North Park Fishing Report 5-23-2017
Snow, rain, and cold temperatures roared across our valley the past week stalling run-off and adding to our snow pack. Even with the tough weather fishing the past week was very good on both the lakes and streams. With warmer weather on the horizon we expect run-off to kick in the next 5-7 days changing conditions on the moving water. For up to the minute info on stream conditions feel free to call the shop (970) 723-4215.
While the high water from the melting snow scrubs our river bottoms over the next couple weeks fishing will be best on our prolific lakes. Delaney Buttes, Lake John, Cowdrey, Slack Weiss, Seymour, Big Creek, North Michigan, Ranger, Hidden, Teal, and Tiago lakes will all provide awesome action throughout the month of June. Expect to see thick chironomid hatches accompanied by caddis, and callibaetis. Once the bugs really get going the fish cannot take it and anglers who recognize this can see big rewards. Don’t let run-off stall your angling adventures. Get up here and check out North Park’s amazing still waters.
The meadow streams always provide fishing opportunities through run-off and some of the biggest fish are landed during this 2-3 week time period. Our entire valley is flood irrigated. During irrigation ranchers pull a lot of water off the meadow streams to floods their meadows. This lowers water levels in the streams and provides opportunities to fish. Not only is this great for anglers but the fish draw huge benefits as well. The influence of irrigation helps clear and warm the water and at the same time provides the fish with tons of food and nutrients from the water that is being returned to the streams. This can be tricky to figure out but anglers willing to scout around the park can find sweet rewards. With irrigation in full swing you want to make sure to be fishing big and ugly offerings. Worms, leeches, and large stonefly patterns usually get it done as well as big ugly streamers in all colors. The fish during this time period are very happy and out on the prowl. We always like to say “Go Big or Go Home!
The North Platte is currently running high and off color and we expect it to keep rising with warmer weather and run off on the way. Usually after the river peaks and starts coming down it will start to clear and provide good fishing for floaters through North Gate canyon and down river to Saratoga. In the canyon we generally see a pretty good salmon fly hatch near the first week of June and it can provide awesome fishing. For the next 3 weeks the best fishing in the canyon will be for floaters on the river. Streamer rigs tossed to the banks will work well while the water is high and turbulent. Look for brightly colored streamers to catch their attention and trail smaller bugs behind that they feel comfortable eating. As the water starts to come down the fish will be happy to eat a variety of nymphs and dries on the banks. After the Salmon fly hatch there will be caddis, pmd’s, drakes, yellow sallies, and golden stones coming off daily giving the fish a multitude of options.
The North Platte in the valley is a totally different river. We treat it like a large meadow stream. There will be good wade fishing access on the North Platte in the valley once the river peaks and starts to come down. Look to target the back eddies and soft edges where the fish will be resting. This is a streamer fishermen’s dream as it is loaded with brown trout. Look to throw big ugly streamers in bright colors with smaller leeches and buggers as trailers. There are 2 stretches of public water on the Platte in the valley. They are Verner SWA and Brownlee SWA which are located west of town off CR 18. These two stretches are concurrent and cover about 2 miles of water. These are great SWA’s and have some very nice fish in them. Get your bugger box out and give them a shot!
FYI: North Platte Flows in North Gate Canyon (Routt Access to Pickeroon)
0-750 CFS good Wade fishing level
500-4000 Good Float/ Fishing Level
4000 and above best for Whitewater
North Platte River Flows: click here
The Delaney Lakes, Lake John, and Cowdrey are all fishing very well. Warmer weather is on its way and the midge hatches are getting better and better by the day. We expect the lakes to really heat up as we head into Memorial Day weekend. Nymphing chironomids will be the ticket for the next couple weeks. Once this hatches really gets going the fish will start to key in on them and it will be important to find the correct depth that the fish are honing in on.
For those willing to fish under an indicator, there are several different patterns you will want to have by your side… Mini leeches #8 and #10 in a variety of colors, black, wine, olive, gray, and brown. Scuds #12 – #16 in tan, olive, pink, and orange. Chironomids #14 and #16 in black, olive, and red. Water Boatmen #14 -#16. While these are not the only flies that will produce fish, it will give you a running start in the right direction. For the Streamer fanatics crayfish/crawdad season is here. Try stripping them in the shallow, rocky areas of the lakes and you may be rewarded. Other patterns that have been working well… Rubber Bugger #4 and #6 Olive and Black, Beldar buggers all colors, Thin Mints #8 and #10, and various leech patterns.
(*Side Note*) Fishing on South, and East Delaney, Cowdrey, and Lake John has been very good. If you are having a tough go on North Lake, show some love to the other lakes and you may be rewarded.
High Country Lakes and Streams
Big Creek Lake’s are wide open both lower and upper. The road to the boat ramp is also open and dry. Time to get up there and fish. Most of the other high mountain lakes are still frozen and generally don’t start to open until early June.