10 Best Flies for Fall Fishing in Colorado’s Freestone Rivers


As the days begin to get shorter, nights cooler and many fishermens fancy turns to stalking Bambi there still remains some fantastic uncrowded fishing to be had.  Late fall into early winter provides those who know some of the best Fly fishing of the year.  Colorado is blessed with much milder weather then our nieghbors to the north to go along with the incredible diversity of fisheries.  This post is going to deal with the 10 best flies for late fall /winter fishing on Colorado’s vast freestone Trout rivers.  The hatches may become fewer and or farther between, however the fish are still very activly feeding.  The Brown trout are in full spawing mode and the crowds of summer have all but vanished, meaning more for the rest of us.  Many seasoned anglers can find the fall fishing somewhat fustrating since there may not be the wholesale evidence of Mayflies, Caddis or Terrestials available, thats where your friendly fly shop can really pay off.  Here is the recommended list of flies that every  angler should have in their box come October on.  There is no ranking of this list thats just crazy talk.  On any given day and under certain conditions any one of these flies can make you a hero.  Well not to the Trout.

1)Barr Emerger BWO- Arguably the best Blue Winged Olive emerger there is hands down! Originally concocted by Boulder’s own John Barr this is a year around go to for any angler, whether bead head as a dropper below a dry, flashback or plain as a full on nymphing pattern.  The Barr emerger should aslo be a staple of the tailwater fisher.(Sizes 16-22)

2)Caraven’s JuJu Beatis- Another of the best  Beatis/Blue Winged Olive patterns developed in Colorado.  A darker cousin to the barr’s and tied with  epoxy. very durable bug.(sixes 16-24)

3)Tungsten/ Beadhead Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail – This ia one of the best selling flies in any fly shop regardles of location or time of year.  It can represent a multitude of offerings from Midges to Caddis.  At this time of year it’s a go to dropper for many guides/anglers who are fishing dry/droppers because of its ability to get into the feeding zone quickly along the banks and in the pockets.(sizes 14-22)

4) Egan’s Rainbow Warrior – Another smaller but very effective Trico or Midge imitaion that many of our die – hard’s hold in high regard.  This fly comes in pearl, red and black.  Black far and away out sells the other colors,but that doesnt mean they aren’t just as good.  A more complex recipe of threads, dubbings and a bead give this fly a very buggy look that our Trout find irresistable.  More of a pupa profile then a larva.(sizes 18-22)

5)RS-2 – This is perhaps the most unassuming yet most widely fished patterns there is whether it’s the big waters of the Colorado river or the small technical tail-water of the Yampa.  Rim Chungs most famous flie has been copied beaded, wired, sparlke winged… then most flies out there.  Nothing works like the original in either gray,black or olive.  A great pattern for those looking to start thier foray into tying flies as well since you can easily modify it to any configuration you want.(sizes 16-24)

6)Roy’s Special Emerger- I was introduced to this pattern by the man himself Roy Palm back in the day at Frying Pan Anglers and feel I am very much a  disciple who has spread the word of it’s amazing capabilities to catch even the mosy finicky Trout, afterall this fly was invented on the Frying Pan river.  It can be fished deep, on the swing or dead drifted behind a more visible dry.  The later being my favorite way to fish it.  God love you Roy Palm!(sizes 18-26)

7)Parachute Adams/Adams Wulff- If you can only carry one dry fly in this box it would have to be the Parachute Adams. Although there are many very legitimate other dry fly patterns that could make the list.  The reason is simple.  You can have this pattern in a number of colors and also in a Wullf style that many anglers like becuase of it’s visibilty and ability to support a BH dropper.  A guy just came in the shop an hour ago on a 30 degree snowy day and told me how many fish he had just netted using the Purple Parachute’s I sent him out there with.  I am going to catch grief because yes I said purple, but thats for anther pos at another time.(sizes 12-24)

8)Tequeely – I wasnt going to get through a blog of Fall flies without going into my love of Streamers!  Fall is the most prime time of year for streamers here in Colorado especially on the larger freestone rivers like the Colorado and Roaring Fork.  When anglers come into our shop looking for that go to streamer pattern and I shove a Tequeely in thier face I get some pretty skeptical looks to say the least.  But here in the Centennial state the tequeely should be the state Streamer.  Mostly used as a lead fly in a tandem streamer rig, yes we fish 2 streamers!  This Las Vegas showglirl looking un-natural rubber legged and heavily tinsled freakshow is boss.  Orvis is the original and only true purveyor of our favotite Streamer.  Come in and the first one is free, but that’s all I’ll say about that!(sizes2-8)

9)Sculpzilla – A streamer pattern so freaking great I even named my fantasy footbal team after it!  An articulated fly that comes in a multitude of sizes and colors that will fit the bill for any conditions you are fishing be it big, small or still water.  You don’t have to worry about missing fish on the short take, put it that way. (sizes2-10)

10)???I have a fly that if I even mentioned it here the blowback may be more then I can stand. That being said I am going to let you the anglers of Colorado decide what the #10 top fly for colorados freestone fisheries should be

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  1. I’ve never fished Colorado, but in nc freestone rivers, #10 would have to be a #12 royal wulff. I know its a western pattern originally so I’d guess it works equally as well for prospecting there as it does here.

    1. The Royal Wullf is propbably my favorite go to dry fly. It does’nt matter the hatch or no hatch. Lee Wulff should get sainthood for creating that pattern!



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