Our summer weather pattern has arrived and the fish are biting well with the increase in temperatures. Given that Beaver and Continental Reservoirs are closed for repairs, the other area lakes are seeing an increase in anglers present on any given day.
Good reports are coming out of Rio Hondo Reservoir with Power Bait type presentations being the most successful. Fish are also being caught on lures such as rapalas and spoon types when fished slow.
Big Meadows Reservoir continues to produce limits of fish from the bank on the same Power Bait types. Folk from the RV park report slow to no activity trolling from a boat. Late last week Big Meadows received a nice stocking of fish so I expect things to get a little more exciting around there come July 4.
Road Canyon was also recently stocked and folks are catching nice limits of fish when fishing off the bottom with prepared bait.
Rio Grande Reservoir fishing is reported as very good this past week. Anglers in boats report limits of nice fat summer trout and the lake is full of water this year. It’s a long and bumpy drive to the lake but anglers are rewarded not only with fish but also a wondrous view of the Continental Divide which surrounds the lake. Trolling spinner and flasher rigs with worms on the hooks is working well there as the fish are hungry.
Stream fishing is picking up also. The Salmon Fly hatch is moving up toward Creede and nice fish are coming to the net up and down the Rio Grande as the river clears. It’s still running full and difficult to wade.
Last weekend saw a huge number of anglers drifting the river in a variety of boats. It was so busy it looked like they might have to install traffic signals on the River. All that is good for the area economy and there is river aplenty for all to enjoy.
The South Fork River is producing fish but most seem to be stocker Rainbow Trout that have escaped the area Reservoirs. It’s fast and muddy in some places and with the snow pack up on Park Creek, it will be some time before it clears and lowers measurably.
The other area creeks are hopping with activity on smaller Brook Trout if you have the physical stamina to get into the areas where these are prevalent. Often, you can catch some right from the road at places where these small creeks cross a logging road so don't pass up the opportunity to put a few of these in a skillet this summer.
The fishing the last two years has been excellent and if no major fire related runoff occurs, it should be the same this year. While some places like Hope Creek seem devoid of any fish due to the fire, others remain untouched and are waiting for anxious anglers to enjoy their bounty.
If you want to catch fish for the table I would encourage you to visit the area lakes and feel free to keep your limit from those waters. For stream fishing, try and practice catch and release as much as possible to keep the numbers of fish high in those areas.
There is nothing quite as exciting as watching a dry fly being engulfed by a fat Brookie in a tiny pool. Even though they often don't grow more than 8 inches in length due to short seasons in the high country, they are thrilling to catch and the colors on them are a wonder of nature.
Some folks have told me they would like to have an entry level fly fishing lesson for their spouse, kids or mother-in-law. Thanks to the folks at Aspen Ridge RV Park in South Fork, I will be offering lessons designed to make fly fishing easier, more accessible, affordable and successful. My goal is to encourage people to fall in love with this area so they return again and again. Anglers staying at the park also get a discount on their stay if they sign up for lessons. Call the park or email me if you would like more information.
So, grab your rods and get ready for a great summer season of fishing, picnics and hikes as this is sure to be a banner year fishing the Valley.