Guide to Colorado by Marty Bartholomew

River description excerpted from Flyfisher’s Guide to Colorado by Marty Bartholomew

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Latest Guide Report

Fishing Report Date: 01-30-2015


After numerous delays during the final stages due to bad weather, the work on the Dillon Dam gates (which started last summer) was finally wrapped up this week. What this means for anglers is that the dam is back to normal operation, delivering water through Silverthorne from the bottom of the dam. Six months of idle water near the bottom of the dam should have let the mysis populations become pretty thick, and once the “drain” was opened yesterday, plenty of shrimp started getting sucked through the system.

Yesterday afternoon Denver Water started ramping up flows to test the upgraded system and also to start draining Dillon Reservoir in preparation for Spring runoff. Flows have the potential of fluctuating over the next few weeks as various tests of the new system are conducted, but it sounds like higher flows should be expected well into February.

Flow have almost tripled since yesterday, so the fish are currently seeking shelter where available. Make sure to look for fish along the edges before entering the river, and also concentrate on structure that breaks up the flow.

The increase in the flows has stirred up quite a bit of debris, which seems to have the fish feeding opportunistically. I noticed a significant difference in hookups based on tippet size, so let your goals dictate what to use. There are plenty of large fish around right now, so if you’re looking to land a big boy, stick with 5x. If you’re looking for numbers, consider 6.5-7x and you should see an uptick in hookups.

Plenty of flies are currently working, so don’t be afraid to switch one out if it’s not producing. Flies that produced for me were Vegas Weekends, Jakes DB Worm, Chartruese Eggs, BTS Mysis, and Epoxy Mysis. There is still plenty of action to be had on small winter midge fare as well, so don’t be afraid to work flies like black beauties, red zebra midges, rainbow warriors and RS2′s into the mix.

I noticed a lot of fish are pretty beat up, so just a reminder to debarb those hooks, and gently lift your flies at the end of the drift so you don’t foul hook fish (this will also many times induce a valid take when using midge patterns). With all the pressure these fish have been seeing lately, anything we can all do to reduce any harm done while being returned to the water, the better!


Report Statistics
4/5Time on Water: 3 Hours
Number of Anglers: 1
Hoook Ups: 16
Fish Landed: 12
Weather Experienced

Temperature: 32
Wind Conditions: Light-Breeze
Precipitation: None
Water Observations

Water Temperature: 39
Flow Level: 285 CFS
Runoff? Light-Stain
Ben McGee

Report Submitted By: Ben McGee

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Blue River Water Flow Graphs