After the spate of cold weather last week, we reverted to a more mild week of autumn. The leaves have fallen and the hunters are in town. The snow may have helped to move the animals around a little. With the prediction of snow and falling temperatures in the coming week it was as if the fish were anticipating the weatherman's prediction. There were excellent hatches during the week and some great dry fly fishing along the Pan.
The forecast is for the temperature to fall with highs in the low 30's and rain or snow. If the forecast is accurate, there will be good snow cover for the opening of the skiing season by Thanksgiving on the local mountains. We have already had quite an accumulation of snow to date, with a current base of 16 inches. The snow that fell along the Pan last week still remains in the shaded areas so we are getting set for a good start to the season.
A strange occurrence this week in Glenwood. Apparently while cleaning the hot springs, bleach was released into the Colorado and reportedly 84 fish died. According to the Glenwood Post, there were 190 gallons of 10% bleach released. That is 19 gallons bleach. It was described as a "maintenance error". Some genius from the DOW was reported as saying that "With a spill like that it's not an ongoing problem. The water dilutes it pretty fast."
Yeah right. Just a few questions.
Given that 8 drops of bleach per gallon is supposed to purify water for drinking purposes, how effective will 19 gallons of bleach be in wiping out microbes and bacteria which is the basis of the food chain for aquatic life in the vicinity?
Has the hot springs discharged diluted bleach into the Colorado at anytime in the past?
Why has this area been known as generally devoid of any large fish whereas the remainder of the Colorado from Glenwood down is a world class fishery?
Where was the bleach supposed to go if not into the river?
If 84 fish are reported dead, what proportion does that represent of the entire population killed off?
The hot springs is a great draw card for tourism and business into Glenwood Springs. It is has a well established reputation. The quality of the Colorado as a fishery is equally attractive as a tourist resource. But its reputation is only now beginning to be known after many years of most excellent work by the DOW in rebuilding the quality of the fishery.
One trusts that this will not be resolved by a mere political determination of the weight of competitive commercial interests. Particularly given that there should be no competition in the drive to attract tourism and business to this area. It should be co-operative. We shall what the outcome of the investigation with a great deal of interest.
Current Flow: below the Dam 78cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Another excellent week of fishing along the Pan this week. Anticipating the coming change to colder weather and snow, the fish fed continually enjoying the hatches of midges and BWO's which included a few PMD's and some October caddis. The mild clear weather was very pleasant. Overnight the temperatures fell below freezing leaving a frost on the ground, but as the sun rose the warmth melted it off.
As the sun sinks lower, the snow from last week remains in those places which remain in the shade all day. With about 6 weeks to the shortest day, the period of direct sun on much of the river continues to fall noticeably. Cloud cover will diffuse the light a little, reducing the contrast.
The forecast of cold and snow in the coming week will abate the hatches and mark the beginning of this years winter fishing season. If we get any quantity of snow, it will stay in the shade and the window for fishing during the day will reduce to the period of direct sunlight and to those areas closer to the dam where the water benefits from having turned over.So if you are coming up, anticipate that the weatherman will be accurate, and dress for winter fishing conditions.
Recommended Flies: There are now midges and BWO hatches with the last of the PMD's and some caddis.
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.
As the larger fly hatches abate the primary interest will be in BWO's and midges through to winter.
With the warm weather this week, the snow which fell last week has continued to melt a little and has further augmented the flows in the Fork. The water remains in excellent condition with the warm days ahead promising some more great fishing and floating closer to Glenwood. Cameron and Mike report that the fishing around Basalt remains excellent with the fish taking a few dries but mostly eggs and attractors fished down deep.
Recommended Flies: The best results now are nymphing deep with eggs, attractors and small baetis nymphs and emergers.
If you are floating try streamers, particularly heavier flies with enough weight to get down quickly.
The big browns are chasing streamers. But generally the best results were from fishing small nymphs eggs and attractors deep down. With the weather having cooled the fish are moving out more from the deepest runs.