Ol’ Dumb Outlet Bows and the start of runoff!
Article: Jason Paez
Photos: Jon Loether

If you fish in Colorado and have spent time on the various rivers, then you know the tail waters always seem to have the big boys. The blue river is no exception except they aren’t always the smartest on the block. This has been a result of the savvier trout (over 30” mind you) being slowly lost to old age and bad fishing practices, especially people that don’t partake in catch and release. Sad, but there is hope. The Blue was recently stocked with some decent size fish…not monsters, but fun! They also haven’t figured out all the tricks yet used by the hordes of anglers that descend on this small stretch of urban fishing with a Rocky Mountain backdrop!

This past weekend we decided to hit the Blue to sort of get our fix in before we are left with the harder fishing of spring runoff [Read Below for Spring Runoff Tips]. We worked from the Dam down through the outlets. I found myself testing some euro jig rainbow warriors I had tied the night before. We caught a couple off these flies before I looked down river and saw the rest of the Urban Anglers USA crew just crushing it on streamers. Streamers?? You might ask. Yep, middle of the day, no clouds, but the temperatures were still cool and the fish were hungry. As I stated earlier they were also not seasoned fish and if you hit the Blue right this can be fun! We chucked various patterns and some were more successful than others. Hit the banks and retrieved across the water holding fish almost always resulted in a great catch! Shortened leaders, 5wts, and articulated patterns did the trick!

While the Blue is known for mysis, and anglers almost always rig up with typical bobber, mysis, squirmy worms, eggs, etc. it is much more fun to throw big streamers and watch the chase! Try it and mix it up because it is a good precursor to fishing tactics used during the higher flows and muddy waters of runoff.

As runoff approaches try some of these tips to stay on the water and have success:

  • Hit the banks! Fish won’t be trying to fight the heavier currents out in the middle.
  • Work all the structures. Don’t cast right behind a rock but look a little further behind the rock where the water isn’t churning as much and the food is forced to the trout and the fish don’t have to work as hard. Hit the soft water and foam lines, fish like the breaks but still have protection and sources of food.
  • Bigger is better. Patterns that are big create a silhouette that will be more tempting for a trout to expend energy in the faster currents. Time of small flies has gone but don’t worry it’ll be back.
  • TRY STREAMERS! Try heavier tippet and leaders. Try bigger nymphs and big dry dropper combos. Use weight to get down into the column faster.
  • Careful wading and honestly most of the fish won’t be far from the banks so not really a need for you to fight the current either! Also, don’t forget to scout the side channels and tributaries where fish can find refuge from the roaring runoff.

Remember the fish are going to fight harder with the higher flows so a quicker release in some soft water will help them out!

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