Lower Blue River
The most popular fly fishing stretch of the Blue River is the tail water section below Lake Dillon. This section, flowing through the town of Silverthorne, is designated Gold Medal water by the state. Here, trout over 25-inches are often seen, but rarely are they landed. This is one of only three tail waters in the whole state that has a high protein crustacean known as the mysis shrimp (Frying Pan and Taylor Rivers are the two others). Mysis shrimp tumble through the river from the dam offering Blue River trout an easy meal. They are the key ingredient to growing massive sized trout, and flies imitating them are a must for any Blue River angler. Besides mysis shrimp, tiny midge imitations are great standbys. These can be painfully small offerings, with sizes #20 -#24 being the norm. A good pair of magnifying glasses can make a world of difference when rigging up.
A few times a year, the Blue River sheds her fickle attitude and graces anglers with exceptional Colorado dry fly fishing. The Blue Wing Olive hatch that typically occurs during April and May afternoons, and then again in early September can be magical. Blue River fly fishing hits its peak towards the middle of summer, when the trophy trout shed their weary manner and turn their attention to the surface as the Green Drakes arrive. When the Drakes come off, the Blue River is by far the place to be. Fish seem to come out of their secret lairs to feed greedily on the largest mayfly species found in Colorado.
As the river flows to the north, Blue River fly fishing jumps between a mix of both public and private access. The river here transforms into a typical free stone style river. Highway 9 parallels the river and offers numerous public pullouts for Blue river fly fishing, including the Eagles Nest, the Sutton Unit, and the Blue River Campground accesses. This can be a very fickle stretch of river with one day offering epic fishing, and the next day being completely dead. The Blue continues north and fills Green Mountain Reservoir. The inlet can have fantastic hatches because the frigid tail water temperatures are given time to warm. This is also one of the areas that the ice comes off of Green Mountain Reservoir first, making hungry trout flock to this area by the thousands. The inlet is also a popular choice for targeting the Kokanee salmon when they begin their annual run up the Blue.
The tailwater section of the Blue River is highly technical fly fishing at its finest. Stealthy presentations and perfect drifts are an absolute necessity to fool these highly pressured fish. Small flies (size-20 - 24) and small tippets (6X, 7X) are fly tackle musts. The banks of this Gold Medal river are lined with factory outlet stores which can result in hordes of crowds. Due to the angling pressure, a stealthy approach is key. All of the water inside the Silverthorne city limits is open to the public, exccept for a very small section right below the dam for Lake Dillon. This section is catch-and-release only and requires anglers to use flies and lures exclusively.
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