Update Friday - 15th July - We are on schedule for the Pan to be at or below 500cfs today and possibly falling further over the weekend. The current gap between inflow and outflow is about 240cfs which is bringing Ruedi down quite quickly. It has lost 2.2% already. So given that the inflow just keeps dropping now and the goal for reudi is to keep it close to full at this point, the releases will continue to drop fast. So with all things remaining equal the Pan will be at or below 300cfs shortly.
Update Wednesday 13th July - Down, Down Down. With the average inflow to Ruedi below 600cfs and falling, the Bureau is now dropping the releases rapidly. 100cfs today. And if things remain equal 100cfs tomorrow and another 100cfs on Friday. There might also be reductions over the weekend. We are on our way down fast now. Unless the rain intervenes, the releases won't be much over 500cfs by the weekend and by next week will be closer to 300cfs.
The Fork is also coming down nicely. The boys think we will be floating from higher up the Fork in a week or so, again, subject to rain. So we are looking good now for the season.
Update Tuesday 12th July [evening] - The pace at which the underlying melt is slowing is eloquently demonstrated on the Meredith graph today. The peak last night was 780cfs and now the flow is 518cfs. Given that the average is about 650cfs, any releases above that will reduce the level of Ruedi which is in fact happening. As a consequence the Bureau reduced the releases by 50cfs today, but still Ruedi is falling. So if there is no rain overnight and the inflows continue to drop at this pace, the Bureau will keep reducing the flows as the week progresses. The only wrinkle now will be more heavy rain.
Update Tuesday 12th July - The Frying Pan Catchment missed getting any significant rain on each of the last 2 evenings. As a consequence, the inflows have dropped rapidly as evidence by the overnight high of around 760cfs and now the graph is falling again currently showing 680cfs. The level of Ruedi is also beginning to fall having touched the top on Sunday, it is now showing 99.4%. So if there is no rain tonight or tomorrow of any significance, the releases will start coming down towards the end of this week. Again, it is all up to the rain which continues to be predicted. These storms are fickle and can change direction quickly. So far so good.
On the other hand, there was rain in the Roaring Fork catchment as evidenced in the spike up on the graph, but again, the underlying flow continues to come down quickly. With a little luck and some dry weather, we'll be floating soon.
We have had 2 big overnight rains during the week which have driven up the flows and put paid to any immediate chance of a drop in flows. Overnight it rained and spiked up the upper Frying Pan causing Ruedi which was almost full to top out and force the release of an addition 50cfs to stop it flowing over the top for a shile this morning. However it is close to midday now and Meredith has come down dramatically from near 1400cfs to just above 900cfs. It also seems as if the releases are coming down now as well. I am doing this report earlier today than normal so have a look at the meredith graph link at the bottom of the flows page to see how much further down it comes. If on present indications it keeps coming down, it is obvious now that as soon as the rain stops the releases will come down fast.
It is all very frustrating. The overall melt is obviously finishing. It is very clear, for instance, if one looks at Taylor Creek. The water has dropped significantly and the fishing has been excellent in the perfect conditions. The Pan water conditions are also excellent, but the rain just keep bumping up the flows enough to force the bureau to keep the releases up enough to control it from spilling over. So again, it is just a matter of getting a few dry days to give the rivers and chance to drop enough to let the bureau drop the releases.
The trouble is that the forecast is for scattered and isolated thunderstorms over the next week. The temperatures will be very nice in the mid 70's, but this is one time we really want the weatherman to be wrong either in his location of the possible rain, or in the eventuality itself. At some point the snow pack will be sufficiently exhausted to render the additional rain of no consequence.
So right now, watch the Meredith graph and see how far down it comes later today. That will be a real clue as to how soon the releases will come down. I will be back tomorrow and will update the report as soon as circumstances change.
Current Flow: below the Dam 933cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Apart from the area near the dam, the consistently high water has made access to the great water conditions very difficult lower down this week. The numbers of fishermen on the flats keeps growing as more fishermen come to town trying to fish and find only one place reasonably accessible. Luckily we have Taylor Creek and some ponds so we have had some other fishing as well which has been quite good and a nice alternative.
The question now is when will the flows come down. The matter has been discussed above at some length. The short answer, is as soon as the overnight rains lose their intensity. So it might just be a matter of a few days. Check back in over the next few days and we will keep up dating the reports.
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.