Copyright 2017 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The White River Colorado
The White River is one of the top streams in the state of
Colorado but for some reason, it gets little attention. Fly
fishing the White River provides as much opportunity as
any stream in the state of Colorado.
This beautiful freestone stream starts out from its North
and South Forks. The North Fork flows into and out of
Trappers Lake. Near Buford it joins the South Fork to
form the White River. The river flows for miles through
ranch land and finally through the little town of Meeker
where the Mule Deer and Elk season is the highlight of
Since the White River is several miles from any major
highways, it sees few people. The river flows through
hundreds of long riffles, runs and pools that are rarely
fished. Several areas of public access provide an
opportunity for anglers to catch large rainbow and brown
trout. Numerous small, tributary streams have smaller
wild trout that add to the diversity.
The headwaters have ample access with plenty of
smaller cutthroat and brook trout. Although brown and
rainbow trout exist in the headwaters, the larger trout
are in the larger, lower end of the river.
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Click on Thumbnails to enlarge
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 &12 ft., 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 71/2
ft., 3 or 4X, Streamers 0-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
A year-round season provides plenty of time
for anglers to enjoy the excellent fishing on
the White River.
It is possible to catch fish during the winter
season but the fishing is usually trough.
The river provides great fishing starting
about the first of April up until runoff.
Fly Fishing Guide to the White River:
Fly fishing the White River is not a complicated affair.
The action starts out in April and except for the spring
runoff, doesn't cease until the snow gets deep along
The first two pictures of the White River on your left
shows a smaller, middle upper area and the larger,
lower section of the river near Meeker. It seems like the
fish range in size in direct proportion to the size of the
stream. I don't know if it's the lack of fishing pressure, a
prime source of food for the trout, or maybe both of the
above, but the trout seem to grow larger than they do
in the normal Colorado freestone stream. The White
River is one of the best streams in the state of
Colorado, yet it receives less fishing pressure than
most any of its size.
One reason for the lack of pressure is the lack of
anglers. The stream lies in a very remote area of
Colorado. There's more elk there than anglers.
Although much of the stream flows through private
property, there's still plenty of public access water for
the number of anglers that fish this river. You rarely
see another angler except during the prime season.
We have fished the stream's public access areas
during the month of April for a long a three straight
days without seeing another anglers.
The headwater of the stream have plenty of access.
The North Fork flows mostly through USFS property.
The South Fork flows mostly through private property
but there is some access in the park that's inside the
Flats Top Wilderness.
There are also some areas located on private property
that allow you to fish for a fee and some that you can
obtain permission to fish just by asking. Quite frankly,
there's no shortage of water because of the lack of
pressure and miles of public access. The headwaters
have plenty of cutthroats, rainbows and brook trout.
You can usually catch large numbers of these fish but
they do average smaller than the trout in the lower
sections of the river.
White River Colorado Hatches and
Within a week or two of the end of the
Salmonfly hatch in early July, you will
usually find Golden Stoneflies beginning
to hatch. The hatch last into the month of
August, depending on the location on the
river. Both the Salmonflies and Golden
Stoneflies start hatching in the lower
section and move upstream as the days
The first caddisflies to hatch are the Little
Black Caddis, called the Mothers Day
hatch in most places in the West. This
hatch starts in the lower section of the
river in late April and last about a month.
In late June and early July, there's plenty
of Spotted Sedges that begin to hatch.
These are the most plentiful of the
caddisflies and the different species
hatch throughout most of the Summer.
The next most important caddisfly hatch
are the Green Sedges. They hatch from
May through August, depending on the
species. Imitations of the Green Rock
Worms, or their larvae, work year-round.
In late June, usually before the runoff
ends, Pale Morning Duns will start
hatching. There are a few Green Drakes
that hatch but the numbers are usually
fairly low. There are also some Flavs, or
Small Western Green Drakes, but the
numbers of them are relatively low. The
PMD hatch will last most of the summer
and is the most consistent mayfly hatch.
In some areas of the fast water you will
find some Pink Ladies that hatch in late
August and September.
Late Summer, in August and September,
terrestrials will play an important role in
the trout's diet. Don't forget imitations of
grasshopper, ants and beetles.
Summertime provides some very good
mayfly and numerous caddisfly hatches.
Terrestrials provide action on into the
early fall season. Streamers work great
for the larger trout at this time.
White River Colorado Fishing Report:
01/17/14 The White River season is open all
year and you can catch trout as long as the
water isn't iced over. We suggest fishing the
lower section in the Meeker area should you
have the opportunity.
Click on Thumbnails to enlarge
Fishing Report Updated 03/17/17
(Bottom Of Page)
01/31/14 We have not had any reports of
anglers fishing during the past week.
Conditions were not that bad but more cold
weather is in the forecast.
02;/07/14 There are still no reports from
anyone fishing but slightly warmer
weather is in the forecast. There will be
lots of snow this coming week.
02/14/14 There is much warmer
weather in the forecast with no rain or
snow. Conditions should improve big
02/21/14 There are still no fishing reports
of catches but weather turning cooler,
more winter like.
02/28/14 Still nothing to report. Slightly
warmer weather is forecast but still plenty
03/07/14 Currently there is plenty of
slush ice but with a slight warming trend
on the way. Still no reports from anyone
03/21/14 One customer reported
catching a couple of nice rainbows on
small BWO nymphs but reported the
action is very slow.
03/28/14 No reports of fish being
caught but our local contact reported
most of the ice around the banks is
gone and the water is slightly warmer.
04/04/14 Stream levels are normal and
the water warming up. The ice is gone.
04/11/14 No reports came in from
anglers fishing but the water is warming
up and it won't be long before hatches
|Options For Selecting Flies:
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with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
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you decide which flies you need.
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with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
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04/25/14 Stream levels are high and no
reports from anyone fishing have come
in this past week. After the current cold
front passes, the water should warm up
and hatches begin. Expect BWO
hatches, size 18/16 soon and some Little
05/02/14 Two good customers reporting
catching some nice rainbows the last day or
two on our Sculpin Streamers. Water is
high but warming up some.
05/09/14 Higher water levels have bee
occurring and much cooler weather is
in the forecast. No reports from
anyone fishing this past week.
05/16/14 The stream levels are back to
normal levels and in good shape but the
weather has been cold this past week
and no reports came in. Condition should
improve greatly this week.
05/23/14 Stream levels are high due to
the beginning of the Spring runoff.
05/30/14 Stream levels are still high and
expected to be that way until at least the
end of the first week of June.
06/06/14 We have not received any fishing
reports from anyone and we are sure it is
due to the runoff. The levels are still high.
06/13/14 Stream levels are down and
conditions greatly improved. No reports from
anyone fishing but it is possible to do so.
06/20/14 The stream levels and visibility is
good now and fishing should be really
picking up fast. No reports from anyone yet.
07/04/14 Stream levels are down near
normal and fishing conditions greatly
improved. Several hatches have started.
Let us hear from you.
07/17/14 We have had several good reports
from customers fishing the White River the
past two weeks. Lots of insects are hatching
and lots of trout are being caught.
07/25/14 More good reports came in last
week. Thee are lots of caddis and PMDs
and some Little Yellow stoneflies hatching.
08/01/14 Stream levels are a tad high and
there is a small chance of rain everyday for
the next week, but anglers have been
catching trout. The hatches have slowed
but there are still plenty to fish.
08/15/14 Two good reports came in this
past week from customers planning another
trip this month. They did well in the
headwaters, catching lots of trout.
08/29/14 Several good fishing reports
have come in during the past two weeks.
Anglers catching lots of trout in the
headwaters and lower sections.
09/12/14 The White is still a little high
right now, but otherwise fishing has been
terrific. Both the headwaters and lower
section near Meeker has provided some
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in the
White River and in all stages of life that are
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a
much higher degree of success, give us a
call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
As with most trout streams the most
important aquatic insect is the Blue-winged
Olives or baetis species. That's because of
the overall length of time they hatch. They
are bi-brooded, hatching in April and about
the first two weeks of May and then again
in September until about the middle of
Pale Morning Duns would be the next most
important insect. They hatch starting about
the first of June. The hatch last through the
month of July. The water levels can affect
the benefits of the PMDs during the early
part of the hatch.
During the same time period, starting a
week or two after the PMDs, you will find
Dark Red Quills hatching. The Red Quill
hatch last until about the end of July.
The mayfly that gets the most attention on
the White River is the Western Green
Drake. It starts to hatch about the same
time as the PMDs and the Dark Red Quills
or around the first of June.
The Salmonflies begin to hatch around the
first to the middle of May and last until the
first or second week of June. The runoff
can mess this hatch up at times.
09/26/14 Fishing has been excellent when
the stream levels have been in good
shape. October Caddis should begin to
hatch along with BWOs.
10/10/14 More good reports come in the
past two weeks. The hatches will dwindle
down to a few, with Blue-winged Olives
becoming the main thing to imitate.
10/17/14 Three very good reports from
anglers catching some very nice trout
during the past week. BWO are hatching
and our Brown Sculpin working good.
10/24/14 Another good fishing report form
this past week. Streamers are still the main
fly to be using.
11/07/14 No reports from last week but the
stream levels are back in good shape and
fishing should be good.
12/12/14 Sorry for the slow reports, our
local contact has been away a few days. No
reports, but warmer weather is in the
forecast. Water temp is 44 and Cream
Midges and size 20 BWO will work.
12/19/14 No reports from last week but the
conditions are not that bad for the coming
12/26/14 Still no reports and much colder
weather for this coming week.
01/02/14 Still no reports. Stream levels
are back in good shape, winter stoneflies
are hatching and the weather is normal for
this time of the year.
01/09/15 Still no reports. I expected to hear
from some of the winter fishermen this past
week. Conditions have not been that bad
but the White is in the middle of no where,
01/16/15 One good report from customer
fishing the park in town. Rainbows on
cream midge larva and pupa.
01/23/15 No reports from the past week
but conditions remain very good for
01/30/15 Some one asked me if the locals
were catching many trout on the White. I
responded, "what locals - have you ever
been to the White River?" I'm kidding, but
it is a rather isolated part of the state.
02/06/15 Conditions won't get much better
than they will this coming week. Great
stream levels and much warmer weather.
02/13/15 A customer reported catching
several rainbows in the upper section.
It will be turning colder soon, so you
better get it while the gettins' good.
02/20/15 No reports from anyone fishing
this past week.
03/06/15 Still no reports but much better
conditions for the coming week with
warmer weather and no precipitation.
03/20/15 The river is flowing high and off
color at the current time due to warmer
weather and melting snow and rain.
03/27/15 Still no reports from anyone
fishing. River is still high and off color.
04/10/15 The river is flowing at 689 cfs
this morning which is high. It is also
stained with about 18 inch visibility.
04/17/15 It is still high and no reports from
anyone fishing it. Rolling at 752 csf right
now but should fall this weekend. It is going
to be a little cooler.
04/23/15 Flowing at 759 cfs, or still a little
too high to wade. LIttle Black Caddis and
March Browns are hatching along with the
05/01/15 Up to 1220 cfs. We did get one
good report from a regular customer
using our Brown Sculpin streamers but
water was high and off color.
05/08/15 Flowing at 1790 cfs and
stained. Less than a foot of visibilityi.
05/22/15 The river is in great shape and
customers reporting recent success.
Several hatches taking place.
06/05/15 The river is blown out due to
spring runoff. Now is a good time to email
us to plan your next White River fishing
06/12/15 Little change. It will be a few
more days before it drops and clears.
06/19/15 Flowing at 1990 cfs and 4.7 ft.
or still blown out.
Other Colorado Streams:
07/03/15 The river has fell back into
decent shape from the runoff and
cleared up in most areas. One recent
good report on the upper section near
the forks. Wading is possible if you pick
07/10/15 The river is still a little high but
mostly clear. The uppermost sections are
in better shape but you can fish about
07/17/15 The river has cleared and in good
shape just barely above normal levels.
PMDs. iittle yellow stones and spotted
07/24/15 Excellent stream levels. Three
good reports from customers this past
week, PMDs, Little Yellow Stones,
Western Ginger Quills, Spotted Sedges.
07/31/15 Great stream conditions continue
and good reports keep coming in. You can
catch trout from Meeker to the headwaters.
08/21/15 Sorry for the lack of reports but it
wasn't because the fishing wasn't good. It
has been great according to our customers.
Trout are being caught from the headwaters
to downstream of Meeker.
08/28/15 The stream has been a little low
but the trout still eat. Use some stealth and
longer, lighter leaders. Mahogany duns are
starting to hatch.
We have Perfect Fly
website pages on
each of these other
fine trout streams.
descriptions of the
location, species of
fish, a fly fishing
guide, a fly fishing
report, hatches and
flies, fly fishing gear
USGS stream data,
much, much more
09/04/15 Two good reports from customers
came in this past week. The river is low and
that makes it tougher, but it still produces.
09/11/15 Lots of guys elk hunting and fishing.
Two more good reports. Good stream levels
09/18/15 The river has risen a little back to
about the normal level, but little to no rain is
in the forecast and you can count on it falling
again. Great fall like weather and good
09/25/15 The area is crowded but most
everyone is elk hunting. Some of the hunters
are fishing in their off time. The stream level
is just a little above normal.
10/09/15 October caddis are hatching in large
numbers. There are lots of small Blue-winged
olves as well. Stream levels are good and so
is the weather forecast for the next week.
10/15/15 Stream levels are a little low right
now and you can wade about anywhere you
want to right now. Rain is in the forecast
almost everyday, so what the levels.
10/23/15 Brown trout are in the pre-spawn
stage and very aggressive. They will take
streamers like our Brown Sculpin very well.
10/30/15 Stream levels are normal and the
weather is great. Browns are being caught on
our Brown Sculpin streamer fly and rainbows
and browns on Blue-winged olives, mostly
11/06/15 Two good reports from the past week.
Good stream levels exist. Hatches are down to
midges and Blue-winged olives in two sizes.
Brown Sculpin work for the post-spawn browns.
11/13/15 Stream levels are fine but melting
snow might dirty them up a little. That would
only help the "catching". Brown Sculpin
streamers have been the hot fly.
11/20/15 Stream levels are normal right now
and should remain that way for a few days.
The weather is clearing up. The water is colder
and its down to midges, little BWOs and
Sculpin streamers. Good late fall conditions.
11/27/15 There is a chance of snow everyday
through Monday. Midges is about your only
option other than the Brown Sculpin streamer.
12/04/15 It is warming back up some with no
chance of rain or snow for the next week.
Good stream levels and good conditions.
12/11/15 Melting snow has the water off color
a little in some sections but otherwise, the
conditions are very good. Winter stoneflies
12/25/15 There is snow through today then
clearing for a few days. Traveling in this area
can be tougher than catching trout. The water
will be cold, in the mid to high thirties with ice
on the banks. Midges and Winter stoneflies
are what you need to have a chance.
01/08/16 The snow ends tomorrow. There is
a lot of snow along the banks and on the
roads. The water is 36 degrees at the
warmest section in town. Unless your there or
must be there, we don't recommend you fish.
01/22/16 The snow is letting up with only a
chance Saturday and Sunday but the water is
full of slush ice with deep snow around the
banks. You would be seeing beautiful county
but waisting your time trying to catch a trout.
91/29/16 There is heavy snow forecast every
day for the next week. When it does warm up
a little, melting snow keeps the water
temperature barely above freezing.
02/05/15 We won't say it is impossible to catch
trout but we will say it will be tough. Fish the
lowest section of the river in slack water in
holes in the bottom out of the current.
02/12/16 The weather is going to be much
warmer and will probably melt snow that
causes the water to stain and stay cold. The
conditions will be better though. Fish midges
and winter stonefly nymphs near Meeker.
02/26/16 The stream levels are normal and
the river in good shape from top to bottom. It
is still cold, with water temperatures in the mid
to high thirties, but there's a lot less ice and
snow. The water is clear again.
03/04/16 The stream is flowing just a little above
normal and has a little stain in some sections.
The water is still very cold. Midges and winter
stoneflies are still the important foods.
03/11/16 The water level is up and down a little
and this is due to melting snow. The warm
weather is nice but melts banks snow and hold
the water temperature down. This coming week
looks great. Midges and BWOs are hatching.
03/18/16 The stream levels are in good shape
and wading should be safe most places. The
water is still cold, but up a little. Midges and
BWOs are hatching good.
03/25/16 Conditions are still good, with good
stream levels. It is snowing now but will end
tomorrow. Midges and little BWO nymphs are
the flies you need & streamers during low light.
04/01/16 The stream levels are in good shape
and you should be able to catch trout on
midges or little Blue-winged olives. It on't be
long before little Black Caddis and March
Browns start hatching.
04/08/16 The river level is up a little and the
water is stained, mostly from melting snow.
There is rain forecast every day for the next 7.
04/15/16 The river is high and badly stained
and conditions are only going to get worse. It
will be a few days before this clears up.
04/22/16 The river is still a little high, too high to
wade safely in most places, but warming up a
little . Little Black Caddis will soon begin to hatch.
04/29/16 The stream levels are on the high
side of normal, but safe to wade with caution
in most areas. The clarity varies but mostly
clear to lightly stained. Little Black caddis are
hatching in the lower sections of the river.
05/06/16 The river is blown out, rolling at 1510
cfs, and highly stained. This is unlikely to
change much this next week.
05/13/16 The river is still high (1520 cfs) and
stained and this is likely to continue through
the next week. Watch the levels.
05/20/16 The river is flowing at 1810 cfs. It will
be a few more days before clearing and
05/27/16 The runoff is still in progress.
06/03/16 The river is flowing at 1750 cfs at
4.28 ft. Something like 300 to 600 cfs is more
normal, so you can see the runoff is full steam.
06/10/16 Up to 2250 cfs at 4/62 ft. There
won't be any fly fishing opportunity this
coming week. Keep in touch and we will keep
06/17/16 The North and South forks have
begin to drop and the levels getting close to
safe wading levels. It should be down in the
headwaters by this next weekend.
06/24/16 We think the headwaters are clear
and low enough to fish. The middle and lower
river is still too high to wade safely.
07/01/16 The stream levels are down and the
water mostly clear in all sections. The levels
are just a little on the high side but wading is
possible in many locations. Lots of insects are
hatching. Send us an email for a list.
07/08/16 The stream levels are down in good
shape in all sections of the river. Wading is
possible in most all sections. Lots of insects
are hatching. Conditions are very good.
07/15/16 Excellent conditions exist from it
headwaters down through Meeker. We
received two very good reports last week.
PMDs, G.Drakes, Golden SF, Little SF, caddis.
07/22/16 Water levels are excellent in all
sections and lots of insects are hatching. We
are getting some very good reports.
07/29/16 The river is just a little low but that
makes it easy to wade and fun to fish. All
sections are in good shape from the
headwater through Meeker. .
08/05/16 The levels are still just a little low. You
have to be careful not to spook the trout. Stay
low and hidden as best you can. There is a lot
of rain and the levels likely to rise soon, so be
sure to check them. There is rain forecast.
08/12/16 The stream level is still low (208 cfs at
2.27 feet but not too low to catch trout. You
cannot catch them and spook the trout though.
Stay hidden if its on the bank behind a bush.
We got two very good reports this past week.
08/19/16 Stream levels are still low. There is
rain in the forecast the first of next week. You
can catch trout if you can stay hidden from
them. Hatches are mostly caddisflies.
08/26/16 The river is still running low. Don't
spook the trout. Stay low and hidden from the
trout. Use longer leaders and tippets. Dress to
match the background.
09/02/16 The river is a little low but better.
There are lots of caddisflies hatching. Fish are
being caught mostly on Sculpin streamer early
morning and the last two hours of the day
during the egg laying caddis activity.
09/09/16 The stream levels are a little low but
this makes wading easy and safe. Stay hidden
from the trout, dress to match the background,
and use longer, lighter leaders and tippets.
09/16/16 The flows are up just a little but still a
little low. The cooler weather has the trout
more actively feeding. Mahogany duns are
starting to hatch along with some larger BWOs.
09/23/16 October caddis are hatching. The
river is up just barely above normal and rising
but should fall back fast. Good conditions exist.
09/30/16 The stream levels are normal, the
water temperature down in great shape and
hatches are taking place. Conditions are great.
10/07/16 Conditions remain excellent, with
good stream levels, decent hatches and
decent weather. It is a very good time to fish
10/21/16 The stream levels are in great shape
for wading. Our customers are catching lots of
trout. The weather is nice and back in the high
sixties and low seventies. Browns are starting to
spawn. Please don't wade through their redds.
10/28/16 Two good reports from the past week.
Stream levels are in great shape, Blue-winged
olives and Western Ginger Quills are hatching
good. Few anglers are fishing. Great conditions.
11/05/16 The stream is in good shape with few
anglers fishing it. Blue-winged olives continue
to hatch good. Brown sculpin streamer should
continue to catch some of the larger trout.
11/11/16 The stream levels are just a little low
but in good shape. The weather is wonderful
and it doesn't get much better at this time of
the season. Blue-winged olives and mIdges.
11/18/16 Two good reports from the past
week. The water is getting a little cooler but
still in good shape. Blue-winged olives and
cream midges are hatching.
11/25/16 The stream levels are running normal
and most sections can be waded. Our
customers sent in a good report this past
week. The water is colder and there is some
snow in the forecast.
12/02/16 The stream levels are in good shape
and the water in the high thirties to low forties
in the lower section of the river. Midges, winter
stoneflies and BWOs are hatching.
12/09/16 The stream levels are running
about a normal level. There is snow most
days but mild weather. Midges, creams and
reds, and Winter stoneflies are hatching.
12/16/16 The stream levels are just a little high
and the snow will end tomorrow. The bad news
is the air temperature isn't exceeding freezing
this coming week and we don't recommend
fishing. There will be a lot of slush ice.
12/23/16 The stream levels are back at a
normal level but the water is still very cold,
about 36 in the lower section of the river. It isn't
impossible to catch trout but it will be tough and
midges about the only choice.
12/30/16 Stream levels are fine but the water
is only averaging about 36 degrees. Use
midges and Winter stonefly nymphs in the
lowest section of the river that holds trout.
01/06/17 The stream levels are normal and
the weather should be better this coming
week. Fish the lower section of the river using
Cream and Red midge imitations.
01/20/17 All but the lowest section of the river
is too cold to fish, with lots of slush and bank
ice. The lower part in town and downstream
has water about 34 to 35 degree and Midges
will catch trout. There are reports of clusters.
01/27/17 Still no reports from anyone fishing
but this is remote country and few fish it. The
weather will be a little warmer with no rain or
snow. Midges, creams/reds should catch trout.
02/03/17 The weather is going to be much
warmer and melt a lot of snow and slush ice
in the water. Streamers like our Black or Olive
Matuka sculpin should work good.
02/10/17 The water levels are coming up a little
from melting snow. Fish sculpin streamers
where it is stained. The water should warm up
a little with the warmer weather.
02/17/17 The stream levels are at a normal
level. There is rain forecast through Thursday,
then clearing. The water is a little warmer. Fish
the lower end near Meeker.
02/24/17 The stream is at about a normal
level free of ice in the lower section near
Meeker. Fish midges, Creams or Reds, with
the larva and pupa rigged in tandem.
02/03/17 The water is stained in most
sections due to snow melt. It also tends to
keep the water temp down. Midges are still
the best fly option.
03/03/17 The stream levels are normal and
midges will catch trout. Fish the larva and
pupa rigged in tandem.
03/17/17 The warm weather is melting lots of
snow and ice and raising the water level.
Skwala stoneflies and little Brown stoneflies
have started hatching.