June 23rd - Further Update. The Bureau has just indicated it is dropping the flows by another 100cfs today. So tomorrow it will be running at around 632cfs after adding in about 65cfs for Rocky Fork. Last night was the hottest it has been at Thomasville for 20days. Today is hot as well. If the flows don't go much higher tomorrow, that means that for all intents and purposes, the peak has passed. The Bureau will then have to cut back quickly over the early part of next week. So taking a guess, if the temperatures are hot all day and the flows at Thomasville are not much higher tomorrow or the next day, in order for Ruedi to be filled the releases will have to be cut back to around 300cfs over the next week. Just an educated guess!! Anyway, the fishing this weekend will be great and as Rocky Fork drops, the flows could be closer to 600cfs by the end of the weekend. So get ready for some great fishing.
June 23rd - The Bureau dropped the releases last night so that the Pan is now running at 732cfs. It seems that the run-off has stabilized. The graphs of the rivers indicate that overnight the flows went up, but not much and given that yesterday was hot here one would have expected a bigger jump. Today is hot as well, so we'll see what happens overnight. But Ruedi is not filling as quickly as it was and is now 88.6% full. The flow at Meredith over night hit just over 1000cfs but now is at 947cfs and falling through the day. The low yesterday was around 700cfs so if it doesn't pick up much more after a day or so of hot weather, the Bureau will have to cut back the releases again shortly in order to fill the reservoir. Tomorrow we will know more, particularly if there is another cutback tonight. If this drops fast the releases will come down very fast in order to fill Ruedi.
Wow!! What a difference hot weather makes. The best laid plans of the Bureau just went out the window. The melt gathered such a pace they had to jack up the releases dramatically so that the Pan is now running at 800cfs. That was a jump of about 400cfs in the releases. The mean for this time of year is 338cfs, less than half the current flow. That gives one an idea of the change in just a week.
The inflow has jumped so much the reservoir is at 86%. Last week it was 77%. So it is filling at the rate of more than 1% a day meaning that at the current rate it would be full in less than 2 weeks. Of course, that depends how much snow is left. Last week the catchment was 272% of average. Today it is 214%. So a lot of snow melted last week. This is confirmed by the Independence Water year graph where the Snow water equivalent is now below the average.
Looking at the inflows as Thomasville, the peak flows have dropped from over 1000cfs 3 days ago to a peak last night over 800cfs. This may have more to do with the colder temperatures than any indication that we have peaked yet. This is also reflected in the Maroon Creek graph which had a peak 3 days ago in the fork over 2000cfs whereas the peak last night was 1500cfs. Other graphs all indicate a similar profile. The Fork at Basalt was over 5000cfs 3 days ago and last night was 4000cfs with a current reading of 3690cfs.
What does all of this mean? Well the forecast for the coming week is for possible thunderstorms over the next day or so and temperatures ranging to highs mostly in the 70's. This cooler weather will slow the melt and, if the rivers stay where they are, the water though high will be relatively clear and offer some excellent fishing. I am still not confident that the peak has been reached, but if the melt remains at its current pace and the weather doesn't get much hotter for a week or so, it is possible that this past week has put a serious dent in things and we may not see the same record highs.
We had our second kids camp this weekend and it went very well. The high rivers meant that the fishing was confined to our ponds but that worked out fine. We will have some photos next week.
At our Durango store, some water cleared nicely in some of the high mountain streams. And the releases into the San Juan dropped back to 500cfs making that great fishing again. So if you want some good fishing in the coming week and feel the levels here are too high, there are some great opportunities on the waters down there now. Have a look a these photos I posted today on the San Juan Angler Website.
Current Flow: below the Dam 800cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The releases from Ruedi doubled this past week putting the flow near 800cfs, with Rocky Fork dumping in close to 100cfs. The overnight temperatures have been cooler of late and this has tended to bring down the peak flows, so it is possible that there should be no need to raise the releases any more. In fact at this point the level of the Pan close to Basalt is approach a dangerous level with several basements already holding water. The cooler weather and forecast for continuous cooler weather over the next week, should at least stop Rocky Fork flowing any higher, and together with lower tributaries, the condition of the Pan should be excellent.
Taylor Creek is running very clean now at marginally lower levels and if this is indicative of all other tributaries, the Pan should remain clean and be good fishing wherever it is accessible.
Despite the high water, the fishing has been excellent close to the dam. Cameron, Harry, Mike and Ed all reported great trips out this week. The fish were taking a variety of flies as Rocky Fork is bringing in all kinds of food augmenting the general biomass which predominates on the flats.
The only downside of the high water was the concentration of fishermen down to the bend pool. Ed counted 21 fishermen in the water. A similar number to those mentioned by the other guides at various times.
Now, however, as the water has cleared well, and the tributaries are coming down, there should be good fishing lower down where the river is wide enough to enable the fisherman to enter the water and stand there. So if you are considering coming up, watch the flows and the forecast temperatures. Provided it remains relatively cool and the flows remain constant the fishing will be good provided you can get into the water and fish the edges. Call the shop during the week for an update.
Recommended Flies:There is good fishing now on both midges and BWO's. The water from Rocky Fork is bringing in a lot of other food as well, so the fish won't pass up the opportunity to take anything relatively well offered. Given the high water and the fact that the fishing has been confined to the area near the dam over the past weeks, now with the water clearing, lower down, the fish will be feeding well and will not have seen much traffic.
So apart from the standard fare, try bigger flies fished deep. Rubberlegged stones will work as well as attractor patterns in the fast deep 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.
The caddis are evident now in the warm evenings as well as a few PMD's and midges. In addition as the water gets higher try bigger bugs in the faster water where it is deep. The fish will take large attractors where the water is fast enough and it is a little colored. It also enables one to get away with heavier tippet.
For the moment, the Fork is too high to safely wade in most areas and very fast for a float. Just come to the Pan. However, if the water level keeps coming down a little it will be relatively clear and the fishing along the edges will be good. So in a few days, if the water condition looks good, head higher up and try and fish the edges where the fish will be away from the flow. If the water is clear they will be feeding.
The Colorado is a sea of mud so just drive by, turn onto highway 82 and come up to the Pan.