Another week of good fishing and great skiing. As I look out the window another snow storm is arriving. In the mountains it is hard to say how long a storm will last or where it will deposit its moisture. Last Thursday for instance we woke to at least 6 – 8 inches of snow on the ground. It was snowing all the way to Glenwood. Yet Aspen hardly got a dusting. The current storm promises to hang about a bit as there is no wind. The weatherman is also predicting snow for the next 24 hours.
The weatherman advises that again the next five days promises changeable weather with the cold returning on Tuesday and Wednesday and snow threatening to return on Thursday. If venturing onto the rivers be prepared for a range of weather but always overdress because one can always remove an outer garment if it gets too hot. There is no respite if one under-dresses.
The water flow and conditions for this time of year on the Pan remain remarkable. On the 11th the flow in the flow in the Pan was kicked up again so that it is now flowing at 160cfs. Do you realize how good that is!? Its fantastic for the fish, they spread out more and have more water to protect them. Furthermore the minimization of the anchor ice means that the nymphs which cling to the surface of the rocks can complete their cycle this year and hatch rather than being scrubbed off by the moving ice and depleting the biomass in that respect for a year or two. The fishing this summer promises to be fantastic. The continued high flow in the Pan also supplements the Fork at Basalt keeping the ice in the Fork to a minimum as well.
Current Flow: below the Dam 160cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The increased flow which occurred on Wednesday is excellent news all around. It means that there is too much water in Ruedi for this time of year and that it needs to drop now to accommodate the run-off in 5 months time! Apart from being excellent for the nymphs which cling to the surface of the rocks and which are vulnerable to anchor ice, the increased flow and deeper water protects the fish and allows them to move about and feed more extensively in quieter parts of the river. This all augers well for a great fishing season this year. The fishing remains good with midges and mysis shrimp just below the dam. Harry continues to have a lot of success with dry midges during the middle of the day. Lower towards town he had most success fishing deep. Now is the time to be careful with the fish when landing them. One does not want them to expend unnecessary energy. In addition, try not to take them out of the water. The cold will freeze their gills very quickly. It is now midges, very small nymphs and maybe a few eggs.
Recommended Flies: The water is very clear and is now well above its usual winter flow so the fish will be more spread out than usual. It will also be a little easier wading as the increased flow has limited or eliminated much of the anchor ice. Make sure you are using light tippet – 7x. There is midge activity when the sun warms things a little although there has not been much activity in the snowy conditions. In the narrow Frying Pan Valley your principal goal will be to find where the sun gets on to the water. Spot the fish feeding as they will not move far laterally to take midges. Try midge larva and pupa before the hatch starts. When the fish begin to feed under the surface, try small emergers; olive biot emergers, size #18 - #22 and black special emergers #18 - #22. Small copper johns are working well. On the surface, use midge dries with emergers in the film as a dropper. Egg patterns will also work well.
The river has been very clear. On Wednesday the flow was pushed up below Basalt when the Frying Pan flow increased to 160cfs. It has been so warm that there is no anchor ice and the banks are exposed. The fishing has been excellent with principally midges. Harry reports success with small nymphs and a cased caddis pattern which he ties. The main thing though is to fish as close to the bottom as possible. So weight the fly so that it catches on the bottom. Then you will know that you are deep enough. Merle also reports good fishing having success on worms, eggs and nymph patterns. This week Merle also had strong success using a #16 black midge with an egg attractor. Other successful flies are small stonefly patterns such as mercer's poxyback stone, the roaring fork stone and the 20 incher. Use the smaller patterns as the nymphs are growing and therefore they appear in a range of sizes.
Recommended Flies: Above Carbondale use the same flies as the Pan (See our report for the Frying Pan). Generally try midge patterns larva, pupa and emerger patterns. For variety try very small baetis nymph patterns. Small stone flies #16 - #12 - try mercers poxy-back, roaring fork stone, 20 incher. Cased caddis patterns will work deep as well. Black and olive beadhead streamers are also working. Also egg patterns.
The water color remains good. The fishing is good. Try midges, and 20 inchers. Also try any nymphs #20 and smaller.
Recommended Flies: midges, both dries and emergers; pheasant tails #16, 18; BWO's #18,20; small copper johns; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; bead head prince nymph red #12 - 16; egg patterns #10 - #18; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller.