Winter fly fishing on Colorado tailwaters can be outstanding and The Dream Stream is no exception. Despite the low winter flows and cool temps the fishing has been great.
With low flows (56 cfs) and frigid water (38 degrees above the barns), most of the fish will be holding in the slower, deeper pools. Approach with caution, these fish are on alert. Also, keep an eye out for fish feeding on adult midges along the bank.
When nymphing, precise presentations are required. These fish are not going to move much for such a small meal. If you find some rising fish, try a larger dry out front followed by a small midge dry or emerger. We have also had good luck throwing streamers. On sunny days start with something light. White and yellow are good choices.
Winter fishing has definitely arrived on the South Platte. Spinney has been challenging over the last few days. Spawning browns are back in the reservoir, and the resident trout are difficult (but not impossible) to catch.
The flows have dropped dramatically in the past 24 hours and the water is now down to 56 c.f.s. The fish will be found in the deeper pools close to the river bottom. BWOs and small midges are hatching on the overcast, non-windy days.
Wait for the water to heat up a bit as we have seen very little feeding activity until 11am or so. We suggest you use an attractor top fly trailed by a smaller midge pattern, size #22-24, and use fluorocarbon tippet. Streamers are also a favorite pattern of ours this time of year.
The flows on this section of the South Platte have been hovering around 140 for a few weeks now. Temperatures are very cool in the mornings leading to a delay in the withering Trico hatch. We are not seeing these bugs come off the water until around 10-11 am. On certain sections of the river you still can find fish holding in slow back eddy's slurping the spinners.
Tie on a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis trailed by a size 24 Trico Spinner and present it upstream trying your best to make the fly land within a couple feet ahead of the rising fish.
If you're nymphing during the first half of the day lead with a red San Juan worm trailed by a black RS2 or Pheasant Tail.
Fishing on the Dream Stream has been very good this week. We have plenty of water with flows at 207 cfs., which is much higher than the historical average of 120 cfs.
Early morning hours have been producing large swarms of Trico's with a mix of caddis, Midges, PMD, and even an occasional BWO - you name it and it's in the air! In the very early hours before the Trico hatch try nymphing with a brown San Juan worm trailed by a black Rs2. Surface activity has been plentiful on non-windy days. A Caddis or hopper with a Trico spinner off the back has been very productive.
Watch the take, to determine your fly selection. If the trout sips showing a full nose, put on a Trico or midge. If you see a splash tight to the bank, try a hopper or caddis. If a bump in the flow occurs, expect some weeds coming down river and clarity to diminish. If it's a sunny day don't hesitate to use 6x when dry fly fishing.
Spinney has slowed down during the bright sunny mid days. Morning and evening dry fly fishing is still excellent with Tricos and Caddis hatching pretty prolifically. Flows are currently at 223 cfs and the fish are loving it. The water is clear, so sight fishing is possible. The fish are mainly holding in the riffles and the seams of fast and slow water throughout the mornings.
When nymphing, use an attractor pattern such as a San Juan Worm or Flash Back PT up top and trail a Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail or a Purple Juju Baetis. For top water action in the morning use a double dry rig. An elk hair caddis followed by trico spinner should get the job done.
If you find yourself on the water in the evening, bang the banks and slow water behind structure with a large grass hopper.
Dream Stream is at 149 cfs with some great dry fly action in the morning and late in the evening. Late afternoon into the evening, the fish are rising to Caddis dries and Trico Spinners. When it gets windy try nymphing PMDs, Caddis, Trico emergers and stonefly patterns. 5x fluorocarbon tippet is highly recommended. Stock up on those Trico Spinners. Fish them as a dry or subsurface behind a Graphic Caddis.
Don't be discouraged if you get no action at all through the afternoon. The fish are gorging on Tricos during the morning and then sulking in the deeps until evening. If you are fishing in the afternoon focus on the fast water. If they are holding in fast water, they are eating.
WE HAVE WATER!! The flows are hovering around 150 cfs. If you're headed to the Dream there are 2 patterns you should make sure to have a heavy stock of. The Graphic Caddis and a Trico spinner have been producing most of our fish. The Trico's have been coming off around 7:30 am followed by the Caddis.
The Trico spinner is generally fished on the surface behind a larger dry however, when the spinner fall begins use that same Trico dry as a drowned Trico by using it as your tail fly on a tandem or triple nymph rig. We recommend leading with a brown san juan worm followed by a black 2 Bit Hooker, drowned Trico spinner or Graphic Caddis. From the riffles to the back eddies rising fish can be found throughout the Dream. Try a hopper dropper rig leading with an Amy's Ant and a zebra Copper John as your dropper.
Flows have been holding steady around 80 cfs for the last couple of weeks. Nymphing is still the most productive technique, however fish are rising in the hours before sunset in slow back eddies and pools.
Use 4x or 5x leaders with 5x fluorocarbon tippet. An attractor pattern such as a red San Juan Worm or Flash Back Pheasant Tail up top, trailed by a small midge pattern such as a Black Beauty, Bling Midge, or red Copper John would be a good rig to use. Caddis have been spotted on the stream and the trout are starting to key in on the dries.
Don't be afraid to put on a streamer or leech pattern and see what happens!
The flows on the Dream Stream were bumped up to 70 cfs on Thursday 4/21/16 and have remained there as of this report. The fish have been actively feeding on midges for most of the day. Early mornings before 8am have been a little slow, but once the sun warms things up the fish have been feeding like it’s their last chance to eat.
On cloudy, cooler days be ready for great dry fly fishing with your favorite adult Blue Winged Olive pattern. Most of the big lake fish have moved out of the river and back to the reservoir.
However, if you’re stealthy enough, you may still spot some trout holding in a deep pool. Try fishing a Mayer’s Mini Leech trailed by a tube midge or Radiation Baetis. If you want something a little flashier than a tube midge, try a Juju Bee in chartreuse or red. During the times when the fish are obviously feeding on the emerging insects, fish the emerging Baetis and midge together on a tandem rig.
The flows on the Dream Stream have been consistently at 65 cfs. The Rainbows are beginning to move up river from 11 mile reservoir, and we are seeing some excellent early spring fishing. Fish have been sighted paired on redds so please look before you walk in the river.
We've been seeing a lot of anglers already on the river so 5x and 6x fluorocarbon tippet and long leaders are recommended. Nymphing a double nymph rig is productive throughout the day with rising trout in slow water during the warmest parts of the afternoon.
Flow is at 62 CFS. Fishing has been consistent on the Dream with water temps in the high 30's you will see midge hatches in the afternoon. Slow and small is the name of the game in this cold weather.
Look for pods of fish rising in the slow water and fish small dries or emergers with 6x fluorocarbon and long leaders. Nymph fishing has also been great! Fish 5/6x fluorocarbon with a tandem nymph rig and remember to add weight before changing flies as most fish will be laying at the bottom of the deep pools.