Is it Spring Yet? – February 2017 Fly Fishing Report

2 February 2017
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2 February 2017, Comments: 0

Is it Spring Yet? – February 2017 Fly Fishing Report


So here is the skinny: it’s been cold and it’s been snowy.  Very snowy.  Record breaking snowy in fact.  Right now, most of Colorado is sitting at 160% of average snowpack…and most of that came this past January.  That’s a lot of snow…and a lot of trout habitat this coming summer.  Chances are that no matter where you reside, you have seen some moisture lately.  Lots of it.  If you are anything like us, you have been watching the outdoors from the indoors with a Ken Burns worth of online fly fishing videos, biding your time with tying flies and weathering the low temps with a favoured beverage.  You are ready to fish.

Perhaps the winter doldrums have you chomping at the bit to get out with cabin fever setting in.  We know how you feel; humans were not built to spend their lives indoors.  We need to connect with the natural world on a regular basis.  Well the good news is we have been out fishing, and it turns out the depths of winter did not last long.  The temps are rising after the multiple feet of snow we received in January, and it has fish moving.  It’s time for you to pull out your waders, rig up your rod, and carve out some time in the coming weeks to get out and fish.  Hooking trout has been healing to our winter-burned souls, and fishing is getting better by the day.

All that to say; you really should get out on the water this February for your emotional health and well-being.  Winter cabin fever can be beat!  With temps anticipated to be in the 50’s this coming week, spring is on the way (despite what Punxsutawney Phil says).  We are still offering our Winter Guide Special through the month of February, so now is the time to save a few bucks on a guide trip if can’t wait to get out.

Here is a plan: check out our monthly fishing forecast below, stop in the shop, give us a call, or shoot us an e-mail with any questions regarding our local fishing.  Better yet, get on the books this February for a Winter Guide Special day.  We can help you get into some fish and rejuvenate your soul from the past month of hibernation.  Or, like Punxsutawney Phil, you can wait 6 more weeks to emerge from the darkness of your lair.

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.  However, fish are still on the eat.  Dark mayfly and midge pupa nymphs have been working very 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, and make sure you have some midge dries for those afternoon risers.

Animas – It’s pretty incredible how the Animas has been fishing this year so far.  Usually, this is the slowest time to be on the water…but we have seen some incredible days with very solid fish.  The standard method of finding a deep, slow run and nymphing it hard with a lot of weight is the quickest way to find fish…but it isn’t the only method that is working.  We have found that the streamer bite has started a little early this year with good sized trout keying in on smaller leeches and baitfish patterns.  Of course, you still want to get down with weight; but it is surprising how fast of a strip you need to show these fish for them to crush it.  One would think a standard swing with some slight twitches is what is necessary…speed it up and hold on.  Of course, if you wary of the streamer game: caddis larva, pheasant tails, and large midges are on the menu.  Keep an eye out for risers to midge dries too…


San Juan River In Colorado – Deep nymph rigs is what you want right now.  Fish through town below the warmer water coming out of the geothermal pools and make sure you keep an eye out for emerging midges: trout may be looking up!

Rio Grande – This is not the best time to fish the Rio, mainly because it is covered in ice.  If you can find open water, drop a heavy nymph rig in.  Otherwise, wait until warmer early spring temps.

Piedra – Much like the Rio, the Piedra is mostly inaccessible.  What is accessible is either on private or covered in ice.  If you do have the opportunity to fish the Piedra.  Find the deepest, darkest holes and drop in your heaviest nymphs.

Upper Dolores – Again, mostly ice by now.  Fish open water with lots of weight or wait until spring.

Los Pinos – Below Vallecito:  The lower Pine is very low and clear right now, but flows have been bumped up.  Fish will still be very skittish, but it doesn’t hurt to try.  Ok it does hurt because you will most likely get refused and that hurts your ego.

Above Vallecito: Snow and ice will make this trek very difficult.  Most of the river will be frozen over.

Creeks and the High Country – Covered in snow and ice.

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 for the adventurous.

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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