It been another great snow week after the earlier cold. The snow pack continues to accumulate. We have the X games on at the moment in Aspen so there are a few people in town. There are a few fishermen about but with the great snow conditions and the colder weather, the slopes are more inviting for them than coming down valley for some fishing.
The cold during the week caused some ice and snow to build up on the sides of the Roaring Fork above Basalt making the fishing difficult. But the Pan and the Fork below the confluence at Basalt is more accessible and clearer. There is some ice floating down the Fork even lower down. With the releases from Ruedi remaining high, the best fishing is therefore on the Pan at the moment. From Monday the coldest weather should be departing although there is a prediction of more snow over the next 4 days. As it warms a little the snow will get heavier. This makes for tired legs and calls for a trip down valley to take a day off.
We'd love to see you if you are about. So take the opportunity to drop by the shop and catch up on old stories from last year and begin composing some new ones for next season.
Current Flow: below the Dam 160cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The Pan continues to run at 160cfs which is more than twice the flow at this time last year. The fishing remains good with midges and mysis shrimp just below the dam. Merle and Mo have been out this week and report that the best combination is a black midge biot with an egg as an attractor. In fact in Merle's opinion anything small and black is working including pheasant tails as the small nymphs begin to move about in the water. In his view the best midge fishing of late has been up close to the dam. The unusually large winter flow has augmented the fishable areas markedly. 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. Generally fish down deep as the fish generally remain close to the bottom. However, there is midge activity when the sun warms things a little although there has not been much activity in the snowy conditions. The sun is beginning to get noticeably higher touching the water in more areas. This is beginning to open up the Pan a little more to good midge hatches. 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 remains clear. The colder weather has dropped the flow a little and the ice has built up above Basalt. The floating ice is generally making the fishing difficult. The fishing has been good lower down with midges. 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. 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.