The Blue River Below Dillon Reservoir

A fisherman casts his line in the blue river on a Colorado winter day.

Current Conditions

The cover of Landon Mayer's headwater guides book Colorado's Best Fly Fishing

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The Blue River

From Landon’s book Colorado’s Best Fly Fishing.

The river below Dillon reservoir is filled with the best trout growing diet of Mysis shrimp. Similar to the “Pan” and the “Taylor” this section is home to some of the states largest trout. A section that once braided out with shallow and deep-water settings, is now home to long deep runs that where dug out to create habitat for species of trout that where introduced to the river. This has helped trout find refuge in the deep runs, but it has become a challenge for anglers to access these giants in high flows.

The river is difficult to fish in high water that can reach 1600 plus cfs, the best time to hunt for these fish is during low flow conditions. As the river travels through Silverthorne it will pass under Interstate 70, and a crossing bridge at the outlet stores. This bridge is a famous area to look down at the selective trout that call the Blue home. Knowing that the water is often clear your approach and use of small fluorocarbon leaders and tippet are detrimental to you success.

Like the other shrimp fed rivers in the state the use of a Mysis shrimp like (wills epoxy shrimp)#16-20 as the main fly is key. Because the turbulence of the water below Dillon Reservoir is not always high a lot of the shrimp that flush into the river are alive. Making a translucent imitation key for a natural looking meal for the fish.

In addition to the shrimp there is a healthy supply of BWO, and midges in this cool water of the Blue. Trailing a small (disco midge red)#18-22 (rojo midge black)#20-22 (flash back BWO Barr’s emerger)#18-22 (Johny flash olive/brown)#18-22 will complete a successful two fly rig for the wary fish. Understanding where the trout are holding is key. In some situations the fish are suspended, or feeding on the surface making top water and shallow presentation the best approach.

Unlike the other rivers that supply large trout in Colorado the fish on the Blue are difficult to see. The river bottom is made up of rocks that that posses the colors, red, green, and blue in addition to tinted water clarity. The red side of a rainbow, or the green back of a brown can melt away making them at times seem impossible to locate. When you are scanning the river here take extra time for your eyes to adjust to the rock coloration. Once they have you will begin noticing things such as, silhouettes, fins, and movement to know your target is there.

Before you ravel past the strip malls, 7-elven, or commuting traffic in Silverthorne, CO. give this section of the Blue River a try before venturing down stream. The lifetime goal of landing a trophy is always a realistic.