Update Tuesday July 18th - The Pan is steady now at around 300cfs. The level of Ruedi is constant for the moment but as soon as the inflows drop a little more on a sustained basis, the Pan will come down again. The fishing is great now. There were some drakes coming off mid-river and mike reported a great day out using PMD emergers and midges. The Fork jumped a little today because of an overnight rainstorm, but nothing to interrupt the general trend down. It is all good.
Finally the rivers are coming down! The Pan is now at 297cfs and may even drop a little more. It has been a long wait this year. But now with the lower water and the PMD's, drakes, BWO's midges all coming off nicely as well as yellow sallies the fishing is great.
Even the Fork and Colorado are starting to come down. Mike, Ed and Kyle floated the Fork on Friday and though it was fast the water was in great condition and the fish took everything offered to them. With the Fork dropping over 500cfs a day at Basalt the levels are falling rapidly. The Fork at Basalt is 2,370cfs which is more than 3 times the median and well above the record but it is getting lower by the day. The Maroon creek guage for the Fork is showing 1,100cfs which is a great level for starting higher up.
So overall, not much to say now except that the Pan is now perfect and the Fork is great and getting better by the day.
There was a meeting in Basalt this week with the Bureau of Reclaimation reviewing the current years flows. It was acknowledged that the Bureau did well over the past month given the difficult conditions and in particular, from a fishing viewpoint their desire to drop the river so fast to ensure that the fishing season was not suffering any unnecessary hardship. The other good news is that given the levels of the rivers now and the projected flows over summer, on balance it looks as though the US Fish and Wildlife won't be calling for their 20k acre feet to be released later in the year to preserve the endangered species. Provided the Pallisade graph stays above 1630cfs they won't call for any water. So this will ensure that the releases won't be raised in September at all. The further good news is that given the extent to which this excess water will remain in storages, it will be released over winter ensuring higher flows in the Pan over winter which is great for the fishing and will limit the impact of anchor ice.
So its time to come up fishing. We have had a lot of calls from all over the State in response to the lower water and expect a strong influx of fishermen while many of the other rivers remain too high or some of the early hatches have ended.
Current Flow: below the Dam 297cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The release have been cut by nearly 600cfs over the past week. The lower water allows ready access now to most of the Pan. The hatches have been strong this week with PMD's, BWO's and midges as well as caddis in the evenings. So we can now get down to some great dry fly fishing. The fish have been pounded at the dam now for weeks, but in the rest of the river they have been barely touched so the fishing will be excellent.
Recommended Flies:There is good fishing now on PMD's, midges and BWO's.
Now that the PMD's are coming off twice a day, in the lower water, the dry fly fishing will improve daily as the fish get used to looking up in the slower shallower water to take the bugs off the surface. The big fish will be spread out nicely and haven't been disturbed lower down for weeks. So the fishing will be excellent.
For PMD dries use Sparkle Comparadun #16-#18, Thorax PMD #16 - #18, AK's Melon Quill, AK's Parachute Red Quill, Rusty Spinner's, Pink Cahill, Lawson's No Hackles. In addition use emergers and nymphs when there is not much surface activity,
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 Fork coming down rapidly the floating is improving by the day. At the moment the water is very fast so many of the fishermen have been pulling to the edges to fish the slower water. But Mike, Kyle and Ed all reported great nymphing lower down while floating. The wade fishing is also improving so use a lot of lead to get the nymphs down.
Recommended Flies: The best results on the Fork now are from nymphing using drake, stonefly and yellow sally nymphs. Caddis and baetis nymphs also work. There is not much dry fly activity now but very shortly the drakes will be off in the evenings and the caddis are evident coming off in the slower water.
The Colorado is slowly improving, but for the moment just turn at Highway 82 and come up the Fork to Basalt or above. The high water in the Colorado is stillmore than 3 times the average for this time of year, so being so close to the Fork, relatively speaking it is a better choice to come up where we are.