North Park Fishing Report 7-21-2017
All the streams, lakes, and rivers here in North Park are fishing good! The North Platte has dropped significantly over the last week, creating some awesome walk wade opportunities! Clarity has been excellent this week, and that in combination with some afternoon cloud cover has created some awesome dry fly opportunities! The fish are still chasing some streamers as well, and when the fishing gets tough and the sun gets high, nymphing has been putting some fish to the net too. Whether you like to throw streamers, toss dries, or fish nymph rigs, now is a great time to experience it all here in North Park!
The meadow streams are clear providing decent fishing conditions. Ranchers have been starting to cut hay fields across the whole valley over the last week or so, and have turned many irrigation ditches off. The flows are starting to get a little low on some of the streams like the Michigan and Canadian, but the North Fork, Roaring Fork, and many others still have plenty of water coming down. Worms, leeches, and large stonefly patterns are still producing fish underneath, but fish are starting to look up on the meadow streams as well. Caddis, PMDs, and Yellow Sallies, have been coming off consistently, and fish are starting to eat hoppers as well! With fields being hayed across the valley, the fish will also be looking for mice as well. Hunting around the banks right before and into the dark can produce some explosive eats and monster fish!
The North Platte has reached the end of float season. However, that means its getting down to levels that are conductive for wade fishing! The fish have been moving away from the banks, and moving more into pocket water throughout the canyon. From here on out fishing on the North Platte should be awesome! Look out for PMDs, Green Drakes, Yellow Sallies, Golden Stone’s, and Caddis.
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 now that the river has peaked and is coming 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. The dry fly fishing has been awesome throughout the valley stretch as well, and when some afternoon cloud cover rolls in, the fishing can be great! PMDs and Caddis have been the bug of choice, but when fish are refusing them, a big hopper has usually gotten the job done. 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 continuing to fish well. There is still good numbers of chironomids but callibaetis, sedge caddis, and damsels have started coming off as well. Trout feed on these hatches heavily this time of year with the abundance of food coming off of the weed beds. While fishing the chironomid hatch it is very important you find the depth at which the trout are feeding. Try pairing callibaetis and damsel nymphs in tandem with chironomids. Once the callibaetis and damsel hatches really get going the fish will start to key in on them on the surface as well. Good Luck!
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. 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. 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
Most, if not all of the high mountain lakes are open and accessible. Fish are usually looking up this time of year, and ants, beetles, and spiders will be on the menu. 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. Fishing in the high country is generally best in July and August.