Mysis in Colorado carry a mystique of black magic. People have their special patterns to emulate the small crustaceans and for the most part are unwilling to part with their secret recipes. Some of the largest trout in the state and even the country are caught every year on mysis. In certain tailwaters it is a fly that you can never take off, no matter how slow a day has been, you always keep the mysis as the lead fly. This is probably my favorite collection Scott tied this winter, and the one that I want to steal.
If you live in Colorado you are well aware of the cult like following of Mysis Relicta and the tremendous growth rate of fish in the tailwaters that have them. The story in Colorado is one that most know, the introduction of the Mysis was to feed Kokanee, the state forgot to check and see if the salmon could eat the mysis (they couldn’t), mysis take over the lake as they feed on zooplankton, salmon and other species suffer because of this. This would have been the end to another failed government program except that the large bottom release dams where they were introduced made the mysis steroids for the fish living below the dam. The Taylor, The Frying Pan, and The Blue are known as the big mysis fisheries in Colorado all because they possess the proper dam construction (bottom release) and reservoir characteristics (big and deep).
Mysis were released into many reservoirs in Colorado, not just those big three that get published in Fly-Fisherman Magazine every 4 months. Not only were they put into many reservoirs by the DOW, but private citizens have also legally and illegally stocked other lakes with mysis, hoping that fish in the lakes would gorge themselves on the crustaceans. The best report I have found is from 1989, and it details 18 reservoirs where there are mysis shrimp. The study also gives us a little background on when trout eat the mysis in the reservoir and how, for the most part, they avoid predation altogether (they are crafty little buggers). The point being is that there is a lot of water out there, and I’m sure there are big fish that exist places that aren’t the “big 3”. Combat fishing on those rivers is never going to change, but if you have to fish mysis then there are other options for you. If you do try some of these places and the fishing is good, please let me know and I’ll be sure to return the favor.
The only one I might add. My favorite Mysis pattern. I’m not sure you can buy them but Herman DeGala is the one who ties it. Check out his site and you can see what I’m talking about. I’m still learning, I’ll get it figured out by year end.
Edit: It appears his site isn’t working right now, but I’m sure it will soon.