photo: Brady McNeill

The water levels have been holding steady around 1,000 CFS for the past week in Emma, well above average for this time of year. This has kept the river cool and fishing well, thanks to a good snowpack, recent rain, and increased flows from the diversion on Independence Pass. Boats are still floating the upper river which is rare for this time of year.

The upper section of the river is in perfect shape, Woody Creek and Snowmass Canyon are seeing the most insect activity. The morning starts out with heavy midge hatches. Throughout the day there are steady hatches of beatis and sporadic hatches of PMDs (Pale Morning Duns), green drakes, and yellow sallies. Caddis activity is consistent as well. On sunny days, look for lots of caddis, PMDs and sallies; If its cloudy, beatis and drakes. Tricos will be coming on to the scene any day now, look out for blanket hatches of these miniscule bugs in the mornings.

On the lower river, the bugs are getting smaller so it’s time to downsize your flies. “tiny and shiny” is the name of the game this time of year. Strong hatches of midges and BWOs are happening daily down here. If you’re nymphing, stick to small and flashy patterns. For those of you who prefer dry flies, try caddis, terrestrials, or BWOs. The streamer bite early in the mornings is really starting to pick up down here. Book an early morning float and throw streamers for the best action on this section!


Dries: Stimulator #10-14, Ants #14-18, Amy’s Ant #12-14, Ausable Wulff #12-16, PMD Cripples #14-16, Drake Cripple #10-12, Parachute Adams #16-20, Chubby Chernoble #10-6, Foam Caddis #12-16, Elk Hair Caddis #14-16, Yellow Humpy #14-16, Sallies #18-16, Beatis Emergers #22-18, Renagade #18-14

Nymphs: Pheasant Tails #16-22, Prince #18, Green Copper John #12, Tungstone #16-18, Spanflex Stone #16, WD40 #18-22, Zebra Midge #20-22, Tubing Midge #18-22, Purple Reef Worm #18, Soft Hackle Caddis, #14-16, Foam Wing Emerger #12-22, Grey RS2 #18-22, Black Sparkle Wing RS2 #20-24, Rainbow Warrior #18-20, Hares Ear #14-18.

-Conor, Lead Fishing Guide