A little earlier with the report this labor day weekend. As we move past the long weekend and the return of schools, the crowds begin to dissipate. The air is a little cooler in the mornings. The dew lingers a little longer on the grass and the days are a little shorter. There is minimal evidence that the colors are changing yet, but that will happen soon enough. In fact too soon. The pace quickens a little into Autumn. Maybe the fish know there is only a little while before they are confined to small insects rather than the larger offerings of summer. This year was hard on them. The high long runoff limited their ability to get into the drakes on the freestones, and the fish are accordingly a little lacking in condition. It is a race against time for them to get their fill before the spawn and winter.
Hence we are heading into some of the best fishing of the year. Fewer fishermen, and hungry fish. The Bureau has obliged this week with another lift in the level of the releases from Ruedi bringing the flows to 260cfs. This protects the fish a little more making some spots a little more inaccessible. But generally it is a perfect level now and the fishing is excellent. The belated reduction in the earlier flows has extended the drake hatch and this increased release of colder water will extend the drake hatches on the Pan further into September. The guides are reporting excellent drake hatches now. The rain over the past few days has pushed up the flows in the Fork and the Colorado is essentially a river of mud at the moment. Because of the Colorado, most float traffic is now targetting Carbondale to Glenwood making that a spectacle of sorts, but not good fishing with so much pressure. So the best fishing this weekend will be the Upper Fork near Basalt and the Pan. If you are new to the area, come into the shop and we will gladly point you in the right direction.
So have a safe long weekend and travel carefully.
Current Flow: below the Dam 260cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The flows were increased again a little on Friday so that now the Pan is running around 260cfs. The fishing remains excellent with continuing reports of great drake hatches. The rain over the past week has cooled things off nicely. The forecast is for a little more rain into next week. It affords excellent conditions for the hatches hence the great dry fly fishing this week.
The marginally higher flows, will make access to the Pan near town a little more difficult but that give the fish some respite. So come up a little further where the river widens a little and above some of the tributaries where it is a little easier to get into the water to wade.
Recommended Flies:There is good fishing now on PMD's, midges and BWO's. There are also a lot of drakes coming off. The drake hatches have been excellent closer to the dam over this past week.
For PMD dries use the 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.
Drake are coming off well now. The fish vary a little as the day progresses but generally the Colorado drake pattern #12 has been very productive as well as the straw wing emerger.
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.
Current Flow: near Emma - 500cfs (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page).
The rains over the past few days and the increased releases from Ruedi have pushed up the flow in the Fork so that it is now running around 550cfs at Basalt. It will come down a little if we don't get rain over the next few days.
Because the Colorado is unfishable at the moment, most of the traffic is from Carbondale down on the Fork and it is making the fishing unreliable. A procession of boats resembling the Spanish Armada is the most dominant feature of the area at the moment. So the best advice is to just come up to Basalt and consider the upper Fork or the Pan. On the other hand if you like jostling for position in your boat and tangling you back cast with the fisherman on the next boat, the Fork below Carbondale will do fine.
The fishing near Basalt has been excellent with rusty spinners in the mornings and baetis in the afternoon. There are still a lot of caddis about as well.
Recommended Flies: The best results on the Fork now are from nymphing using drake, stonefly and baetis nymphs. In the mornings rusty spinners, and in the afternoons progress to caddis and baetis nymphs.
The Colorado is not worth fishing at the moment with the rains having turned it into mud. If the rains persist, the conditions will remain colored for a while. So check the forecasts. For the moment just turn onto Highway #82 and come up towards Basalt.
Recommended Flies: Big stonefly nymphs, rubberleg patterns, PMD and baetis nymphs are all recommended.
The best rig is a big rubberleg first followed by a smaller emerger baetis or maybe nymph around #18 fished deep down.