Recent outings in the Estes area have been productive using grasshopper flies. This time of year is one of our favorites for big brown trout around the shoreline of Lake Estes. We recommend parachute hopper flies as they are easier to see around sunset when this action peaks.Fly rod anglers should use floating line with a 7.5′ leader and about 2′ of 5X fluorocarbon tippet. We usually recommend 6X tippet but the larger size of these brown trout suggests a little heavier approach to help keep them out of the rocks on the bottom where light tippets can be broken. Spin tackle anglers should use about 6′ of 5lb leader behind a bubble to attach the fly.
Cast 3′ to 10′ from the shore ahead of you as you slowly advance along the edge of the water. Waders help but are not necessary. These brown trout are cruising the shoreline looking for terrestrial insects unlucky enough to end up in the water. Beetles, ants, grasshoppers and caddis flies are a good bet at sunset and beyond. Caddis flies may be “skated” across the surface to attract the attention of these trout but the others need only a tiny twitch to get noticed.
Another factor that contributes to this action is the eminent arrival of the fall spawning season for the brown and brook trout in the area. Both species are loading up calories for the spawn and long winter season ahead. Rainbow trout also are available using this technique and will become more numerous as the spawning brown and brook trout add eggs to the nutrient rich waters. The sun sets a little before 8PM MST these days so it makes a great after dinner outing for local anglers.
Check out our web site: https://www.anglerpocketguides.com for more local information and tips. Our Angler’s Guide books are available at most local fly shops, book stores, and at the Rocky Mountain Nature Association stores inside of Rocky Mountain National Park. The are also available on Amazon as printed or e-books.
Great article! I love fishing with grasshopper flies and have a lot of fun fishing the inlet of Lake Estes in the evening. Wading out on the sandbar can be productive too but the bottom is heavy black muck in areas due to the runoff from the fires last summer. Have to rinse waders very well after fishing there!
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