We have had well over 2ft of snow since it turned back into winter again. Currently the weatherman is predicting that the weather will settle down. Although there are predictions of rain/snow over the next few days, the 10 day forecast indicates it will be warming up and mostly sunny. This will begin the melt again particularly as the temperatures are predicted to range up to the high 40's and low 50's.
The cold weather has kept the fluctuations in the flow down however last Tuesday was a beautiful warm day out of character with the rest of the week. On that day the level fluctuated by 100cfs as the latest snow started to melt. It was similar on Thursday although not as pronounced. Currently the water is running at 357cfs near Basalt and the predicted warmer weather promises to melt off a little more snow.
The fishing has been excellent with the stoneflies starting to molt in the Fork at this time of year. The midges has remained thick on the Pan although the storms passing through have slowed them down during the afternoon.
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 July totally booked and September almost fully booked as well. 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 - 163cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The midge fishing has been excellent during the week. Merle reported excellent fishing yesterday until a storm arrived in the afternoon. Alan had a great day on Saturday with black midge parachutes. Today started out will blue skies but with the promise of a storm tonight. It got colder as the day progressed. The colder weather coupled with the change in pressure put the fish lower as the day progressed. There was not a great deal of dry fly activity. There was a nice hatch for a little while mid-river from midday but by 1pm it had quietened down. There were a few midges on the surface so the emerger patterns worked well. As the fish then dropped lower it was necessary to fish a larva pattern down to them. The black beauty #20 worked fine. Today larger patterns did not work as well. By evening the temperature had dropped further and light snow was falling.
Recommended Flies: The water is very clear and remains well above its usual winter flow so the fish are still more spread out than usual. It is getting easier to access the river as the warmer temperatures melt the ice on some of the accesses. The coming week should see further melting with the warmer weather. 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. There is good fishing now the full length of the Pan. 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. Also try Griffiths gnats #18 - #24. 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. The baetis nymphs are starting 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.
The fishing in the Fork has been particularly good with both small and larger stone flies. They have started their molt and the fish are taking the opportunity to feed on them as they tumble through the water. Some of the guides prefer patterns on curved hooks, because that more closely approximates the insect as it washes through the shallows and is tumbled about. Ed says that the fishing is excellent lower down with midges and stoneflies. Harry is still having success a little higher up with a combination of larger stoneflies and a caddis pupa. Merle is also reporting great fishing mid-river around Basalt with stoneflies of all sizes. The key 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. 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. Also try larger midges. Merle and Ed have both been succeeding with midges in the #16 - #18 range.
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. Stone flies #16 - #10 - 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 remains colored and will get worse this week as the latest snow begins to melt off in the coming warm days. As the Colorado is lower down, it will be coloring up quickly unless it gets colder again as it did last year. At this time of year the Colorado can provide excellent fishing provided the water is not too dirty. Try midges, baetis and 20 inchers. So try any nymphs #20 and smaller. If you are down that way and are dissappointed with the water, come to mid-valley where the Fork and Pan will offer you the best conditions for fishing.
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.