The Yampa River has been consistently holding around 100 CFS. This is good news, as the past few years have not reflected such appropriate flow at this point in the season. We had a bit of a scare last week with flows dropping below the minimum level for public town fishing to stay open. However, due to an abundance of water this year, Stagecoach Reservoir has had plenty for late releasing. Seems as quickly as town fishing was closed, it was reopened. I doubt we have another closure with cooler evening temperatures starting this coming week. Despite daytime highs and river flow, dissolved oxygen content should remain stable for the duration of the season. Fingers crossed.
High water this spring made the dry fly fishing interesting in the sense of too much water to capitalize. Our early blue winged olive hatches, our PMD and yellow sally season ,and even our green drakes, were all nearly impossible to fish appropriately. As a fishing community of course we loved having all the water, but it truly did put a hurting on our surface fish-ability. The flip-side to this coin is that we are now enjoying remarkable dry fly fishing with our later season hatches. Trico hatches this season have been seemingly banner numbers. I am seeing thick hatches still from the upper Yampa above stage coach, through Pleasant Valley, in town and all the way down to the lower Yampa past the confluence of the Elk.
While this time of year often only provides surface activity to those willing to play the micro Trico spinner game for a 2 to 3 hour window in the late morning, this fall is different. We have enough water for other hatches to show themselves this year. Blue winged olives have been popping sporadically on cloudy days, a bit early in the season. We always expect to see them late September and through October however they, among others, are gracing us with their presence already.
The Sarvis Creek area in Pleasant Valley, and even down through town as well, has had a great Brown drake showing this summer. Cloud cover helps, as does a little luck. These bugs are not popping every day, but most early afternoons with cloud cover persuade an emergence of these true size 14 brown mayflies. These drinks have been a very pleasant surprise this season and the fish are absolutely on them.
Other insects have also been more abundant this year. I have been seeing a lot of large flying ants on the Yampa the last couple of weeks. Throw your ants late morning And into the afternoon to double as a Trico cluster as well. Grasshoppers are fishing tremendously well right now. The valley dried up and turned brown in the last couple of weeks. This pushes a lot of the hoppers to the only green grass left, the stuff on the river banks.
Slightly cooler nights may slow morning hopper activity, but the fish have been looking for them earlier and earlier. Throw the hopper, it’s really getting good now. As we get further into the hopper season, fish become educated to the typical color schemes. If you have ever wondered what the heck a purple hopper a pink hopper and a bright orange hopper are doing in every fly shop… Now is the time to try them. Non-traditional colors tend to move larger fish later and later in the season. Because hoppers do not change their colors in the fall, I’m going to assume this is simply from pressure. When they’ve been beat to death with the yellows and the tans, throw the weird stuff. Streamers have been picking up with the fall bite just around the corner.
Working streamers deep in the a.m. before the tricos show up is a great way to move a big fish or two before the surface bite turns on. I expect the cold pop coming next week to not only get the mahoganies going, but also kick that streamer bite into high gear. Get ready for the fall bite is just around the corner!
Tight lines !