Flies for Fall Fishing in Colorado – Get out while you can!!

Posted: September 27, 2010 by bluequillangler in Fishing Colorado
Tags: , , , ,

The most frequently asked questions in a fly shop is  “What flies should I have?”. This time of year it takes longer to answer this common question. Fall is one of the most exciting times of the year to go fly fishing. But it can also be one of the most challenging. Water flows are low and clear and the fish can be spooky.  But there is more going on in the fall than at any other time of the year. The river can be a “buffet” with many different offerings on the table. Mid summer hatches of Pale Morning  Duns, Red Quills, Green Drakes, and Caddis flies can still be prevalent. Morning hatches of  Trico Mayflies become a regular occurence with the Spinner Fall coming  later in the day as the days get shorter.  The reappearance of the Blue Wing Olives, especially on overcast days is a not so welcome sign that winter is just around the corner. Midge hatches that were lost  in higher water will once again become a prominent food source continuing throughout the coming winter. A few terrestrials such as hoppers, ants, and beetles may still he around but most rivers here in Colorado excluding the lower elevation streams have had their first frost so terrestrial fishing is tapering off right now.  Brown trout, Brook Trout and Whitefishwill all begin spawning soon so they are on the feed right now looking for anything to satisfy their constant hunger. Fall is the dry fly anglers paradise as the amount and variety of aquatic insects on the surface  combined with low, clear water creat ea perfect environment for trout to “risk it all ” to pluck a struggling morsel from the water’s surface.

Fall Patterns

          Patterns for fall fishing cover the broadest range of Aquatic Insects and Terrestrials. Aquatic patterns available to the trout can be a combination of Midges, Mayflies, Caddis Flies, Terrestrial, Stoneflies, Minnows, Eggs and Aquatic earthworms.  The best fishing is usually on those first overcast, nasty, days of the fall when a variety of Mayflies including Blue Wing Olives, Tiny Psuedocoleons BWO’s and Trico’s are abundant. Here is a list of recommended flies for a fantastic fall:


  • Eggs: Nuclear egg, Flash Tail Egg
  • Scuds: Olive, Orange as well as Dorsey’s UV Scud
  • Baetis Nymphs: RandySmith’s Baetis Nymph, Barr’s BWO Emerger, Sparkle Wing RS2, Mercury Baetis, Pheasant Tails ,JuJu Baetis, Mercer’s Tungsten Micro Mayfly, Black Copper Johns, Soft Hackle Pheasant Tails.
  •  Midge Larvae and Pupae: Dorsey’s Mercury Black Beauty, Dye’s Pearl Jam in Pearl, Red, Green. Dorsey’s        Mercury Midge, Dorsey’s Top Secret Midge, Dorsey’s Medallion Midge, Dorsey’s Blood Midge, Rainbow Warriors, Barr’s Pure Midge Larva in red, WD-40, Chocolate Johnny Flash, JuJube Midge, Brassies, Dorsey’s  Mercury Midge and Parrott’s Chironoflash
  • PMD Nymphs:  Pheasant Tails, Dorsey’s Mercury PMD Nymph, Barr’s PMD Emerger, Mitchell’s Split Case PMD, JuJu PMD Nymph and Bead Head Trigger Nymph.
  • Cased and free-living caddis: Dorsey’s Mercury Caddis,   Barr’s uncased Caddis, Barr’s Net Building Caddis, Barr’s Graphic Caddis.
  • Trico’s: Engle’s Drowned Trico – Black and Chartreuse, Barr’s Trico Emerger

Dry Flies:

  • BWO’s: Matthew’s  Sparkle Dun, Cannon’s Snowshoe Dun BWO, Parachute Adams, Dry Emerger Baetis, Cripples,      Sprout’s BWO Emerger, Barr’s Visa Dun BWO and A.K.‘s Olive Dun Quill.
  • Trico’s: Cannon’s Snowshoe Trico Dun, CDC Trico Dun, CDC   Trico Spinner and Barr’s Visa Dun Trico.
  • PMD’s: Cannon’s Snowshoe PMD Dun, Matthew’s Sparkle Dun PMD, Sprout’s PMD, Schmidt’s Dry Emerger PMD.
  • Caddis Flies: Peacock Caddis, Elk Hair Caddis Brown, Tan Grey, Slow Water Caddis.
  • Midges: Cannon’s Snowshoe Midge Emerger, Griffith’s Gnat, Matt’s Midge, Trailing Shuck Midge, Cannon’s Snowshoe     Midge Cluster. 

Attractors, Hoppers, Ants, Beetles:

  • Amy’s Ant, Dave’s Hopper, Pilatzke’s Beetles, Parachute Ant.  


  • Heng’s Autumn Splendor, Barr’s Slump Buster, Conehead Black Wolley Bugger, Sparkle Bugger, Clouser Minnows.

Fall is a great time to get out, enjoy some great fishing and beautiful scenery as the leaves begin to change.  Winter will be upon us before we know it so get out on the water and create some really great fishing memories for 2010!!!

Don’t forget to take the Blue Quill Angler Quiz to win free gear.  Correct answers will be automatically registered for a drawing at the end of October to win a FREE RIO Gold Fly line of your choice.

  1. Munts says:

    Great post! I have been fishing the Eagle River in Edwards and it has been great. Almost all my recent success on dries has been on small Parachute Adams, BWOs, Midge Emergers in sizes 20-22.

    For Nymphs, my best flies have been Pheasant Tails and RS2s (gray).

    And when all of the above are not working for me, I tie on Olive Sculpins and pull them through the deeper holes.

  2. kensanglers says:

    Like the article on Czech Nymphing….Thanks Ken

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