The kids are back at school and the Valley was quiet for most of the week leading up to the holiday weekend. With cooler weather and a little rain, it is feeling like Autumn. There is a faint tinge of color changing ushering in the new season. Ski passes have already gone on sale. Does time pass so quickly? It has been a long season with minimal run-off disrupting our fishing. Thankfully the rain in July broke the dry spell and now we are enjoying good water which will now last through to the end of the season.
That is the perennial question now. How is the water? In a word - perfect. The Colorado has cleared and now with the Pan running at 245cfs there is an excellent flow and good fishing all the way down valley. Look at this 24" brown Cameron's client caught on the Colorado a couple of days ago.
So now we move into the favorite time for fishing for many of the locals. The crowds have dissipated and the fish are big and strong after a great summer of feeding on prolific hatches.
So if you are thinking about a trip to the mountains and are concerned about the water. Don't be. The remainder of the year will now be excellent.
Current Flow: below the Dam 245cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The flows have remained consistent for the week. The colder weather and higher flows have tended to slow down the hatches a little. On Saturday, for instance, there were few insects coming off for most of the day and the dry fly activity was minimal. The fish were down deep or on the edges and not looking up much. But by Sunday, the hatches were more in evidence and the fish fed nicely on the surface. With the water running at 245cfs the conditions are excellent and the wading is generally easy enough where the river is wide. But where it is narrow, it is harder to get around. The fish are tending to position themselves in the slower moving sections of the river on the edges or behind structure. So take your time and be selective. If you are nymphing, it is just a matter of picking the feeding lanes and fishing to the level the fish are active.
The coming week promises more great fishing with temperatures in the mid 70's and little prospect of rain. The best time to get out on the Pan is later in the morning and through to the evening. The colder water is keeping the hatches later so don't hurry out at first light. Just take your time and prepare for a longer day on the river.
Recommended Flies:Use midges, caddis, PMD's and BWO's.
For mysis at the dam use Mike's Mysis. epoxy mysis, and BUV mysis.
The midges will come off during the day, particularly if it is sunny. So try Wilson's Reverse Candy Cane #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 PMD's are now in evidence and working well. For nymphs use the micro mayfly, pheasant tails, and emergers such as the FPA beadtail emerger. For dries, use the CDC comparadun, larger Adams, and parachutes.
For caddis, wait for the day to develop and let the fish move towards the surface. In the mornings they are still tending to stay low and generally only coming to the surface if there is a decent hatch or some caddis floating through. Try small olive elk hair caddis and king's river caddis.
Current Flow: near Emma - 320cfs (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page).
With little rain this past week the Fork is pristine and just a little lower at 320cfs. The general consensus is that nymphing earlier in the day is the way to start and generally concentrate from Basalt down. The lower flows closer to Aspen and heavy fishing pressure in that area makes it tougher for a day on the river.
So the better fishing in the Fork is closer to Basalt and lower down. When it is warmer, the fish are seeking aerated water in the deeper sections so look for the deeper riffles. As we have noted recently, given the pressure the fish have had over the season with the limited floating on the Colorado, it is beginning to be noticed. So that now that the Colorado has cleared and the crowds have dissipated, it is worth giving the Fork a rest in the high trafficked areas and either walk in to more inaccessible parts of the Fork, look to the Pan or the Colorado. But if you are prepared to walk there are plenty of parts of the Fork which will be exceedingly rewarding.
Recommended Flies: The best results on the Fork now are from nymphing but with PMD's and bwo's and caddis coming off in the evenings, there are a range of options.
In the morning rusty spinners, midges, PMDs and Caddis.
For nymphing using attractors, drake nymphs, midge larvae and emergers, stonefly, pmd, baetis nymphs and emergers. As the day progresses small baetis such as the FPA Sparkle Baetis, the FPA Thorax Emerger, and black pheasant tails have also worked well.
For the stone fly nymphs good patterns continue to include the BB FB Epoxy 20 Incher, the BTB Hot Spot 20 Incher and the CTB RL Epoxy 20 Incher.
The Colorado is now the destination of choice for our float guides. The lack of pressure over the past months is making the big fish move onto the rigs quite aggressively. The water has cleared nicely and with minimal pressure clients have been picking up beautiful fish like this one. In fact Cameron has been taking clients on wade trips on sections of the Colorado, where the fishing has also been excellent.
Recommended Flies: Generally the way to go is nymphing with small baetis, the FPA sparkle baetis, sparkle rs2's and biot emergers. For stonefly nymphs use the BTB Hot Spot 20 Incher, rubberleg patterns such as Mike's BTB Coffee/Black and the Halloween Speckled Girdle Bug, with midges, eggs, worms and small baetis patterns behind the lead fly.