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RBC — The fishing might be good, it might not be. Either way, an outing to the high country is its own reward, and with the heat of summer descending on the lowlands, the time or visiting some Alpine gem is at hand.
With summer prevailing in the city, the high country is calling out to Colorado anglers.
Alpine lakes dot mountain ranges across the state, and virtually all finally are free of ice. Some are readily accessible; some require considerable walking, almost all of it uphill in rarified mountain air. All are in spectacular settings and many support populations of native cutthroat trout, usually replenished by the stocking efforts of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
High-lake fishing often is temperamental, either hot or cold with little in between. A lake might appear lifeless – then suddenly come alive with rising trout dimpling the surface like so many mountain raindrops. An angler seemingly can do no wrong — then just as suddenly as it started, the activity stops. The lake once again is lifeless.
The time also is right for stream fishermen, who have endured a prolonged runoff across much of the state. Flows are steadily dropping and rivers are clearing. Summertime insect hatches, including caddis, pale-morning-dun mayflies, Yellow Sally stoneflies and green drakes, largest of the mayflies, have appeared on many rivers. Trico mayflies, a signature hatch on several streams, should be hatching soon.
Lake fishermen, meanwhile, are finding their best activity early and late in the day, a pattern likely to continue through the summer.
Warm-water enthusiasts enjoy fairly good fishing for bass. Catfish are on the move in the evenings, and wipers soon will be chasing young-of-the-year shad on a number of eastern-Colorado impoundments.
Rio Blanco Lake — Fishermen still are catching some small northern pike on black-and-white spoons, and crappie and bass on jigs and spinners. Buzzbaits have been taking some larger bass. Black flies are bothersome; bring plenty of repellent.
Roaring Fork River — The Roaring Fork is running at 2,770 cfs through Basalt and 300 cfs in Aspen. The river is beginning to clear and is very fishable around Aspen and between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Drakes are being seen during an evening hatch, as well as caddis and PMDs throughout the river system. Hot flies include stoneflies, RS-2s, Flashtail Eggs, STDs and San Juan Worms.
Trappers Lake — Fishing has been quite good, especially for fishermen in float tubes or other small boats. Dry flies and emergers fished a little below the surface have been effective. Blue-wing-olive, mosquito, Parachute Adams and black gnat patterns have been working well. Fishermen may use only artificial flies or lures. The limit on cutthroats is two fish. All cutts longer than 11 inches must immediately be returned to the water alive. Fishermen are encouraged to keep all the brook trout they catch.
White River — The river keeps dropping, and on Monday was flowing at 757 cfs below Meeker. Though still higher than in recent years, the water has been fishably clear. Bead-head nymphs including Copper Johns have been the most consistent, but anglers also have been getting some action on dry flies. Parachute Adams, Elk-Hair-Caddis and brown mayfly patterns have been especially effective. As a rule, the higher on the river, the better the conditions.