Dog Days of Summer Weekend Fishing Report
The dog days of summer are here. This weekend on the Front Range fishing was a little tougher than usual. That being said, fishing reports from our guide trips came back favorable. The main concern for fishing through these dog days of summer are the low and clear flows. The fish are usually more spooky and at this time more susceptible to predators and fisherman. The warmer air temperatures and low flows cause several things to happen:
- The water temperatures rise. Trout are a COLD WATER species. They can survive and tolerate warmer water, however, it can be detrimental to the fish, especially if you fight them for a prolonged period of time. Land the fish as fast as possible and return it to the water quickly as well. It is very important to monitor water temperatures this time. Do yourself (and the fish) a favor and invest in a stream thermometer. If the temperatures are above 65 degrees, consider moving to another stream or just stop fishing altogether. Try to avoid being on the water during the hottest part of the day. Early mornings are best as the water is the coldest its going to get as a result of colder night time temperatures. Evening Dry fly fishing can be very good also.
- The amount of dissolved oxygen decreases. The warmer water causes the dissolved levels to drop. This sends the fish to the faster riffles (riffles are where oxygen diffuses into the water more easily). Trout have to have high levels of dissolved oxygen or they will die. The trout will gravitate toward the riffles because that is the most oxygenated water they can find.
- The trout get sluggish. It may seem like there are not any fish in a particular stretch of river. They are they there, you just need to work a little harder for them. Your presentation will need to be spot on. Just like fishing in the winter time, the fish may not move very far to eat your flies. Expending energy to chase down food causes them to use precious oxygen.
Right now in the high country you can beat the heat and find some great fishing as well. Rocky Mountain National Park is a great option especially if you ware willing to hit the trail early. You can find great callibaetis hatches on some of the high mountain lakes, hoppers and beetles on the rivers and great scenery & solitude all around. If you decide to make the trip to the high country make sure you are prepared for afternoon thunderstorms and rain showers. Don’t let them catch you off guard.
Boulder Creek— The creek has been fishing well, especially in the mornings. We have been starting our trips around 7 am. The best water has still been between 4-mile canyon and Boulder Falls. Above Boulder falls, the water is getting low and the fish are skittish. If you want to try your hand at some technical fishing, heading up above the falls is the place to go. Our go to dry flies have been smaller terrestrials on top (chubbies, hippie stompers, mini foamulators, stimulators etc.). Our droppers consisted of small pheasant tails, caddis, and frenchies.
Big Thompson– Keep an eye on the water temperatures here. Afternoon temperatures have been recorded by our guides at 70 degreesThe Big Thompson has been fishing very well throughout the day despite all of the warm water coming from the top of Lake Estes. On the cloudy days, watch out for olives, caddis, and drakes on the river as well as tricos. With the flows only hovering around 100cfs to 120cfs, dry droppers are still the way fish. Try a pearl and elk caddis, hippie stomper, or small chubby on top. Drop a pheasant tail, pmd, frenchie, or a jigged green drake off the back. Stonefly Nymphs in the faster also worked very well.
Rocky Mountain National Park– The Park is still fishing well also. As mentioned above, keep an eye out for thunderstorms and be prepared to deal with bad weather should it descend on you. Medium sized purple haze and elk hair caddis are working well as dry flies. Drop a small nymph off the back and you should be in business. The waters are still low and the fish can be spooky so watch your presentation and how you approach the water.
Keep these tips in mind when you head out on your next trip to help increase your odds of success during the dog days of summer.