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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Fishing Reports are Like Buttholes 12-18-2016

It's been a while since we've updated the old blog, so I figured the best way to jump back in this is to update you guys and gals with a fishing report! Of course, all fishing reports should be taken as they are and with a grain of salt. Not all experiences are the same, and conditions change on the drop of a dime, so it's in that spirit that we've decided to change the name of our fishing reports to the above titled - because fishing reports truly are like buttholes. Not to be confused with buttonholes, which is what the autocorrect on my computer wants to change buttholes too.

This report is going to, mostly, be about my recent experience in Elevenmile Canyon, but I'll include the flows to the other popular tailwaters, along with a little bit of advice on how I'd approach some of them. Starting with the flows...

Cheesman Canyon/Deckers - has come up to 103 cubic feet per second
Elevenmile Canyon - has dropped from around 90 cfs to 78 cfs
The Dream Stream - 56 cfs

The Arkansas below Pueblo Reservoir - 77 cfs

I was in Elevenmile Canyon a couple days ago with some clients and we experienced the craziest weather. I fully expected it to be one of those types of days where you're breaking ice off of your guides every 3-4 drifts, but as we left the Springs it changed from a balmy 17 degrees to 50 degrees! You read this right. A 30 degree rise in temperature as we were driving up the mountain at nine in the morning...

As we drove through the canyon we saw maybe three cars near the top. Otherwise, we had the entire place to ourselves, so we started right below the dam and there were fish rising to midges everywhere. The dry fly bite killed from 10 a.m. until almost noon. My clients landed five fish and "long distance released" a few more. Then it seemed like the windchill dropped a few degrees, the wind changed direction, and fishing turned to shit.

We fished all of my winter time confidence flies, but it didn't seem to matter. Fish were cuddled together at the bottom without a single sign of feeding behavior. We fished for two more hours and got one more fish to our feet, and that's how the day ended.

My advice? This day my clients experienced a weird one in the sense that things were all backwards. Normally, you wouldn't want to get up there too early because it takes a while for the sun to warm things up to get the midge hatch and the fish going (usually around 11-noon). On our trip I was getting the impression that we should have been there as the sun was rising. Also, you can pretty consistently catch fish on small red or black midges, and small baetis emergers, but the barometric pressure changing with this recent snow storm moving in shut our fish down. If you're paying attention you can almost feel the shift as well as the fish do when that weather blows in, and at that point you might as well find a rock to nap on, or call it a day and find the nearest coffee shop for the drive home.

Rigging for all of our tailwaters is simple - bring plenty of 6x fluorocarbon tippet, down size your weights and indicators to prevent spooking fish. Have one rod rigged with tandem small nymphs, and the other rigged with your favorite wintertime dry fly. I typically have either a size 24 Parachute Adams, or a size 24 Matt's Midge. If you're fishing the Pueblo tailwater have a few bwo specific patterns in sizes 22-24 because you can experience a great blue wing hatch even during the coldest part of January down there.

If you're fishing Deckers, have a good scud pattern, or Pat's Rubberlegs as the lead fly on your tandem nymph rig, with either a small RS-2, or small red or black midge as your dropper. A popular baetis nymph to bring is a size 18-20 Stalcup's Baetis.

In Cheesman Canyon at it's current flow really stick to deep pockets and structure. Fish will be living at the bottom of the deepest runs and pools, or directly in front of rocks. Be prepared to lose the indicator all together and move your split shot further up your leader. Set on every silly little twitch! It's rare that Cheesman fish, especially, will hit with any type of aggression and hold onto the fly for any amount of time during winter, so you have to be opportunistic with your sets and really pay attention to any signs of feeding - mouths opening or bright flashes.

And that's all we have for you! Please feel free to leave a comment and update us and the readers if you have anything more to add, or shoot an email to, and I'll be sure to pass info along as I receive it. Tight lines!   

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