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Ice-Out Conditions!
April 4, 2017

Spring has sprung on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison, and the fishing is already getting good! Temps are in the 40s and some 50s during the day, but the nights have still been cold with temps in the 20s. A light snow is on the ground almost every morning. Seems as if the best window is during the warmest part of the day between 12 and 3pm, and then it tapers off.

As the deer and elk are enjoying fresh sprigs of grass, the trout are feeding on the new bug life beginning to drift down the riffles. The fish are hungry, and the rainbows are spawning. These conditions make a great combo of big bugs and egg patterns like golden stones and rubber legs. Sunday was a great afternoon with all rainbows on the eggs every time ... yellow and peach egg patterns.

The water is holding its flow around 145 CFS. It’s a little off color, which is also helping to get a little closer to the hole. Be sure to fish well below the hole as you approach. Lot of fish are also holding in the riffles. These areas make for a good time to use small midge patterns. Double nymph rigs are good, but you will need to add some weight to get it on the bottom. In the upcoming weeks the water will rise and turn even more off color. Temps are expected to rise, we just don’t know when.

Hensen Creek will be a bit slow, but the water is cold and that’s normal. Fishing with the double nymph rig would be the best choice. Smaller golden stones, black UV midge, fireflies, and copper johns work well to name a few. The gate at Nellie Creek is closed to vehicles, but the river is mostly open up to that point. 

Cebolla is flowing but access is a problem. Deer Lakes Road (CR870) is still closed, and Oleo ranch road has too much snow.

Big Blue Creek has no access.

The Rio Grande and the Gunnison are both open but don’t have much to go on right now. However, on warm days, we are seeing small hatches.

Lake San Crystobal is still frozen but the edges are getting thin. It is almost time to get out there and go for the Big Macks. When the ice is pulled back from the edge, a technique used sometimes is to throw your bait out on the ice and then pull it off quickly. When it sinks just off the edge like that, it gets attention. Others use big spoons with or without cut bait on the hook. The second week in March, a young man caught a Mackinac just under the ice that was 27” long. I think his smile was the same size.

That’s all for now but be sure to check us out on Facebook at The Sportsman Outdoors & Fly Shop.

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