The “Spring Fling”

Mike Berg

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By Michael Berg

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So here I am: wool socks, thermal leggings, jeans, thermal shirt, North Face jacket, and a hat, all zipped up in a zero degree sleeping bag with only my mouth exposed to breathe. My Toyota 4Runner’s seats are laid down to make for just enough sleeping room, and the windows are thick with frost inside and out. It’s 10 degrees outside and the early morning light is taunting me to get out of the sleeping bag and begrudgingly slip on my frozen fishing waders. All of this effort, and for what? You see, it is springtime on a famous section of the South Platte River called The Dream Stream. This means as soon as the sun peaks itself over the mountains, the vacant dirt parking lot I am sleeping in will become flooded with fly fisherman who traveled hours that morning to get a shot at catching that 30+ inch rainbow trout. The adult rainbows spawn early spring and migrate from the depths of Eleven Mile Reservoir up the South Platte to lay their eggs in these calm, “nursery waters.” It is important to note that there are strict fishing regulations on this stretch of the South Platte that require catch and release along with artificial fly and lure use among many other rules.

Part of my 2018 spring break was spent fishing these waters, and it was a memorable time no doubt. I hooked into several nice sized fish, 20+ inches, and had a 30+ incher snap off. This being said, I could only stand fishing The Dream Stream for two days due to the overcrowdedness. It is common to have a fisherman on every bend of a 2 mile section by 10am on a random Tuesday. During the weekends it only gets worse. I visited on Monday and Tuesday figuring that it wouldn’t be too crowded, but couldn’t have been more off. I was competing with roughly 20+ fisherman the entire day, and that means that each fishing hole you find has been fished by 10+ people that morning. Don’t get me wrong, for what it’s worth, you can have some of the best fishing of your life on The Dream Stream; however, be prepared to compete with aggressive fisherman, deal with wind, and fish technical waters.

The rest of my break was spent in and around Buena Vista fishing the Arkansas River. I would highly recommend this river if you are looking for next to zero competition when spring fishing. The fish will be smaller on average compared to The Dream Stream, although the views around this area are far superior as you are tucked into The Collegiate Mountain Range which boasts eight of Colorado’s 54 14ers. Also, after a long day of fishing, you can relax and recover in the local hot springs which scores high in my book.

When deciding to head out on your next spring adventure in NoCo, I would highly consider giving fishing a shot. The shoulder seasons, spring and fall, are known for being the most productive fishing seasons of the year. Local shops such as Jax and St. Peter’s Fly Shop are my recommendations for any fishing needs, including friendly advice. Good luck, and happy trails.