The week started out as predicted with afternoon or evening rain for 2 days. But since then it has heated up again. It was in the nineties in Basalt yesterday and almost as hot today. There doesn't seem any respite and we are all looking longingly for the clouds which aren't there. Bright days and pristine water together with a full moon at night have made the fish a little tougher to track down, particularly in the mornings. The next week promises more hot weather with a 20 – 30% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoons.
The fishing reports all around have been very good this week provided one spent the time searching out the fish in the middle of the day or fished well into the evening. Early to mid afternoons on the Fork it has tended to slow down a little and get patchy but the fish were about and enough time spent paid great dividends. The flow in the Fork has dropped a third from last week, the water has cleared and reports have been excellent all the way to Glenwood.
The Pan is also bright, pristine and great fishing. There are a lot of visitors on the river now so the fish will be seeing all manner of flies. Presentation as well as choice of fly is becoming more important as each day passes. The Pan is running at 109cfs. This time last year it was running at 172cfs. It is anticipated that the flow in the Pan won't increase until there is a call on the water from downstream even though the rains of last week pushed the level closer to full than had been anticipated. The low water is certainly making the fish concentrate more in the more protected areas in the bright light. It will be good when the flow picks up as it will spread the fish out a little more and give a little respite from the high summer fishing pressure.
We are certainly enjoying a good year of fishing and we hope to see you come to the area. The floating on the Fork remains excellent with the current water level, but with the persistent heat and falling water level it will not last much longer up high and the traffic will move further down valley.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 109cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The fishing was again excellent this week and the drakes were beginning to come off sporadically mid-river. They have been seen from mid morning to just on dark. The fish are taking drakes even if none are on the water so for those who love the large fly fishing the time is now. The first couple of days of last week saw thunder and a little rain later in the afternoon. However as the week progressed it became hotter getting up to the nineties during the early afternoon.
Wednesday the drakes were coming off mid river during the day. Although they weren't thick the fish responded mostly to emerger patterns behind a dry. The most success on Wednesday was with the strawing drake emerger #12. However as one moved further up the river where the drakes had not come off they merely splashed at the dries and took the PMD emergers.
Merle reported great fishing during the week mid-river on both drakes and PMDs throughout the day. Up towards the dam the fishing pressure was extreme so the better fishing was actually lower down.
Saturday during the day fish took drake emergers and PMD's. In the evening there was an extremely thick midge hatch with a few interspersed PMDs. Towards dark a few drakes hatched as well. As it got dark I tried a parachute PMD with a #18 black midge emerger with a trailing shuck as a dropper. The fish pounded the midge unmercifully and intermittently took the PMD. I fished until I lost the flies in the dark and couldn't see to tie on another. Personally I think if I need a light to fish, then its time the fish had the night off.Sunday was hot and bright again. There was a good hatch of PMD's in the morning and then a second hatch in the evening accompanied by another good midge hatch. The drakes remain intermittent but the fish are certainly on to them.
Recommended Flies: The fish have now adjusted to the lower water again and have moved to the darker deeper areas or the riffles in the bright light. Even in the bright days though fish will be found on the edges in the shade where there is nice cover and protection. It is just a matter of walking very quietly along the bank and offering PMD or baetis emerger patterns when you spot the fish. The lower flow has made wading a little easier. The water is so low and so clear it is now essential to use either 6x or 7x tippet. There is a consistent midge hatch between mid-morning and late afternoon into the evening and the PMD's are now well in their cycle of 2 hatches a day. The fish are feeding solidly on PMD emergers after the hatch starts. The drakes have also begun to come off and are coming off higher by the day. They have been coming off mid-river the last few days and will continue to come off higher as each day passes. Given the patchy drake hatches to date, a combination of drakes and PMDs has worked well.
Early in the day, when the fish begin to feed under the surface you might not be sure whether they are feeding on emerging midges, BWO's or PMD's or a combination so be prepared to experiment. As the fishing pressure increases, the fish will become more selective and will take particular colors and/or sizes as the hatches become more prolific. A little after the PMD hatch try spinners fished low in the water. Merle advises it's best to let them sink well down before the fish get on to 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. Switching to a dry pattern too early can cause you to miss good opportunities. With the bright days for the next week, the fish will seek the protection of the deeper water or the riffles. Otherwise fish in the shade. Depending on the time you start out first use nymphs then move to emergers, cripples and then dries and spinner to finish off in the evenings. 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. The best hatches of BWO's seem to come off in the rain. So it is essential to dress well for the changeable weather even if it looks bright a clear in the mornings.Now that the drakes are coming off up to mid-river they will come off higher and higher up as the week progresses. So at the moment certainly as far as mid-river try drake patterns in combination with others. But wherever you are on the Pan now, look for the drakes. In addition don't overlook the caddis. There are a lot of caddis about close to and after dark. So there is an ample range of hatches to fish to during a whole day on the river.
The conditions in the Fork remain excellent. Ed has been fishing it all week and has reported consistently great fishing all day and into the evenings. The drakes have been coming off and the fishing has been excellent. The best drake fishing is now higher up with reports generally that they have finished towards Glenwood. However the PMD and Caddis fishing has been excellent. In the bright hot afternoons it slows down a little and it is necessary to fish in the shade or with baetis and PMD nymphs. The sparkle baetis #18-#20 and the split case PMD #18 have worked well in the slower part of the afternoon. However later when the hatches pick up the fish will come to the surface again. Towards Carbondale the caddis are prolific in the evenings.
The flow has dropped by a third from last week and it is noticeable in the shallower runs. The floating up high will get more difficult as the water gets shallower and the rowing gets a little more tricky. Before long most of the boating pressure will be lower down below Carbondale. At this time, those with craft which will float in the shallower water will continue to have great fishing for some time.
Steve Stinnett and his buddy sent some photos back from a float with Ed.
Recommended Flies: Above Carbondale use the same flies as the Pan (See our report for the Frying Pan). Generally try PMDs, caddis and BWO's. In addition the green drakes are coming off now so emerger and dry patterns are a must. After a while the fish will get a little choosy from all the offerings so carry cripple patterns as well. Try nymphs until the fish are moving under the surface then try emergers switching to dries only when the fish are taking the flies off the top. Use an orange stimulator as a strike indicator. The fish will attack it and occasionally will take it. The caddis are thick now so caddis pupa patterns and free swimmers as well as dries. Lower down below Carbondale the reports are caddis, BWO's and PMDs. In the hotter afternoon the fishing gets a little patchy but it picks up again towards evening.
The Colorado is in great condition again given the drop in the flow and the improvement in color from the lower part of the Fork. The drakes are finished on the Colorado but the PMD's, baetis and midges are excellent.
Recommended Flies: drakes #10, #12, PMD's #16, #18, baetis #18,20 and midges, both dries and emergers; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller.