We certainly had another week of changeable weather accompanied by high winds. The weekend heralded the end of the ski season at both Snowmass and Ajax. Only Highlands remains open until the 24 th April. We had 7" of snow over the past week. When the weather warmed the high winds hastened the melt. Then with the latest cool spell slowed things down for a day or so. Accompanying the increased melt, the Bureau has been increasing the releases out of Ruedi so that now, the lower Pan is running at 242cfs. The next day or so, despite being warm promises some thunderstorms and thereafter it will remain clear and warm for a few more days.
With the Fork now running at 476cfs at Basalt, the increased releases have augmented the melt so now the river is very floatable from Basalt.
A little snow remains at lower elevations so one would expect a little more runoff before this first stage is completed. Then we have to wait for the warmer weather to affect the higher elevations. Already there is evidence of new grass emerging lower down and some trees are sporting a few buds. Spring is definitely here. Contrast that with the latest snow which drove a few herds of deer and bighorn sheep to lower elevations over the past few days.
With the ending of most of the skiing in the area, the numbers of visitors have dropped off quite quickly. So it will be back to great fishing with only a few locals and visitors out on the rivers. Many locals leave town now, so it is an excellent time to get out on the river for the last period before the crowds return for the late spring and summer.
Current Flow: below the Dam 242cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
As the Bureau continues to increase the releases, it is discernible that they are lowering the level of Ruedi. From 66% a few weeks ago, Ruedi is now just above 60% full. It is a pity the Bureau didn't keep releases a little higher during the winter so that it would have benefitted the fish more as well as diminishing the necessity of releasing so much water now. However at 242cf the conditions are excellent as the higher flow flushes out a little of the debris which gathered over the winter.
The midges are coming off well accompanied at various times by BWO's. There are a few caddis flying around as well.
During the week the dry fly fishing was excellent along the Pan from the flats down to mid river. The higher water flow is spreading the fish out nicely. The coming week offers a few cloudy days with the possibility of clearer weather later in the week. The fishing will be excellent as it continues to warm and the higher water gives the fish a little more comfort.
Recommended Flies:There is good fishing now on both midges and BWO's. The principal hatches are midges, but the BWO's are building in intensity.
The quality of the Fork has remained excellent up near Basalt although generally it is not great below Carbondale. A few days of cooler weather did clear it a little for a day or so, but by midweek with the anticipated warmer weather returning, one would expect the Crystal to color up again and make fishing below Carbondale a losing proposition, particularly when the water is perfect up above Basalt.
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.
The Colorado has blown out. Don't bother stopping. Just turn onto HIghway 82 and come up to Basalt.