The Fly: Spring Fly Fishing in Northwest Colorado

spring fly fishing in Colorado

“Miller! Miller! I need a hand with this one,” I yelled. My rod was doubled over. I knew I had the fish hooked on a size 12 San Juan worm, a good sized hook. Still its funny how a large fish in fast water tends to make you question the strength of your line or how well you tied your knots. Better play this one safe. I started following the brute downstream. I could feel the fish shaking his head to get the fly out. He ran for a submerged bush across the river. I put tension sideways to pull him away. Just then, Miller came busting through the willows. “Whatchya got man?” he asked. “Not sure yet, I think a big rainbow” I replied. All of a sudden all 18” of brilliantly colored red and olive fury went airborne and gave us the middle fin as he spit the hook. I saw him splash down and felt my line go slack. I picked my jaw up off the ground and looked at Miller… whhhaaat? As I reeled my line up, Miller said something along the lines of “Sorry bud, you’ll get the next one”.

I looked out across the lush, green meadow. A cool breeze blew by my face. In the background stood magnificent Hahn’s peak, still tipped in white snow. Birds chirped as they searched the moist ground for insects and worms; the fresh smell of spring filled my lungs as the warm sun brought everything to life. Zach, Miller, and myself had been planning and tying flies for this all week, well, actually; we had been talking about these conditions all winter. When the smaller no name creeks come back to life all the townies mope and drink beer while the bigger rivers are blown out from snow melt. For us however, this is as good as it gets. The murky water hides large, hungry trout ready to eat anything that looks remotely like food. Getting them to eat is one thing, landing them is another story. Despite missing the big one I couldn’t be mad. It’s all part of the experience.

Spring is one of my favorite times to fish in Colorado. Maybe because I’ve spent the entire winter going slowly crazy as the rivers are iced over but I want to believe it’s for other reasons as well. Spring can offer a diversity of fishing experiences. In addition to the unique smaller creek fishing, this time of year can be some of the best stillwater fishing. After the ice melts on the lake, fish move towards the shallows to feed. Typically a roll cast of no more than 15’ is required and the fish are willing to try any type of fly that comes their way. Add in some vibrant post spawning colors and you’d be hard pressed to have a bad time. Spring stillwater lake fishing is a great opportunity for beginning anglers who want to experience some success without the challenges of fishing moving water. Whether you are a total novice who wants to learn the ropes or an advanced angler who has fished all over the globe, spring offers something for everyone.