Summer has arrived out West, and with that, it is time to escape to the river and for Live Water’s Mountain West Hatch Report. As murky waters of runoff clear and turn to hues of crystalline blue, we find ourselves eagerly anticipating the start of a new season of fly fishing. If you have never read the Hatch Report, this is the time of year our Ranch Brokers, many of whom are avid anglers detail their best tips for how to fish our prime fishing ranches on the market and the area waters.
Colorado Hatch Report
Steamboat Springs, CO | 1,400 Acres
Steamboat Springs, CO | 151 Acres
As flows on the Elk River have peaked and are dropping quickly, the bug activity has come to life, and the fish are happily eating both subsurface and on the surface. The stonefly nymphs and caddis nymphs have been producing consistent rainbows in the softer water in the morning hours. As mid-day temperatures warm up the water, adult caddis, pale morning duns and blue winged olives seem to get the fish eagerly to the surface. Expect the hopper fishing to turn on in the next few weeks as there are many already pushing around in the tall grasses of the hay meadows.
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Black Bear Ranch
Glenwood Springs, CO | 902 Acres
For the stillwater fishing enthusiast, this ranch offers splendid lake fishing surrounded by lush aspen groves and sweeping views. A slow stripped leech will typically produce when there is not obvious activity on the surface. Blue damsel flies are a great attractor to illicit sipping fish to eat on the surface and can be very effective when paired with a scud pattern. As breezes pick up in the afternoon, anglers should be mindful of small hoppers and ants on the surface and match those accordingly.
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Los Piños Retreat
Bayfield, CO | 200 Acres | Listed at $4.295M
With runoff tapering and water temperatures rising to the optimum range, the fish are starting to look up and become more active. During a lull in hatch activity, listing agent Brian Hartley found success with a thin mint streamer dead-drifted through deep pools while onsite for a showing. As flows continue to settle out, we’ll be ready with an assortment of small terrestrial patterns, mayflies and large caddis dries. Given the lack of pressure on this stretch of picturesque water, the resident wild fish aren’t overly leery of anglers, so any number of attractor patterns fished in the obvious feeding lies typically receive the desired reaction.
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Idaho Hatch Report
Lufkin South Fork River Ranch
Ririe, ID | 151 Acres
The flows on the South Fork of the Snake River have been consistent around 20,000 cfs. Expect to find fish on the slower inside seams and away from the faster moving water on the banks. Commit to this strategy, and one will do well this time of year. Hatches consist of midges, caddis and B_W_O’s on the surface, while larger stone patterns and classic pheasant tails are most productive. With warmer temperatures and stream flows decreasing, expect to see the salmonfly hatch soon.
Local Tip: If you intend to spend the day fishing the South Fork, make sure to check stream flows with local fly shops. When water levels are adjusted at the dam site for irrigation demand downstream, experience shows that fishing tends to be “off.”
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Montana Hatch Report
Craighead Bench on the Bitterroot River
Florence, MT | 253 Acres
The Bitterroot is dropping into its prime, with the first dry fly opportunities coinciding with hatches of salmonflies and golden stones on the upper reaches near Darby. Closer to Missoula remains a subsurface game for now, but as the river continues its annual drop, more options will soon materialize, and the “‘Root” will break out river-wide into a dry fly fishing paradise. As the larger stoneflies wane in the coming week or two, expect hatches of Bitterroot stones, sallies and pale morning duns to fill the void. Drifting remains the best way to cover water these days. However, the many braided channels throughout the middle and lower river will open up as water levels recede and more gravel is exposed, allowing wade anglers an opportunity to explore the river’s dynamic system of springs and side channels. It’s hard to beat a day fishing the “‘Root” this time of year.
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Complete Fly Fisher Lodge
Wise River, MT | 13.6 Acres
The Big Hole is in great shape with hatches coinciding with river-wide clarity. As the famous salmonfly hatch works its way throughout the river system and begins to fade, expect golden stones, caddis and pale morning duns to keep the fish occupied both above and below the surface. Some of the largest brown trout in the West can be found here, and the Big Hole is one of the few places where an angler can catch a wild grayling, brook, rainbow and brown trout. Spend a day on the Big Hole this time of year and one will realize why the river’s tea-colored water, unmatched scenery and robust populations of trout, draw anglers from all over the world.
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Oregon Hatch Report
Black Drake Ranch
Bly, OR | 420 Acres | Listed at $1.695M
The hatch is on! The black drakes started to hatch in June, and the larger trout are coming into the North Fork of the Sprague River and then into the flow of Five Mile Creek. With a total of nearly three miles of private water, the opportunities for catching browns, rainbows and red side trout are excellent. The ranch is green, and the weather perfect for a new season of fishing.
Wyoming Hatch Report
Green River Getaway
Daniel, WY | 42 Acres
The current stream flows at Warren Bridge near Daniel are fluctuating between 1,000 to 3,000 cfs. This time of year can be very productive with a large streamer and a 6-weight rod. Expect the Green River to stabilize in the next few weeks, and the fish to move into their more traditional feeding lanes along the undercut banks as the mountain runoff and water demand for irrigation dissipates. One should see caddis and yellow sallies in the next few weeks and prepare for an exceptional grey drake hatch around the Fourth of July. If you haven’t fished this hatch, it is a must for any angler!