Colorado Fly Fishing Conditions – Rio Grande River 10/18/09

Oct 17th and 18th on the Rio Grande at the Rio Grande Club were perfect weather days. The endless Colorado blue skies, warm afternoons and water with lots of fish. I knew they were there even if I did not catch a lot. Water like this has to hold fish.

But it was difficult wading. The stretch of the Rio Grande is a lot like the Blue River where most rocks are about 18 inches around and slick. Slick was the operative word here. Even the small rocks were slick. In many rivers, you will find sand behind rocks 18 or more inches big. But not on the Rio Grande in this stretch. Finally I noticed some rocks had a pocket of smaller flat shaped rocks behind them indicating a slower flow behind the rock. Light bulb time. The smaller rocks were the equivalent of sand behind rocks in many rivers I fish. Stepping carefully into these flat rock areas made wading much easier.

Rivers without big rocks or logs to provide obvious holding areas have always been difficult for me to fish. This was no exception on Sat. the 17th. I fished a 2 nymph rig deep in the pools and deep runs. My rig was bouncing the bottom where I thought fish would be holding over the rocks. Nada for most of the first 2 hours. So I removed some weight to try the middle of the water column. Finally in the pool where the So. Fork of the Rio Grande and the North Fork merge, I had a solid double tap. Too slow on the hook set. Three drifts later, I hung and lost my rig.

Rerigging with a #16 hares ear top and a #18 pheasant tail bottom, I started up the South Fork. Dropping a cast into the first run above the pool, my drift stopped after two feet. A fiesty 15 inch bow leaped into the air and headed downstream. My new Sage 6 wt stopped him after a short run and made quick work getting him into the net. Working up the South Fork toward the railroad bridge, I fished every pool and deeper run in the stream. Finally, I hooked up with a fat little ten or 12 inch bow but overpressured him and lost him.

That was it for me on Sat. Sunday was a bit better with a couple of nice browns hooked. Fishing was slow and difficult both days.

Lessons from the Rio Grande. Wade using the flat spots of little rocks behind the bigger rocks as places to step. Wade carefully as the rocks will be slick in the fall. Use a wading staff. Use a Rio Grande AP as one of the producing nymphs. Guess that is about it.

Tight Lines and Good Fishing,
Marshall, Editor
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