Colorado fly fishing in May can be tricky thanks to inconsistent weather patterns and runoff, but well worth it if you have a few good tricks up your sleeve, and in your fly box. Here are a few pieces of advice and things to look out for in the Crested Butte Gunnison area if you want to make the most out of your time on the water this spring.
How Spring Weather Affects Colorado Fly Fishing
Springtime is upon us, and we are all trying to determine when runoff is going to begin in the Gunnison and Crested Butte areas. After a few weeks of seasonal back-and-forth transitions, from warm sunshine to cold snowfall, anglers as well as the trout are constantly battling the changing conditions of water dynamics and insect presence. The recent inconsistency has left many anglers scratching their heads wondering how to gain more productivity on the water!
How to Maximize Your Productivity on the Water
With runoff beginning, the likes of BWO’s and Caddis will begin to emerge on more of a regular basis. Stoneflies will not be far behind as we trend towards peak runoff. Fishing will be tough for walk wade trips on the larger rivers during high water, so the best pursuits will be from a boat, or wading the smaller creeks. Eleven Angling has professional and experienced guides, as well as high-caliber water access to provide guests with gripping opportunities throughout this spring phase. It’s a great chance to get on the river to enjoy some great Colorado fly fishing while the crowds are light and the fish are eager to begin their summer feeding routine.
What Bugs to Throw This Time of Year
For the DIY angler, look for fish in the faster runs and riffles, in addition to the seams between the slow current and main channels. If you notice fish feeding on the surface, try throwing an adult BWO or Midge imitation. Most of our success fly fishing Colorado in the spring season has been found during the midday heat, nymphing and streamer fishing with patterns such as:
- Pheasant Tail 14-20
- Copper John 14-20
- Caddis Pupa 14-18
- BWO Nymph 16-20
- RS2 18-22
- Pat’s Rubberleg 8-12
- Baby Gonga 8
- Sculpzilla 4-8
When to Be Careful with Water Levels
Be cautious of high water if you plan to walk wade the big rivers around Crested Butte and Gunnison CO. This will fluctuate throughout the day and will sweep large debris downriver that can be dangerous to anglers and other recreation users. Check out these river gauges to monitor the flows and mitigate risk.
Give us a call to learn more about our guided fishing options around the Gunnison and Crested Butte areas!
Elliot Manning 5/2/22