August Fly Selection
|The long, hot days of August often render many
of Colorado's "premiere" rivers unfishable most of the day because
of high water temperatures and sluggish trout; especially during the last
few drought plagued seasons. But that doesn't mean that dynamite fishing
can't be had; the angler just needs to work harder to find it. That is why
August's fly selection features 4 patterns personally picked to give you
success in your favorite high country lake.
When anglers hear the term "alpine lake," most think of a small pristine lake filled with small brookies or cutts. While that is often the case, the persistent angler often finds surprises at the end of his line -- like the 2' long rainbow a friend of mine reeled in on an alpine lake not far from Boulder last summer. While the chances of seeing a fish like that aren't very good, the enjoyment of spending a day deep in the mountains of Colorado fishing in solitude isn't a bad consolation prize.
At altitudes above 9000 feet the feeding season is short so the trout have to take every meal they can get. The height of this feeding frenzy arrives in August when the flying ants hatch and give the trout a virtual 24-hour buffet of food to snack on. While elevation and sun exposure will affect the longevity and intensity of this hatch, I have found that it often lasts up to six weeks with the trout feeding on the ants the entire time.
When fishing alpine lakes, there is usually no reason to be on the water before the sun hits the water to warm things up a bit. I like to get on the water around 10am and start with a searching wet fly pattern like the Red Ass, working the fly in "fishy" spots like the inlets/outlets and shelf lines around the lakes. Vary the retrieval rate and depth of the fly until you find the "hook up" zone. The fish will develop a cruising pattern around the lake in search of food; the key is to identify that pattern and keep your fly(s) in that zone.
The flying ants will begin to hatch midday and last all afternoon and
sometimes into the evening. Calm, windless days provide much better surface
action as the trout have an easier time locating the bugs on the water.
Colors vary from a light cinnamon to coal black and range in size from
a 10 all the way down to a 22. I like to cast my fly towards the direction
of a rise and let it sit for 8-10 seconds before giving a slight twitch
to the fly. The trout will usually take the fly in a lazy "roll"
rise as it continues in its cruising path, so it is important to set the
hook with a slow, smooth rod lift to ensure you don't set too early.
See you on the water!