Fall Fishing Forecast From FRA
Front Range Fall Fishing
Fall Fishing is here. The days are getting shorter, the rivers are low and clear, and the temperatures are starting to drop. This has excellent meaning for the fall fishing. Kids are back in school, and most of the tourists have returned home. During most days, you won’t see another angler on the water. We want to give you an outlook on how the Fall fishing is shaping up for the front range.
As with most of the other front range streams, fall fishing on Boulder Creek can be spectacular. The flows are low and the water is gin clear, but the fish will readily still take terrestrial insects (hoppers, beetle’s, and ants). Go to smaller imitations size 14, 16, and 18’s, because the plop of larger sizes may spook them.
Baetis are starting to pop in the afternoons so make sure you have a few bwo dries in your box. The fall baetis are usually much smaller than their spring cousins. Make sure to have sizes 18, 20, and 22 to cover these hatches. Be on the look out for a few late caddis as well.
For nymphs, have size 18-22 pheasant tails, radiation baetis, two bit hookers, and black zebra midges in your arsenal to cover the pre-hatch stages as well.
South Boulder Creek
South Boulder Creek can have excellent fall fishing as well. Below Gross Reservoir, it completely depends on the water flow. Flows from 75-250 CFS are ideal Flows as of today are 171 cfs which is an excellent flow. It can be pretty packed on weekends, so if you want some solitary fishing, try heading to Walker Ranch during the week. Have the same flies mentioned above for your best chances at catching a few fish. Feel free to add red and worm brown San Juan Worms, and rainbow warriors to the mix.
Rocky Mountain National Park
This is one of the absolute best times to spend time in Rocky Mountain National Park. The aspen leaves are changing, herds of elk are in Moraine Park, and there are NO ANGLERS to be seen. The fish are still eager to eat and are packing on the food preparing for the upcoming winter. Hiking to many of the high lakes can be very rewarding as well.
The key to fishing Clear Creek this time of year, is to cover water. Fishing the same effective flies as you would on Boulder Creek, but use 7x tippet. the fish are extremely spooky this time of year. Stand back from the bank and make sure your flies are getting to the bottom. The fish will eat, just don’t spook them before you get to them.
This has been an interesting year for the Big Thompson below Olympus Dam. For most of the year, there has been work on the tunnel causing the flows below the dam to be twice the flow of normal years. Currently the flow is 277 cfs and normally it down at 150 or lower. Typically this time of year, BWO’s are the soup de’ jour and that will be no exception this year. Blue Poison Tungs, Rainbow warriors, radiation baetis, jigged pheasant tails, jigged hare’s ears, pheasant tails all in sizes 14-22. Terrestrials will still make up part of the diet as well. With the higher flows, look for slack areas, pockets, seams, and holes. Don’t be afraid to fish bigger flies under an indicator with some weight to get them down quickly.