This week took a full turn in the weather. It started out cold and wet and then mid-week it warmed up nicely and dried out as expected. However the week has ended cold and wet again. The rain on Saturday was not expected and now the weatherman has changed his prediction for Monday through Tuesday to rain and snow. However Sunday turned out to be a beautiful clear day so it is possible that the spate of wet weather has passed us by.
With the Pan running at 118cfs we are getting close to typical conditions for this time of year. The rain and snow of late has pushed up the flows in the tributaries a little. The cloudy wet conditions are making for excellent conditions on the Pan for BWO's. With the recent winds most of the trees have shed their leaves so the water is a little clearer of foliage.
On the other hand the Fork is currently running at 514cfs and rising with the rain over the weekend so it is higher than normal and will probably run even higher over the next few days if the predicted wet weather continues through to Wednesday. So check with the shop to get an update on the weather if you are considering coming out.
Although the numbers of visitors has dropped off there is still a healthy complement of fishermen on the rivers enjoying the last that the season has to offer. We are now expecting the arrival of hunters as the season switches over. The current wet weather will be good for them as the undergrowth will be damp and therefore softer and quieter for walking. However with the expected snow up higher there is always the chance of getting unexpectedly snowed in if one does not take care. So whether one is fishing or hunting the changeability of the weather should never by underestimated.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 118cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The cloudy wet weather at the beginning and the end of the week was accompanied by some good BWO hatches. Mid-river there are still a few PMD's coming off as well. Earlier in the week during the rain the PMD's were surprisingly strong mid-river and the fish preferred PMD emerger patterns such as Barr's emerger #18 and #20. Up higher though the fish keyed in to the BWO's with Lawson's no hackle #18 and #20 working particularly well. As usual when the hatches quietened down the fish kept feeding lower down and took nymphs and midges such as the choronicone #18.
The fishing on the Pan on Sunday was good and enjoyable. There was a nice BWO hatch in the shade during the bright sun as well as a few PMD's coming off mid-river. The fish took a range of flies from pheasant tails #18, sparkle baetis #20, beadtail emergers #20, #20 crystal hunchback, Lawson's no hackle #18 and PMD dries.
Be prepared to spend time on the river and dress well. There will be dull periods during the day but provided your presentation is good and the fly selection correct, there will be success. The pressure on the Pan has dropped off substantially giving ample opportunity now to get onto the river and enjoy some excellent fishing particularly when the weather turns nasty. The lower flows will confine the fish a little more as they are disturbed by easier wading conditions. Although the fishing pressure has abated somewhat, the fish are still wary of bad presentation so spend the time to choose the correct patterns and concentrate on excellent presentation. The larger the fly the easier it is for the fish to inspect closely and decide that it is not the real thing so try smaller flies if the fish you are stalking is being difficult. The cold and changeable weather is making it essential to take care in dressing for your day out. Don't take any chances. One thing is for certain now, at some time during the day it will be cold.
Recommended Flies: With the flow in the Pan having dropped to 118cfs the fish will be moving into the deeper holes for a little protection. The river is now very accessible and the fish are a little spooky in the shallower water. However with the predicted wet and cloudy weather for the next few days, the fishing should be excellent with the BWO's continuing to hatch from midday on. The PMD's are continuing to hatch but are less prolific. The fish remain particular as they feed but as the options narrow the flies are getting smaller. So if one pattern is not working don't waste too much time. Instead change and try something else and keep changing until you can discern what they are taking. Of course if your presentation is suspect, it doesn't matter what you are using. The fish are now noticeably more selective and will take only particular colors and/or sizes. In the midst of a strong hatch there is no reason they will take your fly out of the hundreds on the water if they are all identical. So consider putting on something just a little larger or smaller or a slightly different color which may catch the fish's eye.If you are fishing to rising fish, don't fish too shallow too quickly. Even if you think the fish are feeding just under or on the surface, persist with keeping the fly lower until there is no question that they are on dries. Watch carefully and discern whether the fish are taking mergers or dries. If you don't take care and switch to a dry pattern too early can cause you to miss good opportunities. Start out with midges then BWO's as they come off. Then by evening the fish will be back to midges if they are still feeding. There are still a few PMD's about so be prepared to try one if you are not getting results. It promises to be a long day so consider starting to fish later in the day so you can fish well into the evening. If it starts to rain, keep fishing. And more than ever be well dressed as a bright day can turn cold and uncomfortable very quickly with cloud cover and a little rain.
The week started out with the Fork running quite high as a result of the rain at the end of last week. However by mid-week the river had settled down nicely again until Saturday when the rain pushed it up a little to be currently running at 514cfs. It is still 100cfs lower than last week but the rain during Saturday and Sunday will push it up a little more. At the same time last year is was running at 442cfs.
With the weekend rain and predicted continuing wet weather, if you are considering fishing the Fork the clearer water will be found above Carbondale and the confluence with the Crystal. The Fork is running higher than normal at the moment and will tend to run higher if the predicted wet weather continues into mid-week. However with the flow from the Pan back to winter levels the flows higher up are excellent for good fishing and the water is currently clear. Today for example despite the rain yesterday the color of the Fork above Carbondale was excellent. So provided the rain does not come in a sudden downpour, in all likelihood the water conditions will remain excellent, certainly above the Crystal.The number of rising fish is very small and more the exception than the rule. It is best to nymph down deep and keep experimenting with weights if the fish are not responding and you are certain you have the correct fly on. The fish are taking a range of flies from BWO and PMD emergers, midges, streamers, and the ever reliable combination of princes and san juan worms. Small bwo nymphs and emergers continue to work well. The smaller the better. With the current flow, it is possible to raft from Basalt if you want to put in the work in the shallower sections. However most of the float traffic now is below Carbondale. Another thing to note below Carbondale is the greater incidence of slime on the bottom. Fishing deep therefore has the disadvantage of forcing one to clean off the flies more regularly than one would like.
Although the river has cleared since the heavy precipitation at the end of last week, the latest rains may cause the Fork to put more color into the Colorado so check before you go out. When it is clear though there is good fishing.
Recommended Flies: PMD's #14, #16, baetis #18,20 both nymphs and emergers; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller