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Go-To Flies for Winter Tailwaters


We asked some of our guides at Angler’s Covey for their top go-to flies for fishing our local tailwaters. In this blog, we focus on patterns for winter fly fishing. Jon Easdon gives us his top patterns for Cheesman Canyon. Scott Voyles and Robert Younghanz report in on their choice patterns. Finally, Greg Blessing and Dave Herber suggest patterns that are deadly on all tailwaters.


Cheesman Canyon


mercury midge1. Mercury midge. Size: 22. Color: white.  In any season, the mercury midge produces. Jon Easdon’s go-to is a size 22 but, “I fish these in 20’s, 24’s, and 26’s. It’s a great general midge pattern.” Season: year round.



2. FB Black Beauty. Size 22. Color: black. Like the mercury midge, this is a great general pattern that produces year round. Easdon will tie these with a mercury bead as well as a regular thread head. Season: year round.


stalcups3. Stalcups baetis. Size: 22. Color: olive/black. The Stalcups baetis has become a staple for blue wing nymphs in every tailwater in the state. The fish in Cheesman are notoriously picky, and the stalcups baetis is Easdon’s first choice when fishing BWO nymphs. Season: Early spring through fall.



bloodmidge4. Blood midge. Size: 18-26 Color: red.  The blood midge can be tied in many various ways with different materials. Easdon says, “I always have a ton of these on me no matter where I am. Tried and true.” Season: year round, great winter pattern.



rainbow warrior5. Rainbow Warrior. Size:18-20. Color: red or black.  The RW is a great point fly and can cover a lot of different imitations. The tungsten bead on this pattern gets the other bugs down in the lower water column as well.

Season: year round.


Robert Younghanz: Deckers

rubberlegs6. Pat’s rubber leg. Size: #8-12. Color: Dark brown mottled. The Bug Guy, Robert Younghanz had the surprise offering of our questionnaire, Pat’s Rubberleg.While most people tend to fish very small flies at Deckers in the winter months, my aquatic surveys turn up copious amounts of these large stoneflies November-March.  I have done very well on a dark brown mottled Pat’s Rubberleg #8-12 as my point fly, even on the coldest of winter days.”


Dream Stream and Elevenmile Canyon

top secret7. Top Secret midge.  Size: 20-22.  Color: Brown and white, purple and white. At the Dream Stream, Scott Voyles’ go-to fly is theTop Secret. “It has a great profile for a midge.”  Kenny Romero agrees that this is a very productive fly in the winter months. Season:  year round.



juju8. Jujubee midge or baetis. Size: 18-22. Color:brown, purple, red. Voyles says this is a “great pattern that works year round for finicky fish.”



All Tailwaters

purple haze9. Purple Haze.  Size: 22-26 (fall/winter). Dave Herber and Greg Blessing both load up their fly boxes with the Purple Haze.Season: Year round but change up the sizes #16-18(Spring), #18-20(summer)




rs210. RS-2. Size: #18-26. Color: grey, black, olive. The RS-2 is such a common go-to pattern, it was almost overlooked – one of those things you take for granted.  Kenny Romero calls it “the most consistent tailwater nymph in Colorado.” You wouldn’t leave home with tippet – you probably shouldn’t leave home without an RS-2.  Season: year round.


dorsey scud11. Dorsey’s UV scud. Size: #18.  Color: orange or olive. Scuds are a main food source for the trout in the lakes and in the rivers at dreamstream and 11 mile trout will feed on these year round.




copper john12. Copper John. Size: 16-22  Colors: red, copper, black. Depending on size, the Copper John can imitate everything from a baetis to a stonefly and can be used year round in Cheesman Canyon. Another great point fly, but Easdon says “sometimes I will fish these in tandem in different sizes/color combinations.” Season: year round.


Did your go-to fly make the list?  Or has one of these flies now made its way into your fly box?


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