Fly Fishing Colorado Newsletter

April 2015

Welcome to the Fly Fishing Colorado Newsletter. It is officially time for warmer weather, rising rivers and the start of a beautiful 2015 season. As the top fly fishing guide service in Colorado, we seek to be your information hub with all items related to fly fishing. Whether you are looking for river conditions, informative articles from the industries top associates or a fun piece of literature, this monthly mailing will have it.

Different Species on the Fly

Pike tail Trout have dominated the industry for years when it comes to fly fishing, however, in the past decade it seems that fly anglers are starting to branch out and go after anything other then trout. From carp to pike to saltwater on the fly, anything that can be caught on a fly rod is now on the bucket list. While trout fishing is a blast and what we primarily focus our careers around, it is only the tip of the iceberg. The longer we have fished, the more and more species we have branched out into catching. For a few of us, originally east coasters, we grew up fishing for every other species of fresh water fish besides trout. Fishing shoulder to shoulder to freshly stocked trout on opening day, lost its luster after age 11 for those reasons. No matter where you live or what you are used to catching, branch out and go after something different.

For sake of practicality and not listing hundreds of fish species, let's look at fresh water and particularly here in Colorado. Branching out the species you target will make you a better fly angler overall and allow you to fish no matter what time of year. Just to name a few, let's look at wiper, bluegill, bass, carp, pike, and salmon. Some of our favorites include carp, bass, and pike. To optimize your success, let's break these fish into categories, based on necessary angler skill sets.

For the beginner or never ever fly angler, bluegills and sunfish are great species to start with. You can spend an entire day throwing dries on a pond or lake for these guys. Dries are very forgiving when it comes to casting and the strikes are easy to see. They can keep you entertained for an entire day and are good eating. Bass are also a fun, and relatively easy species to go after. They can be found in most of the waters bluegill and sunfish are in, which includes a number of our local ponds and lakes. Throwing woolly buggers from the banks at any kind of structure in the water will usually trigger a strike.

Fly fisherman with large carpFor the intermediate angler, carp and salmon are good choices. While these two species can require somewhat different approaches to catching them, they both require a bit of knowledge and fly fishing experience. Carp can be both challenging and rather easy, depending on where they are located and how you are fishing to them. The easiest way is to nymph fish for them in rivers and streams. This is essentially the same as trout fishing; indicators, weight, fly, and get it out to them. Egg patterns work great along with a variety of other common flies, such as hares ears, prince nymphs and pheasant tails. The second way, and a bit harder, is to cast to them with streamers. This can be a bit tricky if you are still getting your cast dialed in. It becomes a combination of hunting and fishing when using streamers. The idea is to cruise the banks, trying to spot them from a distance and sneak up as close as possible to get your fly within a couple feet of them without spooking. For this type of fishing, you need to have a good eye, delicate cast, and know how to fight big fish. Salmon are another great choice. While the skills needed to catch Salmon are roughly the same as those needed for trout, Salmon can be a bit more selective and much bigger. The easiest time to catch them on the fly is when they make their way up rivers to spawn. Kokanee salmon run up a number of rivers in Colorado to spawn. They are less willing to eat when in spawn mode and therefore require good drifts and dedication. They do not grow to extreme sizes, but can put up quite a fight and are a great change of pace. Not to mention the prehistoric looking teeth they develop when going into spawn.

Pike flyLastly, for the advanced fly angler here are a few that may bring back those first catch giggles, wipers and northern pike. Wipers are a blast, but require some research and a few important skills to catch. Because there are not a ton of lakes and reservoirs that hold these guys, it is important to do your research and pick your location based on recent reports. Once there, you can blind cast for them, which makes knowing how to double haul extremely useful. Our favorite way is to sight fish for them, watching for nervous water and or boiling baitfish. Clouser minnows and bucktail streamers are effective wiper patterns to fish. Between the research, double haul and larger size that they grow to, this is great for the advanced angler. Northern pike are another excellent choice for the advanced angler in search of a different species to catch. They can be caught by blind casting, but the most effective and again our favorite approach, is to walk the banks and look for them cruising by. This tactic requires quick reaction time and a flawless double haul to get out in front of the pike before it's too late. A toothy critter leader is important to have, as their teeth will cut through most any mono or fluro line. Throw your biggest and ugliest streamers, as one hook up usually is all a fly will have in it before destroyed from their teeth.

Get out there and give one of these species a shot. While trout fishing on the fly will always remain a staple and will call us to the river time and again, do not limit yourself and sharpen your skills by stretching them.

Visit us online at The Flyfisher Guide Service to book your next guided trip, follow the fishing reports, or check out Angling University for information on upcoming classes!

Our guides have been out fishing a number of our creeks and rivers here in Colorado. Check out the latest Colorado Fly Fishing Reports at Cheesman Canyon and other productive rivers!

For questions or information on summer fly fishing email me at

From our water to yours,

Shawn Ash
The Flyfisher Group


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