On the Fly: The Colorado River is calling

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

It was an excruciating wait this year.

For those of us who pay attention to the Colorado River and try to float her every chance we get, this summer and fall were particularly tough to stomach. Mixed blessings are par for the course here in the Roaring Fork Valley, as we desperately needed all of the rain we received over the summer. Daily, heavy afternoon rains make for a muddy river, and the Colorado is now finally back in fishable shape.

Many of us have been float-fishing this amazing water over the past few weeks with plenty of success. The hard-charging rainbows are eating almost anything in sight and simply going ballistic once hooked. These strong fish will cartwheel, jump, charge directly beneath the boat, or take off upriver at breathtaking speed once they realize they’ve been fooled by a well-presented fly.

This isn’t 6x tippet water, folks.

Hatches aren’t prolific at this point, although there have been rising fish here and there looking for midges and the occasional blue-winged olive. Most of us are throwing streamers on a sink-tip line or deep nymphing with egg patterns. Natural fish eggs are neutrally buoyant, so it is imperative to get these egg patterns down deep, rolling along the bottom. Streamer colors to consider are black, white or rust. Egg sizes are varying between 6 and 8 millimeters, with yellow, orange and pearl colors fishing best.

The best indicator of how the Colorado will fish is the color of the river. In a nutshell, green is good and brown puts the fish down. The Colorado is a gorgeous shade of green these days, and most of my best fish are being found in the deepest, greenest sections of the river.

If you don’t want to see another angler all day, love to catch gymnastic fish and enjoy fall floating, go check out the Colorado River!

“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.