Abundance of Water – April 2017 Fly Fishing Report

12 April 2017
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12 April 2017, Comments: 0

Abundance of Water – April 2017 Fly Fishing Report


This month we will see the beginning of Spring runoff on most of our area rivers. Snowpack this year is above average and we have an abundance of water in the high country.  The sooner we can get going the better. Most of the tailwaters in our area will see a spring release and the flows have already come up on the Lower Dolores. The Lower D is at 1,180cfs right now and will go as high as 4,000cfs over the next 2 months. The San Juan is scheduled to come up the last week of April and will see a 2-3 week ramp up to 5,000cfs where it will remain for around 40 days. We will also see increased flows on the Pine river below Vallecito. The Animas will have a few windows to fish when we have cooler weather so have your streamers ready.

April is one of the best times to take advantage of the great stillwater fishing in our area. The ice is off Vallecito and the boat ramp is open weekends from 8am-4pm and the trout fishing has been great. As the water warms, the pike will move into the shallows in anticipation of their yearly spawn so they can be targeted easily with a fly. The bass fishing at Navajo has been great this past week and will continue to get better as the water warms. Don’t forget some of the smaller reservoirs in our area such as Totten, Puett and Echo canyon as they all have great warm water fishing. Another overlooked resource this time of year is Carp, we have some great carp fishing at Totten, Navajo and even some in the backwaters of the San Juan.

Call us at 1-888-347-4346 and you can also check out our frequently updated river reports page for the most up to date information.

River Reports:

Mark 2017 Smallie Navajo Smalmouth bass

San Juan River Quality Waters – The Quality Waters are still seeing some lake turn-over effect, but it is subsiding.  Even in dirty water, fish have to eat!  Watch for hatches of midges all day and BWOs in the afternoon, fish may be looking up.  With the off color water, dark mayfly and midge pupa nymphs have been working well, and it doesn’t hurt to have a little flash.  Larger attractor patterns such as leeches, annelids, and egg patterns are good bugs to have in your box as well, and it can be good to give your bugs a little action every now and then.  Watch for spring flows to increase towards the end of April/beginning of May.

Animas – Flows on our local Animas are up and down this month with fluctuating temps and low elevation snow melt.  Fishing has been pretty good with nymphs and streamers.  BWOs have also been coming off fairly consistently, and we have seen a few good fish looking up.  There may be a few short float windows within the next few weeks before our runoff really gets going.  We may have a few short openings to float and huck streamers.

San Juan River In Colorado – Much like the Animas, the upper San Juan is slave to spring snowmelt, but there are a few float windows before the big flush.  While streamers may bring in a few fish, a stonefly nymph rig might be the best option for putting a lot of fish in the net.  Look for afternoon BWO hatches and have a few dries ready just in case.

Rio Grande – The early float season has arrived on the Rio and now is the time for an awesome streamer float before the big waters begin.  Seriously, we are floating the Rio right now and you should absolutely book a trip with us.  The streamer game has been off the heezy!!!  Oh and Blue winged olives are coming off too

Piedra – The Piedra will be a tough bet this month, mainly due to high, dirty water.  If you do want to brave it, fish big heavy stonefly nymphs.  The upper reaches may have better access to clear water and it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Williams Creek tailwater.

Upper Dolores – High, cold water is what is happening on the Upper D.  Deep nymph rigs will be key.  However…for those looking for a change of pace, you may want to try and hit the Upper Dolores close to town, you may find some moving stud rainbows.

Lower Dolores – Welp, it is happening.  After years and years of no water, we are now seeing another high water year on the Lower Dolores.  We are talking 60 days of flushing flows that make for incredible rafting below Bradfield Bridge.  The sad part is the fishing has only been mediocre due to lower than ideal fish numbers.  Streamers and heavy nymph rigs will be key if you do decide to a lower float.  If you want to fish the upper section close to the dam, bring the hiking shoes.  The forest service gate is not open until May 1st.

Los Pinos – Flows: up.  Fishing: good.  Actually really good below Vallecito.  Standard nymph fare will be in order: Prince Nymphs and Pheasant Tails.  It may not hurt to try out a streamer too just in case.

Above Vallecito: Above the reservoir, access will be tough with a muddy and snowy trail, but not impossible.  The upper waters can fish fairly well in spring on warm days.  It isn’t a bad idea to get up there and do some head hunting for bigger rainbows.

Creeks and the High Country – Slowly opening with the spring sun.  If you are the adventurous type, snowshoes will get you a long way in the high country game right now.  Attractor dries and droppers with some weight would be a good choice of rig.

Local Lakes – Pike!  Bass!  Trout!  Oh my!  most of our lower elevation lakes are open for business and the higher lakes are beginning to show their edges.  The Vallecito boat ramp is open on weekends from 8am to 4pm.  Fishing is good right now and only getting better.

Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

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