The cold weather arrived with a vengeance during the past week. In addition we have had over 2ft of snow which has totally transformed the terrain. During the week a few hardy souls stood in the river as the surface ice floated by. The fish took midges down deep but continually removing ice from the guides reminded one that it was indeed cold. With such cold conditions, take care when handling the fish. If the water freezes on the rod guides, just think what it will do to the wet gills of a fish if they remain in the air for more than a moment.
For next week the weather forecast is for it to warm just a little and be clear. Overnight it will get cold again but it should be reasonably pleasant in the sun during the day. We are certainly looking forward to some excellent skiing in the coming week.
With winter condition well upon us, be well prepared and dressed and take something hot in a thermos to warm you from time to time.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 83cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Fishing this week in the cold and snow was a little more than a mild contrast to just a few months back. The fish responded to black WD-40's #20 , red chironocones #20, and a garcia's rojo midge #22 fished down deep. However having to remove ice from the rod every few casts convinced one that there were warmer places to be. The current flow should keep the river relatively free of any anchor ice. However as the sun gets lower over the next 3 weeks, the darkness of the narrow frying pan valley will raise the risk if it remains very cold. Now that we are well into winter conditions, take care when handling the fish. Leaving a fish out in the air when it is so cold will cause the water to freeze and damage the gills potentially causing irreparable harm to the fish. In addition, land the fish and release it quickly to limit the amount of energy expended. Sometimes if I can't remove a hook quickly enough I will just break off the line. The fish are now confined to restricted diets for the next 3 months so it is important to let them alone as much as possible so that they will survive the winter in reasonably healthy condition.
Recommended Flies: Wait for the sun to hit the water before venturing out. Then follow the sun. In the coming week fish midges deep and then if they start coming off in the sun fish closer to the surface. With the cold weather and the beginning of the ice build up, the fish will be sitting deeper in the water where it is a little slower, so fish down to them until they start to come up to emerging midges. In addition with the browns on the redds still spawning take care not to disturb them. Instead fish downstream with egg patterns where other fish will gather to feed on them.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. When the fish are taking midges they won't move much to take them so fish as accurately as possible and continually adjust your weights to ensure that the fly drifts down or up to the level of the feeding fish.
The cold has slowed the run-off despite the snow, so now the river is at 216cfs. This is well below the mean for this time of year and close to the lowest flows recorded in the last 7 years. In the coming week the higher temperatures may increase the flow a little. There are midge hatches in the sun. Streamers and eggs will work as well.
Recommended Flies: Use the same flies as the Pan. (See our report for the Frying Pan). In addition use streamers, san juan worms and egg patterns. Generally try midges. Try larva and pupa patterns until the fish are moving under the surface then try emergers.
The Colorado should remain clear over the coming week. There continues to be good fishing with similar patterns to the Fork only a little larger.
Recommended Flies: midges, larva, pupae, dries and emergers; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller and try egg patterns.