We fished the Colorado earlier this week and knocked out our first float of 2012. Sunny day, good company, lots of fish and most importantly my boat still floats!
We floated Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio which at this flow (550 CFS) makes for a really long but great float. We put in around 10 AM and fishing was a bit slow out of the gate from the boat ramp to the canyon, but fished really well with consistent hook ups from the Canyon Mouth below Pumhouse all the way to to the boat ramp at Rancho.
Fish are not in the fast summer time water just yet. If you fish your summer honey holes and don’t find fish, work your way to the tail outs of runs, and fish the deeper slower inside corners and bends. Regardless of whether or not your fishing from a boat or wading, be sure to get some long drifts until you dial in the right water type, depth and speed.
We caught primarily browns, some rainbows and of course Mr. Whitefish. I thought we might tie into a few more rainbows staging to spawn in the deeper water behind likely spawning areas but that wasn’t the case. The rainbows are still in the deep slow, barely moving water, browns are on the inside seams of runs and in the drop offs behind gravel bars and other notable structure. Whitefish are everywhere.
Pretty strong midge hatch Size #18 in the morning and some BWO’s mixed in. We fished bugs for a little bit, but it became pretty obvious that these fish wanted to eat junk. The go-to rig was an 8mm troutbead (chartreause & glow row), #8 coffee/Black Rubberlegs and a #18 flashtail pink San Juan. When fish are on the feed like they were today, fly selection isn’t super critical but it won’t be long before the fish start keying in on certain hatches. Make sure you bring the junk flies, but don’t be unarmed without a little bit of Colorado River tech. This means #18-20 tungsten jujubeatis, 18-20 soft hackle PT’s, #18 black beauty emergers and any of your other favorite spring midge @ baetis patterns.
Wade Fishing tips
If you plan on wade fishing, I would suggest fishing downstream of Pumphoue between statebridge and radium in the morning and head up to Pumhouse later in the day once the water warms.
Float Fishing Tips
If you have a raft, this float is a walk in the park at these flows. If you are in a driftboat, be prepared to make some moves and bang a few rocks. No matter what you’re floating in, I would suggest shorter floats until water levels pass 800CFS. The shorter float allows you to really work the water instead of having to push through some water or leave goods spots so that you make it to the take out at a reasonable hour. Try floating Radium to Rancho or Rancho to Statebridge. Also, Statebridge landing is now public so no more ridiculous fees to take out there! If you decide to float Pumphouse to radium be sure to get out of the boat often and do some wade fishing so you really work the likely spots.