Sunday began with good cloud cover and a cooler temperature. It is a pleasant way to start the day. There was a mild promise of rain over the past week but unfortunately the promise was not fulfilled except for a downpour in the upper Colorado region which colored up the Colorado for several days into Saturday.
We are busy. Fishermen are finding places to pull over the full length of the Pan so there is still plenty of room. The flow in the Fork continues to hold in the mid 500 to mid 600cfs region now at Basalt. As the hot weather persists the question is how long will the Colorado remain relatively cool? If it gets too warm with the present flows, the float fishing will be concentrated on the Fork from Basalt down. And the hard boats will be limited to Carbondale to Glenwood.
The forecast for the next week is for temperatures in the low to mid 70's and the chance of thunderstorms. This will be the best outcome all around with some overnight rain and more moderate temperatures. At the moment the Shoshone power plant is not releasing as much water as expected into the Colorado for its own reasons, so the more rain we get the more reliable will be the flow. Of course, too much rain in the form of a sudden storm, and the Crystal may blow out and we will have a similar occurrence as that which eventuated on Friday on the upper Colorado. This is how it is in August. Sudden weather changes of the tropical kind.
The drakes continue slowly up the Pan. The increased releases which brought the flow up to 254cfs have provided above average levels of cold water which extends the period of the hatch. The drakes are just now at the 12 mile mark so we have a great month of dry fly fishing looking forward provided the flows hold where they are right now. The drakes are also high up the Fork but are almost done as the flows have dropped very quickly and now only wading is feasible. But no mind, that makes for some excellent fishing if one has a mind to walk a little.
There are so many places offering good access with little traffic at the moment, particularly along the Fork. If you are unfamiliar with the area, drop by the shop and speak to one of the guides. We have a policy of trying to have at least 2 guides in the shop during the season to offer some assistance and insights. So you will get the latest information they have available.
We have made a change in the range of rods we are carrying in the shop. We have taken delivery of some Sage z-axis 9' 5weights and are going to blow out the Thomas and Thomas line. In addition we have the Grey X-flite 9' 5weight in stock as well which is an unbelievably great casting rod. So come and visit and have a look if you are in the market for a rod. We are selling the Sage with a gift certificate which can be applied towards a reel.
Current Flow: below the Dam 254cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Another excellent week on the Pan. At some stages, the hatches slowed a little during the day this week, so it was a matter of searching a little and exercising some patience. On Saturday afternoon in the bright light, the fish were on the edges or deep down and became more active only after some cloud cover blew in or in the shade. During the week the fish responded to a variety of offerings from BWOs, PMDs drakes, caddis and terrestrials. But it can get a little tough in the middle of the afternoon if the fish don't fell protected. In addition the moon is waning now, and passed nights with clear skies and a full moon tended to slow things down in the mornings.
Harry and Mike reported some great dry fly fishing all day Sunday, as the cloud cover gave great impetus to hatches. Harry said there were a lot of drakes coming off at 12 mile and Mike said there were good drakes and PMD's lower down.
The coming week should remain excellent. There are no plans at this point to change the flows from the Dam and with the prediction of cooler weather and overnight rain, if the forecast is accurate the conditions will remain perfect. The clouds in the afternoons are reliable so unless you want to be out on the river all day, fish the mornings, take some time off in the early afternoon and then go back out onto the river when the clouds are beginning to put in an appearance. Be mindful of electrical storms though. We haven't had many this year to date.So the outlook for the coming week should be excellent fishing. If you are new to the Pan and are unsure on access, drop by the shop and speak to one of the guides about best access points. There are plenty of places to pull over, and generally if there are only one or two vehicles parked, given the spacing of the pull offs, there will be plenty of access.
Recommended Flies: There are now midges, PMD's Caddis and BWO hatches to choose from. The drakes are coming off up most of the way up now.
There is a morning and an evening PMD hatch. Currently the fish are taking emergers #16 and #18 fished down. Try Barrs emergers, the bubbleback, and the FPA PMD beadtail emergers. In addition try the comparadun pmd, the grizzly wulff and the fpa special pmd emerger.
For caddis try the elk hair #14 and #16 olive as well as emergers.
For baetis, the fish will take tiny baetis nymphs like tiny pheasant tails. So try small black and olive patterns #18 - #22 as well as brassies to get them down. The fish are also taking BWO emergers, so use the FPA baetis emergers, the sparkle baetis, rs2's and other small emerger patterns. In addition for dry fly activity try adams, extended bodies, matthews and parachute adams. Lighter colored bodies such as the grizzly wulff will also serve as PMD 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.
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.
For drakes, try the straw wing emerger #12 and when the fish are rising to the natural try the hairwing dun, the wulff patterns and the flavilinea. We have nearly 400 drake patterns in the shop so there should be something no-one else has tried that day.
The flow has held up nicely in the Fork with some rain during the week and the higher flows from the Pan. With the promise of temperatures in the mid 70's during the coming week and the possibility of later afternoon thunderstorms and rain, there is every reason to believe that the flows will remain in this region for a while. Moss is beginning to appear along the river bottom as the warm weather progresses and the water warms so bear that in mind while nymphing.
The Fork traffic is now showing signs of the formation of the Spanish Armada from Carbondale down as the Colorado gets warmer. The color in the Colorado last Friday was a good example when the upper Colorado blew out forcing the floaters to repair to the lower Fork. We are currently working on a new put-in for our guided float trips which will give us a great advantage in offering excellent floating and avoiding the crush of the Carbondale mischief. We will have details shortly.
Recommended Flies: Try baetis, midges and PMD nymphs in the morning. In addition in quieter areas where there are a lot of midges coming off, try black and gray midge emergers. Try small baetis nymph patterns such as pheasant tails #18 - #24. Baetis emergers try RS2, the crystal hunchback, juju baetis, the mighty mite, icebreakers and the FPA sparkle baetis - #18 - #24.
As the day progresses in the faster water try caddis emergers and dries with baetis and PMD emergers. Try Barrs emergers, the bubbleback, and the FPA PMD beadtail emergers.
In the evenings try big stimulators and drake dries as the drake hatch comes off higher up abover Basalt. The drake hatch continues to move up river. So take dries and emergers along as well as drake nymph patterns.
If you are floating try streamers, particularly heavier flies with enough weight to get down quickly.
The Colorado has been colored up for the past few days as a result of rain in the upper Colorado. It has been raining this evening and Cameron says it is raining heavily down valley so it remains to be seen whether the Colorado will remain clear over the next day.
With the prediction of more rain and cooler temperatures it is possible that the Colorado might continue to be a little unreliable. The best course is to call the shop and get an update for the latest conditions. If there is any doubt, head to the Fork and see how it looks below Carbondale.
Recommended Flies: The best result will be from nymphing although the evenings have been affording some nice dry fly activity. For nymphs try baetis and pmd nymphs as well as stones. In addition with the yellow sallies, try smaller stone nymphs. Interestingly a lot of crane flies have been flying around earlier than usual so terrestrials should be considered if the weather remains hot dry and windy. So try hoppers, beetles and cricket patterns.