The month of May in Colorado usually means the start of high water and caddis hatches. However, on the other side of the country, May means the start of the migratory tarpon. Every May in Florida anglers gets the unique opportunity to have a chance to catch a large migratory tarpon. These fish cruise up the beaches of Florida on their annual migration to spawn. Fish upwards of 200lbs are not uncommon. Anglers will find the tarpon is large groups in May then will start breaking apart into smaller groups come June and July. By the time August rolls around the tarpon seem to dissipate. If you have not had the opportunity to go see this phenomenon I highly recommend it. So when the water gets high in Colorado think about booking a flight to Florida and giving it a shot.
Summer is a fantastic time to fish rivers and creeks but it also is the perfect time to strap on a backpack and explore some high mountain lakes. Colorado has a vast number of high alpine lakes loaded with trout.
I was lucky enough to have a few days off last week so fellow guide Reid Eakins and myself hit the road in search of high mountain cutthroats. What we have found is that the more remote you get, the better the fishing will be; with this in mind, we ventured South down to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The plan was to spend 3 days in the backcountry fishing. With our packs loaded with fishing gear and the backpacking essentials (whiskey, of course), we hit the trails.
The first day we hiked 4.5 miles to our first destination. We set up camp in the early evening and fished well into the evening hours. Fish were rising but it was a challenge to figure out what they were eating. Finally, after switching several flies, Reid started picking fish up on a thin mint fly; they took the fly on a very slow retrieve. The next day, we hiked up to another lake looking for bigger cutthroats. We found fish to be eating scuds just below the surface on a very fast retrieve. After a long day of fishing and hiking we relaxed at our campsite sipping whiskey and sharing fish stories.
Backpacking and fishing go great together; it is a great opportunity to get away from the hustle of city life and explore what the Colorado mountains have to offer.
Give your local creeks or rivers a break and explore some high mountain lakes!
Ahhhh… the temps are cooling down and fall is in the air. Although I have been spending most of my time deep in the Elk woods i have been sneaking out in between Aspen Groves and moving streamers when the time allows. Fish have been responding to these bigger flies and I must say that September is a favorite month amongst Colorado Outdoorsman. I put together this short video segment about Streamer Fly Fishing. I know a lot of anglers who don’t quite understand the concept of Streamer Fly Fishing but it is an extremely effective tactic year round, especially in the Spring and Fall months.
First is the setup USE A HEAVIER ROD. A five weight will get the job done but you will beat your shoulder and arm up constantly throwing these larger flies over and over again. A stiff six weight at minimum will help you from getting fatigued and keep you on the water longer. But don’t be ashamed of throwing a larger rod with a heavier line. You will be making a lot of cast and a heavier rod will help out immensely. Do not get crazy about your leader/ tippet set up. Use a short stiff leader. I prefer 0x- 1x Flourocarbon. This will aid in sinking your flies and give you a lot of pulling power when you hook larger fish or trees.
Second is presentation. 90% of the time i am always moving my flies downstream. If you are a fish getting chased by a larger fish chances are that you are not going to swim into the current. Make you casts across the current at a 45 or 90 degree angle and use the current to swing your flies down stream. I try to move my streamer patterns from shallow to deeper water in hopes of finding fish hiding behind rocks and pockets. But the beauty of streamer fishing is that you can fish all types of water.
Last and the most important is covering water. Too many times I have seen anglers fishing streamers in the same run over and over again. Once a trout sees your presentation more than a couple times they are not going to chase/ commit. Covering a lot of water will increase your success when stripping streamers. If you cover a good section of water 50/100 yards with no action, change your fly size/ color and try it again. Often times this will trigger a response.
Get out there and start moving those big bugs through the water. The Brown Trout are in full pre spawn mode and fish are aggressively feeding before the deep freeze of winter. Thank you for watching.