Update Friday 8th July - Last night we got some rain up the Frying Pan Valley which is reflected in the Meredith Graph. But there was no similar rain above Aspen. Consequently the Fork at Aspen is no high than yesterday and continues its resumption of its downhill trajectory. On the other hand the inflows into Ruedi continue to hold up the releases and the level of Ruedi itself approaches 99%. So nothing is new. The rivers driven solely by the melt are coming down, but overnight rain is postponing the reductions in the releases. The forecast for scattered thunderstorms remain for the next week. As a matter of interest, Cameron and Kyle went over to BarZX and reported that the upper Crystal is very clear and fishable although it is running fast. This is further evidence of the end of the melt. So it is now all down to this monsoonal rain pattern.
Update Wednesday 6th July - Everything was pointing down for the last several days. In fact it looked as though the flows were to be cut today. But last night a big spike came through on the graphs as a cosequence of a thunderstorm over night which dropped 6/10th of an inch of rain. The weather pattern looks similar today, so there is a chance of further rain. As we said in the Sunday report, from here on in it is a question of how much monsoonal rain we get. So if it doesn't rain for the next few days, the flows will be cut. But if it does rain heavily, that will put off the reductions depending on how much rain we get. The forecast is for thunderstorms over the next week, so watch the actual rain levels to see how soon the river will be dropped. As soon as it is time to cut, the flows will be dropped quite quickly.
The water level remains confounding.To all intents and purposes the peak has passed, but the water just keeps on coming. And with these very hot days, there is no respite. As we indicated during the past week, the problem is that the late snows and cold weather over May put a lot of snow high up above the usual measuring locations of the Bureau. Consequently, even though the Snowtel report indicates that many of the points of measurement have no snow, there is a lot of snow higher up and it keeps on coming down in this heat.
If you look at the Aspen flow chart for the Fork, the lows have been falling for the last 3 days and the reports are that the water is clear in Aspen and fishing well. Looking at the Meredith chart, again it has been getting lower lows over the past 3 days, and the high today was 100cfs lower than the high 4 days ago.
The problem is that the water is flowing in to Ruedi at a low of around 930cfs and with Ruedi 99% full, there is little room left for the difference between the inflow and the releases before it runs over the top.
The only thing now which can stop the releases being raised again is if the temperatures overnight drop sufficiently to slow down the flows and remain lower during the coming week - and there is no rain. Well the bad news, is that tomorrow is predicted to be 85degrees with possible thunderstorms. Thereafter the remainder of the week predicts lower temperatures in the 70's from Wednesday and thunderstorms or rain. So it is lineball as to whether Ruedi fills and forces the flows up before the cooler weather arrives. And rain certainly won't help.
So we will continue to post flow updates as the week progresses. Hopefully the indications that the peak has passed together with a lot of cooler weather will bring down the rivers quickly towards the end of the week.
With so many visitors in Town over the July 4th Weekend, there were few places to fish so the flats were pretty packed at various times. There was some fishing up at the Ruedi inlet and luckily we have our own private water including ponds which provided a change to the arm to arm combat which occurred on the flats at various times during the day. We are lucky to have some places to fish. From many reports, other areas have really suffered and have no fishable water. At our shop in Durango we have access to some excellent private tail water which has been extremely productive over the past week. Take a look at these photos. So if you are in that area, you might consider that as an alternative fishing destination at the moment.
Current Flow: below the Dam 918cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Well the burst of very hot weather really accelerated the melt and forced the Bureau to push up the flows in order to have a semblance of control of the outflow as Ruedi approaches full. With barely a day left to fill, it is a race between the arrival of some cooler weather, no rain, and the end of the melt to ensure that Ruedi doesn't overflow. If the race is lost and Ruedi fills before the inflows fall sufficiently, the Bureau will have to increase the releases to ensure that the water doesn't come over the top of the dam and bring all the floating debris down with it. So short term, it is a nail-biter. However, the forecast is calling for cooler weather in the mid 70's from midweek so, provided there is little rain with the change, the inflows might slow quite quickly. Coupled with the fact that it appears that the peak has passed, by weeks end it could be quite different. So if you are coming up next weekend, keep a close look at the flows and call the shop for an update. We will continue to post midweek reports if they are warranted.
Despite the high water, the fishing has been great if you can get into the water in a quiet place. Fish are stacked along the edges and feeding quite well in the calmer sections. They are hard to get to as they are holding under overhanging brush which slows down the water flow, creating quiet feeding lanes. However there aren't many places like this which are readily accessible, so if one has limited local knowledge it will be hard.
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.
With the flows currently topping 5000cfs at Basalt at the high point and the historical high of a little over 3000cfs in 2008, nothing much more needs to be said about the flows in the Fork. They are ridiculous. Colder weather is predicted in the coming week and with more evidence that the peak has passed, the Fork may come down quite quickly. But it will have to come down a long way to make floating a possibility. So later in the week if you are considering coming up, call the shop or check the flows to see if there has been a sufficient drop to make things interesting. However, on current indications, the probability is generally low.
The only exception is higher up in Aspen itself where the water has cleared nicely and there are reports of some good fishing. But the high water makes access difficult. However, it is possible that by weeks end, if the flows drop sufficiently there might be reasonable access high up.
The Colorado is a sea of mud so just drive by, turn onto highway 82 and come up to the Pan or higher up to Aspen.