We didn't get a report posted last week because of computer problems. But we are up and running again so we are back on track. We have had a stint of really cold weather which has built up the ice along the river banks and confined the flows. Additional snow has augmented the drifts along the side of the road and at access points, but good road maintenance has guaranteed that there haven't been any problems getting into the river.
With the weather have warmed considerably over the last 2 days and the prospect of temperatures in the high 40's over the coming week, one would expect there would be a good deal of melting along the sides of the roads, particularly where the sun lingers the longest. As the days lengthen the period of direct sunlight ensures that the snow cover will not last long now at lower elevations if we get a consistent period of warm weather and bright days. The forecast indicates that early in the week the overnight temperatures will not fall below freezing. So that will really keep the melt going, particularly if we get a little wind as well. The forecast is also calling for some rain and snow at the end of the week, but with the temperatures not falling below freezing, it will more likely be rain at lower levels.
Even though we had 13" over snow over the past week, the base is back to 50inches. With warmer weather and bright sun the base will settle a little more and turn to ice overnight as it melts off during the day. These are ideal conditions for skiers to take off a day or so and rest one's legs in the river.
In local news, a report from the Skico, indicates that the snow conditions are excellent yet business is only marginally ahead of last year. December was very warm and comfortable but we have had some really cold periods over January and into February. This may have contributed a little to the slowdown in business. Yet overall it is good to see things improving. Anecdotally there is work in Aspen at the moment. One young couple indicated that they came here from Ohio a few weeks ago looking for work and both have picked up 2 jobs each in short time. In a more general discussion of the local economy there seems to be a modicum of optimism. But given that much of the employment is driven by the construction industry, there is an evident bifurcation between tourism and building.
Shortly we will be heading into spring skiing and consistently warmer days. The baetis will start moving about more and the stonefly nymphs will be rolling around in the riffles. A few days of warm weather and it will feel like springtime. A welcome change after the cold and a great time to be out on the river.
Current Flow: below the Dam 77cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
During the past week, before the latest cold snap arrived, there were excellent midge hatches affording some excellent dry fly fishing. But as the cold moved in the hatches abated and it was necessary to fish down with midge larva patterns. With the cold passing and the days warming nicely the hatches will pick up again. Lower down river there is a lot of ice about now including anchor ice in some places. But as the weather warms and the river clears the fishing will improve downstream, particularly where the valley widens out and the sun can stay longer on the water.
As we move into February and the days lengthen the baetis nymphs will start to move about. So in the coming week look forward to good fishing with eggs, midges – both dries and larva patterns and try a few baetis nymphs deep down.
Recommended Flies: The principal flies now are midges and eggs below the redds.
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.
The intermittent snow and cold snaps have augmented the ice build up along the river and has created a few ice dams. With the prediction of warmer weather over the coming week, there is every chance that some of the ice dams will give way so take care if you are going out onto the Fork to try your luck. We are getting reports of good fishing now with stone fly nymphs patterns in the wider sections where the ice is more limited in the riffles.
Recommended Flies: The best results now are nymphing deep with eggs, attractors such a princes and hare's ears, worms and small baetis nymphs.
If you are floating try streamers, particularly heavier flies with enough weight to get down quickly.
The cold snap built up the ice along the Colorado in places. But it should clear after the predicted warmer weather in the coming week. Cameron has indicated that the midge fishing has been good along the edges in the eddies. In addition the fish are taking eggs and small baetis nymphs.