15th September - The Bureau dropped the releases from Ruedi by 50cfs today. The next drop is anticipated next week by another 50cfs.
In a moderately schizophrenic moment the Bureau at the behest of the US Fish and Wildlife Service raised the Pan by 60cfs for 2 days and then dropped it again on Thursday back to 324cfs. It was allegedly for the benefit of the endangered species because there had been a dry spell. We did get a little rain on Wednesday, but nothing significant. So who knows the point of the 2 days exercise. It did not affect the fishing at all so it was a non-event in that respect.
The forecast over the next week is for bright sunny days with temperatures ranging up to the mid 70's. The Fork continues to fall a little with the level back below 500cfs after it ran up a little with the increased releases from the Pan. So we will have to see if the US Fish and Wildlife Service have any more tricks up their sleeve this week or whether the anticipated cutback in releases eventuates. Last week Ruedi was reported at 88% full and this week is is 83%. So the level is dropping quickly. This can't go on much longer at this rate.
We attended the Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Denver over the past 3 days. There was not a great deal of interesting items and many of the manufacturers refused to support the AFFTA run show. Its definitely an odd industry in many ways. There appears to be a political battle taking shape with a few school yard bullies trying to manipulate the fate of the show for their own purposes. The truth is, people have long memories and things have a way of rebalancing. These laws of the universe apply even in the fly fishing industry. The venue for the show next year is New Orleans in August. Thye timing doesn't make sense for our part of the country but it seems to make sense for someone.
There were a few new offerings this year. The Hardy Sintrix rod and a few changes to the Hardy/Greys lline of reels. The Hardy/Greys stand was a hive of activity and seemed to be the most interesting offering to the majority of participants. The Sintrix will be available from March 2011. The Greys line will continue to make an impact with the introduction of a $19 flyline made by SA. The price of fly lines is one area which seems to have moved out of the bounds of reality over the years. How can one buy a reasonable reel and a reasonable rod both for under a $100, yet many of the lines range from $70 - $100? It makes little sense and with the advent of more lower cost lines coming onto the market it seems that before long the overall market will have to adjust. Greys seems to be leading the way and at $19 it will make the "low cost" lines from Rio, SA, Cortland and others look expensive.
The Winston BIIIx was also well received and will be starting to be shipped shortly. We will of course offer the new rod with our gift certificate and will have the rod in stock as soon as deliveries start.
There were also a few other developments which are in keeping with the times. Fishpond is going to be under real pressure with William Joseph bringing out a new line as well as other companies bringing out packs. That will be interesting to watch as that market begins to mature and consumers know what they want to buy.
Overall it seems that the industry remains in a holding pattern for the moment waiting to see how the general economy evolves going forward. In a very telling metric consumers obviously preferred to keep their waders for an extra year. Consequently the sales of wader repair kits reportedly skyrocketed.
High end rod sales obviously remained under a lot of pressure as consumers realize that there are rods in the $200 – $350 range which are totally indistinguishable from their $700 counterparts. The most obvious example for us is the Grey's X Flite. Cast the 9' 5wt next to the Sage z-axis 9' 5wt. We have both in the shop. Try and tell the difference and see whether paying twice the price to have the "sage" name on the rod will make any difference to you. Grey's will be renaming the rod the XF2 next year but it will still be the same blank and therefore the same rod.
As we settle into the later summer/autumn fishing season, there will be excellent fishing here for weeks to come. So if you have it in your mind to get in another day or so on the river, don't hesitate. All too soon the weather will change and the regrets will be for that last trip to the river not taken. Time is too short.
Current Flow: below the Dam 324cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
During the week the Bureau raised the releases for 2 days at the request of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and then promptly returned the flow back to 324cfs. It made little discernible difference. The fishing remained excellent all week with Harry reporting the drakes continuing to come off consistently, particularly when there was some cloud cover. A rainstorm on Wednesday brought on some of the best dry fly fishing of the year according to Gary and that is a big call. The year has been excellent and continues in that vein. The higher water continues but by all accounts it can't persist much longer as the allocation owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service has to be fast running out. This week we make get a better window into their intentions.
The coming week promises more warm to hot clear weather so that will certainly mean we will be keeping a watch out for any potential cloud cover in the afternoons. If not the better course will be to fish in the shade. This afternoon for instance, the fish preferred the shaded areas along the edges where they benefited from the slower water and the protection from the bright light. Although they weren't rising they eagerly took olive and gray bodied parachutes floated over the top.So by all reckoning the coming week carries the prospect of more great dry fly activity, particularly if the higher water persists a little longer and extends the drake hatch.
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 following the midweek bump from the increased releases from Ruedi. 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 has the willingness to drag a little over the shallower sections. Most of the float traffic is lower down either from Carbondale or Westbank.
The wading conditions remain excellent as as they days shorten and the shadows lengthen there are more places for the fish to find shaded cover even in the bright clear days which are predicted for the coming week.
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.
If you are floating try streamers, particularly heavier flies with enough weight to get down quickly.
The Colorado remains in great condition. Above Glenwood it looks a little colored but the lower one travels, the clear cold water from the Fork and other tributaries revitalizes and clears it up providing excellent fishing conditions. The preferable method is nymphing deep down with small nymphs and stones.