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Middle Park spring stoneflies

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I want to try and [wade] fish the Parshall-Kremmling stonefly hatch next spring. Everyone from Pat Dorsey on says it's great, if you can catch it, and yes, I know it frequently comes at high water. Have any buzzard been successful at doing that, and willing to talk about it.

What is the direction of the hatch (e.g. Does it start at Kremmling and work its way up river, or at Byers and work its way down)?

Is there a gauge I can watch for water temp, and what temp should I trigger on?

Does the Williams Fork also see a hatch, or is the water too cold?

How about the lower Upper C (rancho rio on down)? I've rowed and fished Pumphouse down during runoff, but not from say, the new ramp at Horse Creek down.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He's one of the guys that got me interested in it. But I already know how to miss it, no problem doing that at all. I've fished there at a bunch of different times in May, and had no clue anything was happening, no shucks, no adults, just high water. Other people tell me the same thing. I'm thinking about hauling my camping trailer over and sitting at Hot Sulphur for a week, but which week. I did a bug survey in August, and found tons of big pteronarcys so there has to be a hatch at some point. People that have seen it say it's better than the Gunni.
 

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If you've got the trailer, I would punt on the upper C and head to the North Platte instead. I think the hatch is stronger there- and the fishing is night and day better. Camping is first rate as well. On a freestone stream, the hatch should move upriver as the water temp rises to the proper trigger point. "Should"

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The temperature that you generally look for is about 52 degrees, and ideally for at least 24 hours. For the pumphouse area you are generally looking on or around memorial day weekend on your average year. I've never fished Byers canyon during the hatch but for some reason think that it is earlier. It does usually move upstream but you have all sorts of things happening on the Colorado like the Blue which is dumping in frigid water and altering what would be the natural occurrence and movement of the hatch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree that 'generally' hatches tend to move upstream, but in Colorado you are usually talking about a fairly substantial elevation gain as well. They're fishing mayflies in Glenwood while they're still in the middle of spring skiing in Aspen.

The topography of Middle Park makes me think that may not be the case. It's flat enough the warming might be more general, plus right in the middle you have the Will Fork dumping in cooler water, depending on whatever Denver Water decides. All of which may be part of the reason it's unpredictable.

I've sort of become a Colorado fly fishing zealot. At some point in the recent past it dawned on me that there was an awful lot of good water that despite +55 years of fishing, I had never even looked at. I have a girl friend in Bozeman that tells me that attitude is idiotic, all the time.
 

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One thing lacking in Colorado is quality hatches- weak and unpredictable makes it tough to plan a trip. Our water "calls" and massive runoff can ruin the few glamour hatches we have.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sort of. I saw a caddis hatch two years ago on the Eagle that was so heavy the old highway 6 between Wolcott and Eagle was undriveable. Windshield squashed caddis are about like coating it with epoxy. It was amazing. Problem with a hatch like that is that the fish don't need anything you have to offer. Only other thing I have seen come close was a day I watched a DOW hatchery truck dump a full load of fingerlings at the base of Ruedi, right into the toilet bowl. Totally destroyed fishing on the upper Pan for a couple of weeks. The locals were so glutted they were comatose.
 

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I've been chasing the salmon fly hatch on the Upper C for years. I't really tough to predict. I'm always a day late and a dollar short. Closest so far was at pump house a few years back where I missed it by 24 hours, the salmon flies were still thick but the fish were so bloated they wouldn't eat.
You could see them in the shallows with undigested bugs hanging out of their mouths. Caught a few whitefish but the trout wouldn't play.

The best fishing is supposed to be a day or so before emergence when the nymphs are active and the fish are starting to key in. When the hatch is in full swing you see all kinds of fish but there is so much food on the water it's hard to get them to take your bug instead of the millions of real ones. These flies are huge, about the size of my little finger, over 2 1/2" long. There were so many on the bushes I first mistook them for leaves.

The hatch starts down stream in warmer water and works its way up the canyon. Things vary a lot year to year with changes in flows and weather, but the bugs only emerge for a few days on any stretch of the river. Thicker in some spots than others. After emergence they climb onto the bushes and then hang out for a week or more. By the time you get reports of the hatch it's usually over in that area.

The timing usually matches peak flow during spring runoff, so wade fishing is limited. Fishing from a raft gives better access, but peak runoff some years can be big whitewater. Fun boating but tough fishing for lack of slack water.

After the hatch you see the discarded nymph husks stuck to rock walls all along the canyon. I've seem as far downstream as Catamount, furthest I I've floated so far, but I expect they go further.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Fly Fishing Rendezvous | Think Like a Fish. Fish Like a Pro.

don't know if you guys got the invite to this, mine came from Colo troutunlimited. I plan on interrogating. One of these guys knows about it.

My plan for '16 is Parshall-Kremmling. The banks are more accessable, even at high water, it's easy to sample the whole stretch in a day, and I can cheap hunker at Hot Sulphur or spring for electricity and hot showers in Kremmling. I just have to narrow it down to something better than 'May'.
 

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I've been looking for someone to share the oars upstream of Saratoga during the Salmonfly hatch- floating is a hell of a lot better way to encounter the hatch than on foot.....

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Fly Fishing Rendezvous | Think Like a Fish. Fish Like a Pro.

don't know if you guys got the invite to this, mine came from Colo troutunlimited. I plan on interrogating. One of these guys knows about it.

My plan for '16 is Parshall-Kremmling. The banks are more accessable, even at high water, it's easy to sample the whole stretch in a day, and I can cheap hunker at Hot Sulphur or spring for electricity and hot showers in Kremmling. I just have to narrow it down to something better than 'May'.
Late May. Stay near shrubs and trees, fish will not move an inch out of their feeding lane. Put fly next to bank. Get lucky with timing. Fail and try again next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Fail and try again next year.
That pretty well describes my life in fly fishing.


And, I am very interested in sharing the oars, on a long list of trips. Henry's Fork, Gros Ventre, Snake, Smith, etc. I know lots of guys, most do not row, or if they do are quiet about it. So let us continue this discussion. I am 'retired', so in theory my schedule is flexible, but seem to always have something going on.

Maybe, possibly mtbuzz could create a forum for driftboating.
 

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The Smith is a nice float. I've done it twice in the last 6 years and it hasn't been that great for fishing for me. Did it mid June in 2006 and it was muddy, May of this year, muddy again. The only guys that did ok were the guys with spinners. But, great camp sites and fantastic scenery. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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We had about 10 guys put in for the same dates on the first one. Second one I figured we wouldn't get anything because we all had different dates, but my cousin drew one. Got real lucky on that. About 8 guys put in from our group on the second float.

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