September 9th - What goes up must come down! Tomorrow the Bureau is expecting to reduce the releases back to 320cfs. Next Monday a decision will be made on the next move by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. As a general comment, one would be expecting the releases to reduce at some time shortly. The US Fish and Wildlife Service only has a certain amount of water they can release and the rate at which it is being released now is rapidly depleting their entitlement. In fact in 2012 almost half of their entitlement will expire and they won't be renewing it.
So for the upcoming weekend, the flow will be back where it was. In fact the increase hardly affected the fishing. Gary and Ed reported fantastic dry fly fishing this afternoon when some rain blew through. Gary says it is some of the best dry fly fishing he has seen in 30 years. So the only relevance of the marginally higher flow was that it made the wading just a tad more difficult. But that is out the window tomorrow. As for the longer term, we will know more next week, but the parameters are quite obvious. There is only a finite amount of water left for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and it is running out.
September 8th - Contrary to expectations, the US Fish and Wildlife Service have increased the releases from Ruedi for their endangered species at Grand Junction. The reason for the increase was given as the hot dry spell over the past week. The Pan is now running at 391cfs. It seems that the first "stimulus" for the endangered species was insufficient and now there is a proposal for more "stimulus".
September has arrived. We are now moving into the period many locals prefer for fishing. It is not as hot. The fish are big and strong and as the drake hatches diminish the feeding seems to take on an added urgency as the trout seem to sense that change is in the air. It is only a short while before the flows in the Pan will be reduced. We are currently running at twice the median and mean flows for this time of year. So it is just a matter of time.
The Fork is in perfect condition and in fact the Colorado has now cleared sufficiently to give rise to some excellent fishing. Ed and Dan have some great photos from this past week from the Colorado in our photo section.
This labor day weekend we had the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival and some more visitors in Town. The weather was perfect although there was a little wind on Sunday for a time. The suggestion is that it might be bringing in a cold change for a day or so. The forecast though is for possible rain for a day or so and then back into the mid seventies.
As the weather cools a little and the rivers are less trafficked the fish will become less wary. As soon as the flows are reduced the bigger fish will remain on the edges and in more accessible water until they are disturbed. It is a great time of year. So if you are considering coming up for a few days, now is the time to plan. With the Colorado back on deck the fishing is excellent in all waters and with less traffic is a great time to experience what our area has to offer.
Current Flow: below the Dam 324cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Some more excellent fishing on the Pan. The crowds have dropped off yet we are still seeing a sustained number of fishermen. The reports from other areas don't seem so positive and many visitors have indicated that they have changed plans to come here because of the superiority of our conditions this year.
The drakes are slowing down, but with the water running at 324cfs the cold temperature has kept the hatch going for an extended period. We still have a few weeks with drakes coming off intermittently close to the dam. The colors are changing a little up high but it will still be a while before we notice a significant change lower down.
The weather over the coming week is predicted to be generally clear with a possibility of some rain early to mid week. Temperatures are generally expected to remain in the 70's which is very comfortable. There is still ample time to enjoy some excellent fishing in warm temperatures with clear blue skies and the mountains in pristine condition.
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.
Thsere are also ants flying around but the wet weather has kept the hoppers in check. So try terrestrials like ant patterns and crane flies.
The Fork continues to settle slowly and the water is in excellent condition. As the flow falls, the level for floating from Basalt is getting low but it is still possible if one is willing to drag a little over the shallower sections. Most of the float traffic is lower down either from Carbondale or Westbank.
With the drop off in the number of visitors and the lower water level, there is ample access where the river is completely untrafficked. The lower flows also permit wading across the river in some places above Snowmass Creek.
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.
If you are floating try streamers, particularly heavier flies with enough weight to get down quickly.
The Colorado has cleared nicely. Ed reports great fishing floating in the clear water and has provided a few photos this week in support. He advises that the best results are from nymphing using anything from stoneflies, baetis nymphs to attractors. There is very little traffic on the Colorado now and so if one is prepared to float the fishing is excellent.