Last week we reported that the releases from Ruedi started earlier than anticipated. This week we report that the releases finished earlier than anticipated! It seems that the water control is all over the place. From last Thursday the Bureau began dropping the flow in 50cfs increments twice a day so that by Tuesday morning when everyone has gone home after the long weekend the releases will be back to 250cfs. The Roaring Fork is also running hard. On Tuesday it was running at 3,500cfs at one stage. Taylor creek also hit its high on that day. It has been dropping since and the water has cleared so it is fair to say that the consistent hot weather and wind have cleared the snow pack at the lower and medium elevations leaving snow only at the highest points. For the next few days it is predicted to be a little cooler with the temperature in the 60's and in the 30's overnight with a chance of a thunderstorm or two. However later in the week it will get hotter again.
From here on in the fishing will be excellent and the water quality will be great for this time of year. The early peaking in the run-off means that the water, while running strongly, will have passed its highest point and therefore will be passing over clear ground, the debris having been cleaned out at the height of the run-off. The other observation is that it has been unseasonally dry with very few of the predicted thunderstorms having come to fruition. So there has been little additional precipitation to augment the runoff at this point. We are in the mountains of course and that could change at any minute, but so far we are in a dry spell.
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 already have July totally booked as well as the first three weeks of August. September is almost fully booked as well. If you want details click on the lodging link on the left.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 442cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
By Tuesday next, the releases from Ruedi will be back to 250cfs, the big fish will be moving back to deeper water after having had to shift during the highest flows. In addition, it appears that the run-off in the catchments for the tributaries below the dam have peaked so there will be less water feeding into the Pan. It will be great fishing all the way to Basalt. The Fork will still be running high so the best and clearest water will be on the Pan. During the highest water flows it was still possible to catch fish in the quiet backwaters. They took 20inchers, sparkle baetis and icebreakers. However now that the pan is getting back to normal it will be back to the standard fare for this time of year.As the river is coming down the water clarity is excellent. The bottom of the river has been cleaned nicely in places and gravel and rocks are visible where there was mud. The fish however remain wary and close to the bottom. I saw a number of fish lying very low and not feeding. One took a chironocone #18 but generally they were not in the mood. Another fish took a san juan worm.
Recommended Flies: Over the next few days as the flow in the Pan recedes and the water moves back to its traditional summer level, the fish will be a little wary as they adjust to the lower water. The lower flow will also make wading a little easier giving greater access to the river again. The water has cleared substantially and is getting back to its traditional pristine color, so make sure you are using light tippet, either 6x or 7x. There is now a consistent midge hatch between mid-morning and late afternoon into the evening. Try midge larva and pupa before the hatch starts. If the hatch appears lackluster, use bead head pupa patterns allowing them to drift down. When the fish begin to feed under the surface, try small emergers; olive biot emergers, size #18 - #22 and black special emergers #18 - #22. 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. Switching to a dry pattern too early can cause you to miss good opportunities. On the surface, use midge dries with emergers in the film as a dropper. Also try Griffiths gnats #18 - #24 and parachute Adams #18 - #22. The baetis nymphs are now about in the water so be ready with very small nymph patterns. Use sparkle patterns such as the sparkle baetis, the flashback and rojo pheasant tails and the icebreaker. Also use a choronicone #20 or other pupa patterns as a dropper. It has been working very well when things slow. There have been a few baetis hatches so the dries have worked a little. Towards the dam the hatch usually occurs midday to early afternoon if it is cloudy but it is still a little intermittent. As the fish adjust to the lower water and start to look up again, they will be taking more dries. They will be tentative as they adjust to the lower level but soon the rainshowers will bring on great baetis hatches and dry fly activity.
The Fork is currently in full run-off mode. It peaked at 3,500cfs on Tuesday but since then it has settled back to 3000cfs varying through the day to coincide with the height of the melt on the previous day at the hottest temperatures of the day. Currently it is just a little cooler but is windy so the run-off will contiune consistently and it will only be with a burst of heat that it may get any heavier. Shortly the highest run-off point will definitely have passed and the fishing will be excellent, particularly for floating. There is still fishing high up above a lot of the tributaries, it is just a matter or searching out where the water is not too colored.
However lower down the water is still too colored to fish comfortably and the Crystal continues to add a lot of material below Carbondale.
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. The caddis are thick now so caddis pupa patterns and free swimmers.
The generally increased flow in the Fork, the water below Carbondale from the Crystal and the continuing the work on Shoshone have contributed to make the Colorado practically unfishable at the moment. If you want to try a fish it 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.