Overcast Days are for Baetis – October Fishing Report

9 October 2018
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9 October 2018, Comments: 0

Overcast Days are for Baetis – October Fishing Report

“Cloudy with a chance of rain”: a statement so typical of the forecast this time of year.  With weather rolling in and dark clouds on the horizon, as often is the case in October, anglers tend to stay in rather than hit the water.  We are not sure why…

Cloudy days in October can make for some of the best dry fly fishing to be had in the fall.  When rain and clouds show up, you better believe BWOs will be hatching on most western trout waters in the fall…and when BWOs are hatching, trout heads start to break the surface.  Rather than run from cloudy and rainy days; grab a rain jacket, a thermos of coffee, and a box of small mayfly emergers and dries for a serious afternoon of fun.

October is also known as a big fish month.  Brown trout have been moving upriver on a lot of our waterways in preparation of their yearly spawn.  These fish are not easy to catch, but they can be easy to find if you know what to look for, and it never hurts to try a streamer.  Pike are also eating hard on our local reservoirs.  As temps cool, pike move into water 6-10 feet deep to fill up on calories before the deep freeze of winter comes.  Pike flies fished on an intermediate sink with a big strip and a sharp stop is what entices these toothy critters to kill.

No matter where you are heading this October, stop in the shop or give us a call and we can point you in the right direction.

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 – Holding steady at around 600 CFS, the San Juan has been fishing fantastic as of late.  If there was one place that has consistently been producing fish on dry flies right now, the San Juan is it.  Afternoon hatches of midges have been going strong throughout the Quality Waters with the further you get from the dam, the bug size is increasing.  Below Texas Hole, Baetis have been coming off in droves on cloudy afternoons and fish are looking up.  In the mornings if nothing is breaking the surface, go deep with an annelid/pupa or a double midge nymph rig and be ready; massive brown trout have been moving into the Quality Waters and are being caught.

Animas – While the Animas has seen a very rough summer with the 416 Fire and subsequent ash runoff, recent rains have given the Animas some increased moisture.  Rains are still causing the river to run very dirty, but there have been reports of recent stocking by CPW and some fish are being caught.  If the river has a chance to run clean for about a week, BWOs may be hatching in the afternoons.  Standard Animas nymph rigs (Pat’s Rubberlegs and a Pheasant Tail) will work fished in the deep runs, and make sure to have a few streamers on hand as well.

Creeks and the High Country – The Colder weather has moved into the high country and it is only a matter of time before our creek shut down for good until spring.  Dry dropper rigs are your best bet, with most fish being caught on nymphs fished closer to the bottom.  Our dry summer has caused many of our creeks to run very low and fish counts are not as high as a normal year.  High country lakes will be cold but a few fish can still be caught on leeches and buggers.

Local Lakes – This time of year, any fish in the lake is going to be filling up in preparation for winter.  Big trout can be caught from shore on most of our local lakes and the pike bite is strong.  Most pike fishing will require a boat in order to fish effectively, but some may still be caught from shore if you can find good drop-offs as they will be hanging in about 6 to 10 feet of water.  Chronimid rigs and buggers are your best bet for trout.  For Pike, your favorite baitfish pattern tied 8″ long with a stout 2/0 to 4/0 hook are best.  We really like Engler’s Pike Fly, EP Pike Flies, and Pike Snakes.

San Juan River In Colorado – Increased flows from rain have given the upper SJ a much-needed influx of water.  Fish deep holes with stonefly and mayfly nymphs, but watch for afternoon hatches of BWOs.  Don’t be afraid to throw a streamer either.  Big fish move this time of year, and they are always looking for a big easy meal.

Rio Grande – It is low water time on the Rio.  Wade fishing has been good with afternoon baetis hatches as well as a good amount of fish chasing down streamers.  Nymph rigs will also produce a good amount of fish, so look for the deeper holes and get down with split shot and heavy stonefly nymphs.

Piedra – Thanks to recent rains, the “too-low-to-fish” Piedra river has received a good influx of water and is flowing very good.  While rains may cause discoloration immediately after, give it a few days and some of the best stonefly water around will be flowing clear in no time.  Deep running stonefly rigs are your best bet, but once again, watch out for BWOs on cloudy afternoons.

Upper Dolores – The Upper D is cold, but fishing very well for fall.  The same story as most river applies here: rains have bumped the flows!  Nymph rigs of your favorite bead head/attractor nymphs along with baetis nymphs and dries will be key.  Watch for bigger fish moving out of McPhee, and have a few buggers or streamers on hand…just in case.

Los Pinos – Below Vallecito:  flows are LOW and fishing will be tough.

Above Vallecito:  The recent rains have given the upper a good influx of water.  Fish will be hanging in deeper holes, but with the flush of water, look for bigger browns to be moving up.  These fish can head as far as 10-12 miles upstream to spawn.  Please keep away from spawning fish and stick to deeper water where a nymph rig of a stonefly/mayfly combo should do the trick.

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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