As summer draws to a close this has been one of the cooler and wetter August's for some time. We had the Pan blow out 5 times in the past month affecting the lower Pan and Fork. Over the past week, more rain pushed up the Fork again midweek but it seems to be slowing down again. The forecast is for clear warm weather at least until mid week so we are looking forward to the rivers settling further. Currently the Fork is in the top quartile for flows at this time of year being about 110cfs above the median. This means of course a longer period of higher flows and good floating from Basalt and great water into the end of the season.
This labor day weekend marks the unofficial end of Summer with the Aspen Jazz Festival. Generally the crowds dissipate from here into the end of the season. This is also the favorite time for locals to get out onto the river. The US Fish and Wildlife releases won't last much longer and so shortly the Pan should be back to its lower flows heading into the mandatory reduction which happens in the first week of October.
The Pan continues to run at 273cfs and will stay around these levels for the next few weeks. It makes it tough to wade in the narrower sections so take care. But the fishing has been excellent. The water levels provide excellent cover for the fish and tend to protect them from the pressure. So it is a matter of finding where you are comfortable. But if you can get into the flows where the fish haven't been too pressured the dry fly fishing is excellent with the fish looking up for the drakes, PMD's BWO's and caddis.
In the deeper sections the fish will tend to stay lower.
With the prediction of clearing weather it will be excellent out on the river over the coming week as the crowds continue to dissipate. Although the prediction is for clearing weather, be mindful and take along your wet weather gear as a precaution.
Recommended Flies:Use midges, PMD's and BWO's. Use drake nymphs because they are about and ready to come off.
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, nick's larva in miracle pink, olive, and purple back, brassies #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22, copper johns #18 - #22, rainbow warriors, black polywings #18 - #22 and bling midges # 18 - #22.
With the beatis nymphs and BWO's coming off in the shade try small nymphs such as pheasant tails, bubble backs, FPA sparkle baetis and rs2's. When the BWO's come off parachute adams and standard BWO patterns. Also try the parachute BWO and the thorax patterns.
The PMD's are now coming off so try the nymphs before the hatches start and then emergers and dries. Try Pink Cahill's, Sulphur Dun's and the Comparadun for dries. For emergers try the FPA beadtail emerger, the FPA special emerger, and the killer mayfly pmd.
The drakes are due to start coming off so try the nymphs at the moment and get ready for the hatches around midday. For nymphs try the Flavilinea, the FPA Nymph and the Muskrat. As soon as the fish start taking dries start with the emerger and then try W's Drake, the Wulff, the cripple, and the Comparadun.
Current Flow: near Emma - 579cfs (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page).
Although the flows are a little lower than last week, they were augmented midweek by more rain. However the flows are dropping again so given a few more days of warmer clear weather and the Fork will be perfect again.
At these flows the floating from Basalt will be great and the wading generally excellent.
Recommended Flies: The best results on the Fork now are from nymphing. Use small baetis and pmd nymphs after a large stonefly pattern. Alternatively sink caddis pupae patterns.
Also try PMD nymphs, rusty spinners and yellow sallies.
The condition of the Colorado has been compromised a couple of times when the Lower Pan and the Crystal blew out. However when it clears the fishing will be excellent with great water conditions for this time of year below Glenwood.
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, worms and small baetis patterns behind the lead fly.