What a rollicking week we had weatherwise. For several days it was so windy it brought down a lot of trees and debris. We had spent a week doing the usual clean up removing all winter accumulation of debris. Then along came a period of wind of such intensity that we have to start again. Those who suffered cyclonic winds during the week in other parts of the country had a far worse time so one ought to always bear that in mind. But we certainly had a taste. Of course it made for exceedingly tough fishing, particularly rowing down the river. And then we woke Saturday morning to be greeted by 6 inches of snow heralding the last weekend of skiing on Highlands. It has remained wet over the remainder of the weekend with a little respite Sunday morning and then more rain.
And it looks as though this wet weather will continue for the next week with perhaps a small respite midweek. It will be excellent BWO weather so dress well and prepare accordingly. The rain has pushed up the flows in the rivers so that the Fork is not worth floating below Carbondale. It is evident in the increased flow at Basalt which touched 700cfs several days ago and is still in the low to mid 600's.
A continuation of the rain at these relatively warm temperatures will push that up. Currently, the water near Basalt in the Fork has a bit of color but it is certainly fishable. The Pan, of course, is pristine. So the best destinations are the upper Fork or the Pan. Don't waste your time lower down.
Its always fun to catch up with a little local news from time to time. This week we bookmark the decision of a Colorado lawmaker not to proceed with the reintroduction of the spring bear hunt. It was banned in 1991 and since then the stories of bear invasions fill the local papers over the spring including a man who was attacked last year. Speak to the local DOW officers and get their view! But the proposal to reintroduce the spring hunt in some limited form has met its demise because it was "opposed by wildlife advocates who say conflicts occur because people are moving into bears' territory". Really! The frequency of bear visits to the backs of restaurants in Aspen doesn't satisfy that characterization. But still advocacy from an armchair hasn't worked out in a lot of areas so why would this be any different?
It is always interesting to witness how some people think. String a few articles from the local papers together and one gets confirmation that commonsense and rationality are rare commodities. First there is a local article indicating that 19% of local businesses in Aspen did worse than last year, 49% were flat and 29% did a little better. The article noted that the "perception of Aspen" in a pejorative sense was a popular reason given. Reference was made to a March WSJ article noting Aspen as the most expensive town in the US. Why on earth would such a gathering come to such a conclusion and report such mixed results?
Well there is a new AACP plan which aspires to achieve 100% affordable housing mitigation on new developments and basically shuts off most development in Aspen according to some business people .
Or advocates denying non-resident homeowners the right to vote and have a say on matters which directly affect them. Or imposing a new lodging tax and wondering why collections didn't meet expectations.
Monty Python, where are you?
Current Flow: below the Dam 236cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
It was a hard week to summarize in a few words. Winds, rain, snow, some clear days and then more snow and rain. The cold change in the early part of the week put the fish down for a day but then the hatches came on very nicely with some excellent dry fly fishing on midges on the flats. The higher water flow has brought the fish up out of the deeper water so that now they are content to sit in the feeding lanes during the day and take the midges and BWO's as they come off. The size of the flies varies from #30 down to #20 depending on the stage of the hatches. Generally black midges like the FPA Special Emerger, black #22 worked particularly well but the smaller parachute Adams also did well when the BWO's started to come off.
The coming week is promising generally rain and a little snow overnight. So the fishing should be excellent but it will be important to dress well to ensure that when the hatches are on one is not driven from the water by lack of 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.
With the flows having moved up to the 700cfs level a few days ago and now in the mid 600s, the runoff from the lower levels is certainly putting in an appearance, but much of the flow is augmented by the rain and snow over the last few days. In addition the winds over the last few days will have sliced a lot of snow off the exposed levels. So basically, if you want to fish the Fork, come to Basalt and fish from here up. Although there is some color in the water, at the moment there is not too much material so the fishing has been good provided one picks the more sheltered spot.
Below Carbondale, the conditions will not justify the effort, so don't bother to stop there unless there are reports of overnight freezing and evidence that the flow is falling. All indications at the moment are that there won't be any freeze sufficient to bring down the flows from the Crystal.
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.