The weatherman was certainly accurate this week with rain and snow down to about 7000feet by Friday. For those who made their way on to the river, the fishing was excellent. However the rain colored up the Pan on Thursday at Seven Castles which in turn put color into the Fork below Basalt. So it was a matter of going either above Basalt on the Fork or above the 5 mile mark on the Pan to get into some clear water. Friday and Saturday were similarly cold with snow and rain. It did not get much above 40 degrees all day on Saturday. However on Sunday the day started off bright, clear and cold and improved so that the afternoon was exceedingly pleasant.
During the coming week the warmer weather is promised to return with the prediction that the temperatures will reach the mid 60's again. The past few days will hasten much activity on the river as fishermen realize that the cold weather will return and one of these times it will remain for the winter. We have had a number of visitors in town who were willing to brave the weather and generally they enjoyed some excellent fishing.
It has been a grand summer and with fall upon us the autumn fishing promises much as well. With the Fork currently running at 445cfs as a result of the rain it will stay higher for a little while as the past few days deposited sufficient snow on the high points to cause Independence Pass to close. If you are coming up and intended using the Pass, check ahead to make sure it is open. Much of the snow remains visible on the higher elevations. It will melt off over the next few days and will therefore augment the flows for a few days longer.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 231cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The cold wet and sometimes snowy weather brought on some excellent bwo hatches during the week. The dry fly fishing was excellent. The fish took a range of patterns. Try #22 and #24 parachute Adams, #20 and #22 blue duns, #18 and #20 loopwing emergers, and #18 PMD special emergers. By Sunday though the weather had cleared and the most productive fishing was back to nymphing with emergers. However there were bwo's in the shade mid afternoon together with a few PMD's. There are still intermittent drakes coming off up towards the dam. Good results on the #18 and #20 beadtail emerger and towards evening #18 brassies as the midges came off in the evening sunlight.
The key to good fishing now is to be prepared to spend time on the river. There will be dull periods during the day but provided your presentation is good and the fly selection correct, there will be success. The pressure on the Pan has dropped off substantially giving ample opportunity now to get onto the river and enjoy some excellent fishing particularly when the weather turns nasty. Although the fishing pressure has abated somewhat, the fish are still wary of bad presentation so spend the time to choose the correct patterns and concentrate on excellent presentation. The larger the fly the easier it is for the fish to inspect it closely and decide that it is not the real thing so try smaller flies if the fish you are stalking is being difficult. The cold and changeable weather is making it essential to take care in dressing for your day out. Don't take any chances so don't make any assumptions with a bright clear blue sky in the morning.
Recommended Flies: With the water level at 231cfs, the level is excellent for the fish and fine to wade. The drakes are now higher up the Pan and modest hatches continue but are becoming more intermittent. There is a consistent midge hatch mid-morning and late in the afternoon into the evening. However with the extremely cold weather of the last few days, the activity in the morning was very low key and it was better to wait until late morning and into the afternoon. The PMD's are continuing to hatch but becoming less prolific. BWO's are also coming off in the afternoons particularly when it is cloudy and overcast. There are also a few caddis in the evenings when it is not too cold. Given the range of options the fish are likely to chop and change as they feed. So if one pattern is not working don't waste too much time. Instead change and try something else and keep changing until you can discern what they are taking. Of course if your presentation is suspect, it doesn't matter what you are using. The fish are now noticeably more selective and may only take particular colors and/or sizes during a hatch. In the midst of a strong hatch there is no reason they will take your fly out of the hundreds on the water if they are all identical. So consider putting on something just a little larger or smaller or a slightly different color which may catch the fish's eye.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. 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. And more than ever be well dressed as a bright hot day can turn cold and uncomfortable very quickly with cloud cover and a little rain.
The rains towards the end of the week colored up the Fork below Basalt for a day but by the weekend the water quality was excellent and the fishing was good. Ed, Chris and Harry all reported great trips during the week using streamers, PMD's and bwos. Ed also reported small crane flies on the Fork which he fishes as a dry.
Most of the success will be from nymphing or streamers. The number of rising fish is very small and more the exception than the rule. So a dry top fly with a nymph or two as droppers or just nymphing is the best way to go. The fish are taking a range of flies from BWO and PMD nymphs and emergers, to caddis, streamers, and the ever reliable combination of princes and san juan worms. Most of the float traffic now is below Carbondale however with the current consistent water level in the mid 400's at Basalt there is still good raft floating if you want to put in the work.
The rains colored up the Colorado again for a few days. However it is clearing again and streamers are working well. Ed has reported some excellent fishing. When it is fishing well it is one of his favorite destinations because of the size of the fish and the fact that they are less wary. At the moment with the clearing water each day there are several bwo hatches followed by a PMD hatch.
Recommended Flies: PMD's #14, #16, baetis #18,20 both nymphs and emergers; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller