The past few days have seen beautiful weather. There is a little melt happening at the moment which should make it a little easier getting into the river where it gets a good dose of sun. This weather will persist for the next 3 days until Wednesday when more snow is predicted. The skiing has been excellent however it is nice to have an excuse to take off a day and enjoy a little warmth on the river. The higher sun and the longer days with some warmth will bring spring quickly. We are seeing a lot of fishermen renewing their licenses and getting out on to the river. We have actually been full in the cabins over the last 2 weeks. Some skiers but also some fishermen.
The Pan continues to flow high maintaining excellent winter fishing conditions and protecting the fish for next spring. The Fork is starting to experience some significant fluctuations as the melting snow hits the river and drives up the flow by 100 cfs. The flow is fluctuating between 300 and 400 cfs a day with this warm weather.
As a side note, for those of you who might be contemplating coming out this year and renting the cabins, might we suggest that you do not wait too long to book. We are astounded at the rate at which the bookings are filling up. We already have weeks in July and September which are fully booked. If you want details click on the lodging link on the left. With the high water continuing throughout winter, and the good snow pack the bigger fish will be well rested this winter and not have suffered the usual privations of low water and anchor ice. We think this year will be better than ever.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 160cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
More fishermen are beginning to get out onto the Pan. As the sun gets higher and more of the Pan warms a little there is increased dry fly activity with midge patterns. However predominantly the fish are tending to remain low in the water making deep midges and very small black nymph patterns the most productive. Harry had some success in the sun with dry midge patterns on Saturday. As the weather is predicted to be warm for the next few days that may continue to work in the middle of the day. Generally, Merle continues to report that the best combination is a black midge biot with an egg as an attractor. The large winter flow of 160cfs continues to benefit the river and the fish. When it gets colder later in the week with snow it will settle down a little again. Continue to be careful when landing fish. One does not want them to expend unnecessary energy as their primary source of energy at the moment remains midges.
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 accessing the river as the warmer temperatures melt the ice on some of the accesses. 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 opens 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 particularly as an attracter with a midge. Be prepared to vary the color of the egg a little if it is not getting results. As spring approaches the baetis nymphs will start to move about in the water so be ready with very small nymph patterns. If it is quiet it is worth trying them down deep near the bottom.
With the warmer weather there has been an increase in run-off causing the water flow to begin to fluctuate through each day. The fishing remains excellent lower down with midges with an egg attractor. 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. Harry reports success with medium to larger stoneflies. So try patterns such as mercer's poxyback stone, the roaring fork stone and the 20 incher. A large prince will also work. Use the different sized patterns as the nymphs are growing and therefore they appear in a range of sizes. Ed had good success floating with eggs and midges even though it was colder earlier in the week.
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.