Another week of variable weather. With 21" of snow over the past week, we had 14" fall in the last 24 hours on the mountains. However at the lower elevations it was rain and therefore left little impression after it dried off during the day. The forecast for the remainder of the week is variable with some clear days and the possibility of some more snow and rain. Generally though with temperatures during the day remaining in the high 30's it will be snow only if the precipitation comes during the night at the coldest temperatures.
This long weekend tends to mark the beginning of the busy season leading into spring break. There were a lot of skiers out over the weekend enjoying the great conditions. There were also a lot of fishermen out on the river enjoying the conditions.
As the days get longer and the baetis stonefly nypmhs begin to move about in the water the fishing will be improving lower down the Pan and along the Fork above Basalt. We are already getting good reports of fishing in the Fork around Basalt.
So if you are in town for a ski trip and want a day or so out on the river, the conditions will be excellent and will afford a great opportunity to take off a day from the slopes for a rest in the river.
Current Flow: below the Dam 102cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Midweek the Bureau raised the releases from the Dam so that the Pan is now running at 103cfs. This is good for the fishing conditions as the lower levels which have persisted through most of the winter have tended to push the fish into the deeper water and off the flats. The increased flows will also assist in shifting some of the ice along the edges as the weather warms up.
The past week witnessed some excellent Pan fishing both nymphing and on dry flies. There were great midge hatches with some larger midges coming off. Dry patterns #22 worked particularly well later in the week from midday to the middle of the afternoon. There were a number of fishermen lower down the Pan this week. The fish took small baetis nymphs.
The coming week promises variable weather but it should not get too cold during the day. So the best advice is to dress for winter conditions and enjoy the action.
Recommended Flies: The principal flies now are midges and eggs below the redds. But the baetis nymphs are beginning to move about in the water.
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 baetis begin to move about, try small nymphs such as pheasant tails and rs2's for variety.
Although we had a lot of snow this past week, it was not cold enough to build up any more ice along the river. In some places it was warm enough to cause some of the ice to break free. In addition midweek the Bureau increased the releases into the lower Pan which has broght up the flows into the Fork below the confluence in Basalt by nearly 30cfs.
Recommended Flies: The best results now are nymphing deep with eggs, attractors such a princes and hare's ears, worms, stoneflies and small baetis nymphs.
If you are floating try streamers, particularly heavier flies with enough weight to get down quickly.
Despite the snow this week, at lower elevations the precipitation fell as rain. This has contributed to clearing the Colorado a little more of its most recent ice buildup. The midge fishing in the eddies is excellent as well as the intermittent hatches of BWO's which are beginning to come off.