The flow in the Pan was elevated a little to 112cfs this week on Monday. Although the weatherman promised clouds thunderstorms and a little cooler weather we were short changed. I did see a cloud or two. And there was a small patch of water on the Pan one afternoon where a cloud had made a momentary mistake. However, the predominant weather pattern was hot bright days. However finally Saturday was closer to the forecast. By mid-afternoon clouds had gathered and it rained lightly until about 7pm. It must have rained a little more near Glenwood and McLure Pass as both Canyon Creek and the Crystal were colored on Sunday morning. Next week the weatherman promises more thunderstorms and hot weather, but given his success to date, keep your options open. In fact we are in a dry spell at the moment which is bordering on a drought. I suspect that the 4 th July fireworks will not take place because of the dry conditions. The flow in the Fork has been settling and is now at 833cfs. Indicating further just how far past the runoff we are, by contrast the Pan was running at 404cfs on the 4 th July weekend last year and the Fork was running at 2420cfs. The run-off is certainly early and over by about 3 weeks compared to last year. Even the Colorado is amazingly clear by normal standards for this time of year. I was speaking to one of the rafting companies this week, and they did not seem too impressed with the season to date. Their interests don’t necessarily coincide with fishing interests but it seemed that the early fast run-off caught them by surprise and has slowed down business for them. It does mean though that this year we will have a great long summer of fishing with excellent water.
This weekend is very busy in town. We have had a lot of visitors, the cabins are full and there are a lot of fishermen on the river. The busy season has certainly arrived.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 112cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The Pan was put up a little to 112cfs during the week. At Basalt however, the difference was not discernible as the tributaries have all dropped significantly so the total flow was little changed. The hot bright days confined the dry fly fishing to the evenings and in the shade closer towards the Dam. Lower down, the fish still remain low in the water despite a good PMD hatch occurring twice a day. There were a lot of grasshoppers about this week in the dry grass so floating a hopper close to the bank will get results now.
Harry reported good fishing towards the Dam with midges as well as BWO's and PMD's. The fish are switching about as the day progresses. Mid-river though the fish remain responsive to PMD and Baetis nymphs behind a stimulator. Alternatively fish nymphs low in the water in the brightest light.
On Saturday afternoon the clouds rolled in and it rained a little from 5 to 7pm. There was an excellent hatch of both midges and BWO's but very few trout took them off the surface. BWO and PMD emergers were successful but the fish only splashed at the stimulator on the surface.
Recommended Flies: The fish have now adjusted to the lower water and have moved to the darker deeper areas in the bright light. With the additional traffic this week along the river the bigger fish have now begun to move to the more protected areas away from the disturbances. There is still less fishing traffic towards Basalt in comparison with the area closer to the Dam but this weekend the traffic is certainly building. 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 have still not moved emphatically to the PMD's so first try midge larva and pupa and baetis nymphs. If you fish with 2 flies put on combination of midge larva/pupa and baetis/pmd nymphs near the bottom. 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. 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. Currently the better dry fly fishing is towards the dam usually later in the afternoon, particularly if it is cloudy. Otherwise fish in the shade. Depending on the time you start out first use nymphs then move to emergers, cripples and then dries and spinners 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.Mid-river the baetis are intermittent at best but the PMD's are coming off twice a day. The fish are not consistently on dries yet so the best success to date has been a combination of nymphs and emergers. If an emerger is fished behind a stimulator or hopper, leave a few feet of line and allow the emerger to drift down until the fish are seriously on the surface. It won't be long before the dry fly fishing mid-river will be excellent. In addition the water is now thick with drake nymphs so use drake nymph patterns, preferably smaller sizes #14 - #18. Hares ears and pheasant tails will also work well. However the key is to keep the flies as low as possible in the water. Don't hesitate to use as much weight as you consider necessary to get the fly to the bottom. You will lose a few flies on the bottom but if you don't you are not fishing deep enough.
The conditions in the Fork remain excellent. Ed has been fishing it all week and has reported consistently good fishing all day and into the evenings. Some fishermen have stayed out until well after dark and have reported strong drake hatches lower down. I floated on Tuesday evening from Carbondale to Westbank and had great results with Stimulators and PMD cripple and emerger droppers. However that evening a change was coming in so the fish stayed a little lower despite a reasonable hatch. Lower down, Alan had great success on a PMD nymph – the anatomical. The fishing is excellent along the Fork and the drakes are on their way up. With the rain on Saturday night, on Sunday morning the Crystal was putting a bit of color into the Fork below Basalt. However by the end of Sunday the water had cleared and the fishing was good again.
Sunday was cloudy and below Catherine's store there was a great green drake hatch which lasted well into the afternoon. In addition PMD's and a few caddis were coming off. Later in the cloudy conditions the BWO's were also coming off. However as the afternoon cleared the hatches abated until the PMD's and midges picked up in the evening. The fish were not feeding a great deal on the surface and the best success was with PMD emerger patterns. Although stimulators, sparkle baetis and drake dries worked during the hatch.
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. 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 work as well as dries.
The Colorado has been in great condition. However the rain on Saturday evening blew out Canyon Creek so that the Colorado was unfishable on Sunday below Glenwood. However the water should clear unless we get more rain and the fishing should be good again. Fish are taking drakes, pmds, caddis yellow sallies and baetis.
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.