Summer fly-fishing adventures

By Brandon

Howdy friends!  Brandon here with another installment of The Fly Blog.  To the loyal fans of this humble periodical (both of you), I apologize for the time that has passed since my last posting.  I can only imagine the lengths to which you must have gone to fill your time in the absence of my musings.  I suppose my best excuse is that we’ve just been so busy having a blast with our ranch guests on the water that I’ve neglected to share it with everyone.

As I now type, a raucous late-summer storm is pelting the fly shop’s roof with hail and raindrops that appear large enough to each fill a shot glass.  It’s another in a string of rather refreshing storms we’ve been getting over the past couple weeks here.  Not enough to slow us down or dampen spirits, but enough to keep both dude ranchers and fish happy.

So let’s get caught up on the fishing…  As some of the nearby lakes and early-season hot spots began to taper off by late June, the Elk River heated up right on cue; and if I’m being honest I’d admit that I was sweating it a little bit.  Springtime rapids mellowed nicely into summer flows and fish began showing up in their predictable places.  While we waited for many of the fish to work their way back up to us – after last year’s drought conditions – Bubba and I had the opportunity to hunt out some lesser utilized fishing spots near the ranch.  Initially this was carried out to bridge the gap while awaiting the Elk River to turn on, but we came across some really good water that made for great trips and some wonderful memories along the way.  Stalking wary brook trout and cutthroats with two and three weight rods in the smaller waters of the South Fork of The Elk and the Middle Fork of the Little Snake became staple trips for us that guests looking for an adventure really enjoyed.   By mid July the Elk River was in full swing with fish feeding readily on well presented grasshopper and stonefly patterns.  In addition to The Elk and its tributaries, we’ve had a blast with some of our guests who booked private water on the Yampa River and the North Fork of the North Platte through our association with The Rocky Mountain Angling Club.  Some truly exceptional trips and a chance to get out on some of Colorado’s best fly fishing properties!

Terrestrial patterns (hoppers, crickets, ants and beetles) are continuing to produce for us now, well into September, but will soon give way to late season mayfly hatches as we march our way into fall.  Brown trout and brook trout are our two species that are fall spawners, as opposed to rainbows and cutthroats which spawn in the spring.  I’m looking forward to targeting some larger-than-average brookies in the high mountain lakes this fall; their spawning colorations are really something to see!

We still have about a month left of fishing this season before turning things over into a snowy vacation destination.  If the season thus far is any indicator of the remainder…bring it on!  Hope to see you soon.