North Park Fishing Report 9-18-2017
Fall is in the air here in the Colorado Rockies. Soon the leaves will start to change and the Colorado hillsides will be glowing with vibrant colors. The best part about fly fishing is that trout live in beautiful places and September in our great state is about as good as it gets. The beginning of fall always brings prolific insect hatches and the brown trout start to get an attitude as their yearly spawn is getting closer and closer. The next month or so will be awesome here in North Park so get up here and enjoy it!
Over the past week fishing here in the valley has been good, colder temps and a few rainy days have the trout out searching for food. Currently the trico hatch is still happening up along the North Platte and fishing in the”North Gate Canyon” stretch has been very good. The action in the valley’s meadow stream has been picking back up with flows raising a bit but cold nights have been making early morning fishing a little slower. The local lakes here in the valley have been fishing well lately with more bug activity than the past couple weeks. Terrestrials and streamers seem to be the way to go in early mornings and later in the evening. During the day the fish are still down low so indicator rigs have been producing the best numbers.
The meadow streams have been a little tough the past couple weeks with the warm weather and sunny days. Water levels have improved over the last few days and will hopefully continue to do so. Cooler nights have pushed back the prime feeding times to a little later in the morning though as the water temps rise. This time of year the fishing is very technical with lower flows so you need to be stealthy and hunt them. The fish are holding tight to cover and in cut-banks. For the best action walk softly, use 10-12 ft. leaders, and make longer cast reaching out to the fish without spooking them. Terrestrials such as spiders, ants, beetles, bee’s, and hoppers can all do the trick.
The Platte is at a level in which you can wade fish easily. The fish have staged themselves into the deeper troughs, riffle runs, and pocket water. The Trico hatch is in full swing and fishing has been very good. The best action is usually in the morning but on cloudy days the BWO’s have come off and the fishing continues to be good all afternoon. Aside from Tricos and BWOs, fishing a hopper dropper has been producing fish, and nymphing down deep is always a good option in the canyon as well. From here on out fishing on the North Platte should be awesome! Look out for PMDs, Yellow Sallies, Red Quill’s, Blue Winged Olive’s, Caddis and Trico’s.
The flows are getting better slowly and fishing can still be tough but the fish are still there eating you just have to be more stealthy and try to present your flies from further distance than normal. The dry fly fishing has been our go to throughout the valley stretch and when some afternoon cloud cover rolls in, the fishing can be great! Hoppers, Ant’s and Beetles are producing fish, but the trico hatch is here along with BWO’s and Caddis, creating some awesome technical dry fly fishing!
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.
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 continuing to fish well, but can become slow throughout the middle of the day with high temps and no clouds. Getting off the bank in some sort of boat has been the key to finding fish. Running an indicator rig with chironomids, callibaetis, or damsel nymphs down deep over the top of weedbeds has been producing some fish, and going deep with a full sink line and a leech has been putting some fish in the net as well. Terrestrial season is also upon us. Try stalking the banks with an ant, beetle, or hopper pattern casting to cruising fish. This is a great way to get fish mid day and on hot days when the bug activity is slow. The night bite has been good as well, and slowly striping large streamers and crayfish along the bottom has been producing some very nice fish! Good Luck!
For those wanting 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. Callibaetis #12-16, Scuds #12 – #16 in tan, olive, pink, and orange. Chironomids #12 to #16 in black, olive, and red. Damsel Nymphs #10-12. 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.
High Country Lakes and Streams
Some access can be tough with all the beetle killed trees falling across the trail so be prepared for that. If you plan to hit a trail-head to some of the high mountain lakes be sure to call the Forest Service to make sure the trail is open. The fishing is super good on all the high mountain lakes through the month of September. Hoppers, ants and beetles are usually all you need but if that’s not getting it done try stripping a small leech or scud pattern. The weather is already starting to change in the high county, so be sure to get in soon before the season is over!