Colorado Fishing Report – Tarryall River 6/18/06

This Flyfishing Colorado stream report starts at the end instead of the beginning.

Sunday June 18th was the end of a two day trip to the Ute Trail River Ranch for a needed rest and Colorado Fly Fishing trip.  I had fished my way back from the Ranch to the Tarryall River at the base of the Tarryall Reservoir.  There is a small stretch of public water before the private ranch fishing begins.

Weather was in the high 70’s or low 80’s.  The flow below the Reservoir was a steady 109 CFS.  The water had that gin clear quality with bottom details easily visible.  This report is about a 15 foot long by 4 foot wide by 18 to 24 inch deep run and one hour of pure enjoyment Flyfishing Colorado.

fly fishing below Tarryall Rive Dam in 2006

fly fishing below Tarryall Rive Dam in 2006


Graphic of Tarryall River run below the Dam.

I had pushed through the bushes, entered the water and assumed my casting position.  First I tried some straight upstream nymphing in the run closest to the bushes without any hookups.  Studying the fast run along the far bank, I could see medium sized rocks surrounded by moss.  The run had that fast water wave motion that on a class 4 rapids sends rafters into ecstasy.  But this fast type water is tough on fly fishermen.  I knew there had to be a few fish hiding in the moss.

Casting my three nymph rig just about where the word seam is on the graphic, I started a drift along the seam at the edge of the fast water.  Two thirds of the way to the end of the seam line, a little eight inch rainbow rolled up out of the moss and slammed my 18 grey RS2 emerger tail fly.  He rolled back off the hook and into the moss. Out of the moss, slam the fly was the fishing pace for this little run.

Over the course of an hour, I hooked up with five more fish ranging from 10 to 14 inches hiding in the moss and rocks of the fast water.  All were Colorado Rainbows except for a 14 inch brown which jumped and threw the hook.  Most of the fish took the RS2 emerger.

Here is the lesson.  When you let go of having to catch fish and fish for the pure enjoyment of fishing.  When you enjoy the fun of analyzing how to approach a stretch of water, where to assume an optimum casting position and how to make your drifts, catching fish is a bonus.

Amazing how a fifteen foot long by four foot wide stretch of water is able to offer an hour of pure relaxation and fun flyfishing colorado.

LocationTarryall River about 1/4 mile below the spillway
DateSunday 6/18/2006
CFS109 CFS and steady
Water TempsProbably in low 50s
Water ClarityClear  Visibility to 8 ft plus.
WeatherAir Temps high 70s to low 80s most of day and hot. Skies were clear and sunny. A great day to be outside fishing.
HatchesHad seen a few adams hatching was all
Patterns Used#14 BH Pheasant tail point fly.  #16 Killer Special in middle and a #18 grey RS2 emerger tail fly on 7X tippet.
Techniquesdead drifts with one of flyfishing colorado’s Hi-Viz strike indicators about 18 inches up from the point fly. (cut down for small streams)Most of time with no indicator except the leader or line as the strike indicator.
Overall Fishing RatingSix hookups from this small run ranging from 8 inches to 14 inches.  5 Colorado Rainbows and 1 brown. This stretch was an excellent producer considering the low flows and clear water quality.
Fishing ForecastFishing was good and should remain so if the flows stay up.  There are many beaver dams on the various ranches which help to produce short stretches of tailwater fisheries and maintain flow. I saw numerous wood case caddis nymphs to size 14.  My fishing partner hooked an 18 inch brown on a 20 incher stonefly nymph so some stones must still be hatching.  Most productive flies overall for me were my trusty #16 bh gr hares ear and the 18 silver ribbed grey RS2 emerger.  Also a #16 pheasant tail worked pretty good too.  I would suggest nymphs with forked tails as a good place to start.
CommentsThe Tarryall River is mostly private fishing through South Park Flyfishers.  No guide is required and  cost is generally $45 dollars a per angler per day with only two anglers allowed on stream.  From the water I saw, a day of private fishing would be worth it. Book trips in advance. Public water while scarce produced good fly fishing on nymphs.
Reported ByMarshall, Editor
Fly Fishing Colorado