Most all rivers in Colorado have peaked in flow now and are leveling off, or dropping. The South Platte below Spinney has now dropped below 300 cfs and should now start to fish well. It has been somewhat inconsistant with high water flows, however, scuds and red or brown San Juan Worms with Barr's Emerger droppers have been working at times. The other sections of the Platte are just as inconsistant with Eleven Mile Canyon running 325 cfs and crowded to the Deckers area being somewhat higher at 700 cfs. All these stretches should start to drop some over the next week, providing excellent opportunities. Antero and Spinney continue to fish off the chart with the cooler weather prevailing and keeping fish happy. Wind has been a problem on some days such as last Sunday when afternoon winds in South Park sent everyone scurrying for the bar in Hartsel. A Hartsel Cafe cheeseburger is worth the price of having to leave the lake to say the least. Thirty and forty fish days have not been unusual on Antero, with Spinney lagging a little behind that. Lots of different flies are working, from green Copper Johns in a #14, #14 bead head Pheasant Tails, Callibaetis nymphs, Halfback nymphs, Damsel nymphs and Woolly Buggers. Fish are holding on top of weed beds in water from 5 feet deep to 12 feet deep. This may be the best couple of weeks I've ever seen at Antero. If you're willing to put up with the morons getting into fist fights at the boat ramp on the south shoreline, then get up there, because this outrageous stuff won't last much longer. The fish will wise up from the pressure and then it will take a little skill to catch them. That should pretty much do in the bait fishermen.
The most surprising water of all is the Arkansas right now. It is very, very easy to catch lots of fish along the edges using nothing but dry flies. We have again cleared with high water just like last year. #10 Yellow Stimulators and PMXs for the Golden Stones, #16 Yellow Sallies and Yellow Stimulators for the Yellow Sallies, and #16 Elk Hair Caddis for the Caddis that are continuing to hatch. Thrown in a Yellow Humpy, Renegade, and a variety of adult Caddis patterns and you can have a 40 fish day by simply working grass outcoppings and rocky shorelines. The water is down to 1600 cfs and continues to drop daily. We have clarity down to around four feet in most places which give you plenty of clear water along edges to fish. The water is still on the high side and wading should be limited to working upstream along shorelines, but the day is soon coming when the water will even be more manageable. I expect conditions to be superb this weekend. If you've got a few days off right now, fishing is the easiest of the year and I include the spring hatches in that statement.
A good way to attack this high, clear water is with a hopper/dropper rig. Choose a boyant big dry fly like a #10 Hi Vis PMX and drop a piece of 5X fluorocarbon off the hook bend with an attractor bead head nymph such as a Silver Ice or Gold Ice. Make the dropper tippet about twenty inches long and place a #6 split shot about 8 inches above the nymph to make it drop down in the water column a little deeper. If you make the dropper too long then you may begin to pick up submerged debris from runoff. The river will be back in it's main channel in a few days and then you can lengthen the dropper if you wish. Right now, you may still be fishing over submerged shoreline. When wading along watch out for roots and little Beaver bungees that will trip you if you're not careful. I went down twice in about 10 feet the other day. I'm glad I was by myself and no one saw it......just a typical old man stunt.