Winter: Abell River Ranch is a tailwater stemming from the outflow of Eleven Mile Reservoir, but still experiences some significant ice buildup during the Winter months. In the Winter fish tend to congregate in the deeper pools, which Abell has no shortage of. These fish are best targeted by fishing tandem small nymphs either under an indicator or by “European” style tight-line nymphing. Common Winter table fare for these fish include midges, Blue Winged Olives (BWO’s), and small annelids. On the warmest Winter days Abell River Ranch often sees a BWO hatch in the afternoon, and sight fishing with small dries and light tippet during these hatches for big Brown and Rainbow trout is a rewarding challenge for even the most experienced anglers.
Spring: In early spring, warm days at Abell are a great way to kick off the season and shake the rust off. Anglers can expect to start early Spring mornings nymphing the deeper runs, where fish are waking up from Winter and eager to chow down. Once the sun has a chance to warm the water, the Blue Winged Olive (BWO) hatch begins, making for some of the best dry fly sight fishing that Colorado has to offer. Once runoff begins, Eleven Mile Reservoir helps prevent Spring runoff flows from blowing the river out, keeping Abell River Ranch fishing well throughout the high water months. The higher water allows anglers to size up their tippet and really takes the edge off of Abell’s generally wary and wise fish. High water also drives the fish at Abell towards cut banks and soft edges, allowing anglers to trade the usual long and complex shots here for shorter casts and easily high-sticked drifts.
Summer: Summer at Abell River Ranch is a dry-fly fisherman’s paradise. The river’s resident Browns and Rainbows spread out amongst the various suns and riffles the property has to offer, often utilizing cut banks to hide out and ambush passing Mayflies, Stoneflies, Caddis, and Terrestrials. Much of the fishing done this time of year is sight fishing, offering anglers the unique challenge of spotting a big fish feeding and trying to perfect their cast and drift into the fish’s lair. Casting experience is your biggest ally when fly fishing Abell River Ranch, and your guide will likely take time in the morning to work on your casting so you have the necessary knowledge when the fish of the day shows itself. While the fish here are no fools and can take several fly and presentation changes to trick, there’s nothing more rewarding than watching a big nose finally break the surface to engulf your dry fly!
Fall: Fall at Abell River Ranch is synonymous with gorgeous scenery and great fishing conditions. Low flows and clear water make the Fall season a great time for experienced anglers to test their skills against Abell’s weary, big risers with small dry-fly and dry-dropper setups. Streamer fishing Abell is also a great way to target the river’s numerous large Brown Trout that become predatory during their Fall spawning period. Look to undercut banks, boulders, and shelf drop-offs as likely hideouts for these big Browns awaiting their next easy meal!