Our Fishing Staff Knows!
Here comes Fall! The official start of Fall usually will usually bring in a cool burst of weather, but it won't last -- in fact, a little precipitation up high can stimulate fish and hatches up Rocky Mountain national Park, raising streamflows and moving sulking fish out into the riffles to slam dry flies. We also seen a minor lowering of streamflows on the Big Thompson below Lake Estes as well, which seems to have kick-started the Autumn baetis and midge hatches. Indian Summer in the Estes valley is the season the guides live for, with good reason.
The centerpiece fly fishing venue of the area, Rocky Mt. National Park, has been very productive for the last two weeks. RMNP streams are in prime -- if thin -- condition for much of their structure for the Dry Fly angler.
Our World-class small stream fishing in the park is something not to be missed. Water such as the Upper Thompson, Fall and St. Vrain Rivers, and the fast-flowing Glacier Creek below Bear Lake are all excellent venues for the angler looking to experience classic high mountain stream fishing. Heavily dressed parachute patterns and small foam bodied terrestrials can all be fished to good effect in small pockets with aggressive drift control. Getting your rod tip up over your flies as they swing though your target water is the key to success in these waters.
Fly fishing in the lower Estes valley for last two weeks has been very strong. Insect hatch activity -- especially smaller Mayflies and Midges -- has been consistently heavy in the lower valley streams, with accompanying trout feeding displays. EPMS guided groups have been having excellent success on the Big Thompson and North Fork of the Big Thompson rivers, with some larger specimens even being caught on film before release!
Flows on the Tailwaters of the Lower Big Thompson downstream of Estes Park are now below 40cfs, allowing great drifts in long shallow riffles when the feed is on. Nymphing on the Lower Big T has been the ticket during the midday feeding segment (9am to 3pm), with Tungsten beadheads on point above unweighted emergers and nymph droppers getting great response Lighter Flourocarbon tippets down to 6x - especially on droppers -- are required in the lower, clear water as well. Technical rigging for both pattern and depth will serve the Tailwater afficionado well in the Trophy Trout water immediately below the Olympus Dam behind the shop. The largest trout in the valley live within easy walking distance of EPMS. For those interested in fishing Dry Flies, smaller Mayfly and Stonefly adults like Yellow Sallies are now on the menu, with smallish emergers fished "damp" in the surface film as droppers about 12" below the indicator point flies.
Also, in the evenings on the Thompson, don't hesitate to try a weightier streamer pattern like a Conehead Wooley Bugger or Zonker fished down and cross current. Our minority population of Brown trout are very predatory, and the larger males patrol the banks searching for fingerlings in low light conditions. Brown Trout are now entering the Fall spawning season, and are especially aggressive in defending both spawning beds and holding water. Be sure to use heavy leaders of at least 3x, as the strikes can be vicious on a downstream take! Also, please be aware and avoid wading in any Redds with potential eggs in open gravelly sections -- he egg you don't crush today might be your trophy in five years!
Lakes in RMNP are fully open to the highest elevations, and we've been receiving recent reports of excellent fishing with small Midge or Terrestrial patterns hung in the surface films at the end of long 6x leaders of up to 12'. Trail approaches and September weather in general had been dry for the most part, but our high mountain weather can be unpredictable in Fall, so anglers wishing to venture up high should be well equipped to deal with full conditions, including freezing rain and snow.
If you are a fisherman, now is a great time to visit the Estes valley! Stop in the shop -- our friendly staff will be more than happy to answer your questions about conditions, and of course, we maintain a fully stocked fishing shop for all your gear needs. With late retail shop hours for the after dinner fisherman, EMPS also is the only guide service in the Estes Valley that guides the Evening Hatch segment of the day, getting off the water at dusk. If you are new to the area, feel free to book a guided day out with one of our experienced guides -- they will enthusiastically show you how to fish the Estes Valley the way the locals do!
The Guide Staff at EPMS