The past two weeks have seen a large increase in shop traffic for us here at Duranglers. Summer is here and we are all thankful for that. With summer comes lots of folks from out of town and it seems the number one question of course is “Where can I go fishing?” followed by “The river just looks so muddy right now…”
Well the past two weeks have also seen a large increase in temps and we are now on the downslope of runoff. However, rivers are still high and off color. So, to answer the million dollar question “Where can I go fly fishing during runoff?”; let us drop a few ideas on ya!
1. With runoff, the high country is opening up for some exploration with a fly rod. Now keep in mind the high altitude creeks and lakes are still fairly cold so it may take some innovation and coaxing to get those trout to eat. If they won’t take a dry, try a size 14-16 bead head nymph or a small bugger/streamer. Williams Creek, East Fork of the Piedra, Hermosa Creek, and the La Plata River are all lighting up!
2. Local flatwater lakes and reservoirs are now completely open and are fishing great for trout and bass. Pike season is coming to a close, but they are still eating big ol’ streamers. Try out Totten, Puett, Vallecito, McPhee, Lemon, and Summit.
3. Tailwaters of course. Tailwaters can high during runoff…but sometimes an increase in flows are what is needed to get those fish moving. Our local tailwaters are no exception. The San Juan River in New Mexico as well as the Dolores River have been slightly bumped up in flows and the fishing is unreal to say the least.
4. And finally…that high and muddy river. This includes the Animas, Upper San Juan, Upper Dolores, and Piedra. First, extreme caution must be taken into account here. High and swift water is very dangerous to wade and you must be very careful when fishing these rivers. That being said, wading is not even necessary when it comes to a high river. The swifter currents that flow through the middle of the river will push fish close to the banks where the current is much calmer. This is good news for you; all that is needed is some hiking shoes and large dark bugs. Walk the banks and nymph through the slower eddies that form along the sides. This tends to be the time of year when the biggest fish can be caught as they are so easily accessible. Dark stonefly nymphs and streamers are the go-tos here. Grab a few Pat’s Rubberlegs and Wooly Worms, an indicator, and have fun drifting the mild river banks. Heck, you don’t even have to get wet.
Hopefully that helps you with a few ideas on where to go…and keep an eye out for salmonflies and caddis.