The fishing currently is spectacularly good. Just look at the photos from the past week. A picture is worth a thousand words – and we have more than a few. Truly it is hard to overstate the quality of the fishing at the moment. In addition just look at the quality of the fish! You can travel around world looking for trout fishing like this in late winter and its right in your back yard.
We have had great fishing all along the Pan, from Aspen down to Glenwood and along the Colorado. So if you are in town or have a mind to break out your equipment for the season, the next week would be an excellent time to start.
The coming week should be equally good with predictions of rain and sleet lower down with some more snow at higher elevations. The past week saw 19inches fall on the ski fields, but at lower elevations most of the precipitation was sleet and rain, and if there was any snow it melted as soon as it hit the ground.
Despite the snow over the week there is actually less snow on the ground now than there was a week ago. In addition the Fork is not showing much evidence of any melt yet with the flow at 214cfs being lower than a week ago. Overnight the temperatures have been below freezing over the past few night slowing any potential melt which starts a little during the day. As soon as the overnight temperatures remain above freezing, the evidence of some run-off will begin.
By next weekend we will be into Easter, and only a week after that to go for the ski season. Highlands and Buttermilk close on the 4th April and the rest of the slopes close a week later. It has actually been a good ski season with the recent snows really augmenting the slopes nicely. Usually the quality has deteriorated by the now and many of the locals have hung up their boards for the season. But not this year. And the fishing has benefited from the snow and cloudy days. So while these current conditions persist, if you have it in your mind to get out on to the river, do so. There is no time like the present.
Current Flow: below the Dam 69cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The flow in the Pan has ticked up to 75cfs, but nothing is noticeable. The dry fly fishing was excellent during the week with midges and BWO's coming off in the inclement weather. And when they weren't rising, the fish were taking emergers, larva and nymphs.
The fish were rising nicely on Sunday as a succession of midges and BWOs came off. The fish took small parachute adams, FPA special emerger midges #22 and #28. The conditions called for light tippet – 9x and 10x in the slower water, but if one fished where there was a little disturbance 8x worked fine. Lower down the fish continued to take small rs2s and baetis nymphs as well as midge emergers.
The fishing is truly excellent and remains so. We are talking about world class dry fly fishing in late winter/early spring, with the hofers getting stronger and more aggressive by the day. Many of last years stocking are now 16" – 18" and in excellent condition. And if one hooks one on light tippet [8x and lighter] on a #28 dry fly and the fish takes off, it is more a matter of good luck than good management whether one can get the fish under control. I have been using the Hardy "Stream" and "Test" respectively #3 and #4 wt fiberglass rods. They are both very soft tipped rods and enable one to handle these fish when a stiffer graphite rod would just not do the job. Truly, if you enjoy dry fly fishing with very light equipment it is hard to improve on this. And next year when the fish are a year older and a few pounds heavier it will be "goodnight nurse". For bamboo afficiandos, it would also be a great opportunity to test your rods on some of these fish.
There are mostly midge hatches but a few BWO's are starting to come off internittently near the dam. The fish will take tiny baetis nymphs like tiny pheasant tails if they see them enough. So try small black and olive patterns #24 and #26 as well as brassies to get them down. The fish are also taking BWO emergers now, so use the FPA baetis emergers, the sparkle baetis, rs2's and other small emerger patterns.
The midges will come off during the day, particularly if it is sunny. So try WD-40's #20, red and black chironocones #20, brassies #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22, copper johns #18 - #22, black polywings #18 - #22 and garcia's rojo midges # 18 - #22. Mike reported great success this week on smaller black midges such as the miracle midge.
As they come off try the gray loopwing emergers #20 - #22, the FPA special emergers, biot emergers both with and without the trailing shuck and gray RS2's #18 - #22. In addition try dry patterns such as the z-wing real midge, suspended midge and any similar dry black and gray patterns in sizes from #20 through to #26, loopwing emergers #20 - #22 and FPA special emergers #20 - #26.
The 19inches of snow and has had hardly any effect on the Fork and with it running lower than this time last week at Basalt, it is evident that we are not seeing much melt at all. The fishing is excellent in the Fork from Aspen down with fish taking midges, baetis nymphs, stoneflies and attractors.The best way to fish the Fork at the moment is wading. It is still a little low for floating although a craft that draws little will be able to get down from Carbondale. The going would be better closer to Glenwood where the river narrows down to concentrate the flow a little more.
Recommended Flies: The midges are getting more prolific and larger as we approach spring. In addition to midges, the stone fly nymphs are starting to move about in the water. Beatis are also moving about as well and coming off intermittently. The most reliable results now will be nymphing with eggs, princes, midge emergers, hare's ears, 20 inchers and other attractor patterns.
The fishing is excellent on the Colorado from Glenwood down. Mike and Ed floated and reported excellent fishing on baetis and larger midges deep down. Cameron is still reporting excellent dry fly fishing in the big eddies.
Recommended Flies: eggs, attractors, stonefly nyphs, baetis nymphs and midges.