A weak snowpack and a nearly non-existent runoff means low flows and warm water temperatures, but it also means action is way ahead of schedule. Yes, dries like terrestrials and hoppers that we normally throw in August are already working wonders for anglers of all ages and abilities.
I recently took my six-year-old out on Clear Creek for a late morning outing throwing Kaufman's Stimulator from Umpqua and an elk hair caddis. Despite Highway 6 being closed below Blackhawk and a massive hatch of rafters above the intersection, we found some friendly wading water above Empire.
Before heading up Highway 40. We hit Highway 6 near I-70. The orange stimulator worked for a handful of browns, but the shallow water, even with low flows, was few and far between for my little fly guy so we headed up Highway 40.
We found a few more pools with willing rainbows and browns. All the fish were looking up and it really didn't matter which dry you through, but the bigger tan patterns like the elk hair or stimulator worked best. Barrett La Rue managed a couple fish and finally decided it wouldn't be too weird to hold one for a photo. Not bad for a six-year-old, wet wading for a nice photo fish.
At this time with these low flows and a rough summer ahead, many are asking anglers to avoid fishing to help protect the river's fish. Personally, I would watch water temperatures. If water temperatures get too warm, then avoid fishing certain spots or fish early and late. My advice, fish before there are mandatory closures as it sounds like such drastic measures could be in store.