Colorado Flux – March 2017 Fly Fishing Report

7 March 2017
Comments: 2
7 March 2017, Comments: 2

Colorado Flux – March 2017 Fly Fishing Report

Andy McKinley Brown Trout Release

Shoulder season flux.  50 mile per hour winds one to 60’s and sunny the next.  Crystal clear and cold waters to muddy high runners; conditions will be in flux every day.  The constant change is the foundation of March in Colorado.  If you are fishing this month, be ready to adapt to what mother natures throws at you.  On any given day, you could be dredging nymphs, stripping streamers, or sight fishing to dry and emerger eaters.

Due to this state of flux, it’s tough to predict what conditions will be like even a few days out.  March brings unreal days of BWO dry fly fishing swiftly followed by days of muddy waters and 0 fish.  Our suggestion is to just get out there, March is a month were trout dreams are made.

And if you have dreams of fish bigger than most trout, then you may want rig up the big rod; pike season is now.

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:

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.  Now is a good time to swing a streamer or leech through some likely holes too.

Animas – March on the Animas; on of our personal favorites.  Rainbows are moving and can be found in likely spots, but watch for BWO hatches.  Should you catch a good hatch, bigger fish will be feeding 1-2 feet below the surface and will be easily spotted.  March is a great month to be sight fishing for big fish.  Can’t find the feeders?  Deep nymph rigs will be your go-to for the most fish.  Caddis larva, mayfly nymphs, and even stonefly nymphs are a good idea right now.  March also sets off our spring streamer season, so don’t be afraid to bust out the meat sticks and huck for bigger fish.

San Juan River In Colorado – The upper San Juan that flows through Pagosa Springs picks up in March.  Much like the Animas, you could be fishing deep nymph rigs one day and a BWO dry dropper set up the next.  In off color water you will want big dark stoneflies.  The streamer fishing will also pick up considerably this month.

Rio Grande – Signs of life will begin to show on the ole Rio, but it is still very cold in March.  You can find some open water to fish, but the water temps will be very low and the fish will be sluggish.  Deep runs with lots of weight will be your best bet.  However, going into April, we often have a window of float fishing where we are throwing BWO dries or streamers.  Give us a call to talk more about booking an April float trip!

Piedra – Our classic freestone stonefly water will be cold, however fishing will be picking up.  You can’t beat a Pat’s Rubberlegs/Prince nymph combo fished through deep holes on the Piedra right now.  If you can access fishable water, then fish it!

Upper Dolores – Cold water is what is happening on the Upper D.  Deep nymph rigs.  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 getting ready to spawn.

Lower Dolores – Suprisingly, the lower Dolores has been picking up pretty well right now.  The forest service gate is closed until the end of April, but if you want to do some hiking, you will have the river to yourself.  BWOs and Midges will be the food of choice for trout on the lower D, but it couldn’t hurt to throw a streamer at likely looking structure too.

Los Pinos – In normal water years, the lower Pine is flowing low and fish are spooky.  Well, this isn’t a normal water year.  This is shaping up to be a very big water year.  In anticipation of a big spring runoff, the Pine River Irrigation District has already started letting more water out of the dam at Vallecito.  Hanging around 315 cfs, the pine is flowing good and clear.  Fishing has been really good from the dam to Ignacio.  It is hard to go wrong with a Prince Nymph or Pat’s Rubberlegs on the Pine.  Closer to the dam you will want to scale your flies down a little in size.  Mayfly nymphs such as a PT or Brown Baetis Nymph are good choices.

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 – Covered in snow and ice, but the spring sun will open up a few holes.  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 – The early pike season is on!  It’s game time!  Navajo is warm enough for you to find some fish.  Keep in mind it is early season, so you need to have a slower retrieve.  The big toothy monsters will be lurking in ambush spots, ready to kill.

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.

2 responses on “Colorado Flux – March 2017 Fly Fishing Report

  1. Great river report. Here in Montana, the March weather is always unpredictable and sometimes I see up to three seasons in the course of an afternoon. What a monster pike! Did you catch him on a streamer? I would love to hook into a big boy like that!

    • Hey Montana Ranch,

      This pike was caught on one of Mark Engler’s Pike flies. It is basically a large pike streamer. Come on down and we can get you out on the water! Take care


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