Vacationland: No rush fishing on these rivers
The singular beauties of fly fishing can, in some manner, be part of every angler’s life, whether you fish with a fly, an enameled silver lure or the modest nightcrawler, which surely must be the mostused bait in fishing history.
Take any sort of fishing rod, attach any sort of bait, and although you’ll find some place in western Colorado to suit your fancy, you soon learn it is still not enough to catch a fish.
There first must be water, in sufficient flows and proper temperatures to hold fish, and this year finding that water might the biggest challenge anglers face, particularly as summer fades to autumn.
The hiss and curl of fast water breaking past your waders, testing your ability to balance against the surging pulse of liquid assets, may instead be replaced by the languid roll of current over a mossy river bed, made even more mossy by the penetrating summer sun.
The meager snowpack means many of the state’s reservoirs won’t fill again this year, leaving anglers with a long walk to the water.
And the lakes on Grand Mesa, nearly all of which hold water for agriculture in the lower valleys, may be lower this summer than you’ve seen in recent years.
Warm water temperatures and low inflows also mean elevated water temperatures, pushing fish and fishermen into places where one can find the other.
This may be the year you finally figure out how to read and use that electronic fish-finder you’ve had for several seasons.
Perhaps, too, this is the year many fish-deprived cold-water anglers will discover carp fishing, testing their skills against this abundant but difficult-to-catch fish well-deserving of its reputation as the freshwater version of bonefish.
As temperatures rise, anglers should seek out high-elevation streams and tailwater fisheries below dams, where water temperatures may be more fish-friendly.
There are many choices for both, ranging from the creeks flowing off the Flat Tops and Weminuche wilderness areas to the rivers below Taylor Park, Ruedi, Ridgway and Silverjack reservoirs, among others.
These two extremes offer different fishing situations but the wise angler consults his local guide shop before heading to new waters.