BASALT - Ask any local fly-fishing guide what time of year is their favorite fishing season and the majority of responses will favor fall. There are several reasons for this. For starters, the shoulder seasons offer quality fishing with a minimum of crowds. After a busy summer season of fishing elbow to elbow, it's awfully refreshing to fish wherever you'd like including all those prime fishing locations.
Another advantage includes fishing and wading in low and clear water. Wading accessibility is at its best during the fall and the fish congregate in the deeper pools and seams. No longer are the fish spread throughout the river, which makes finding productive water much easier to locate.
Autumn fishing is all about blue-wing olive mayflies, streamers and egg patterns. Ditch your large summer flies in favor of tiny blue-wing olive imitations which are now the most abundant and prevalent hatch on all valley rivers. Load up your fly boxes these favorite patterns in sizes 18-22: pheasant tails, RS2s, Barr emergers, tungsten hoovers, biot emergers, sparkleduns, CDC comparaduns and no-hackles. Keep in mind that with the low and clear water, coupled with tiny flies, one should be fishing with equally light tippets. On the Fryingpan, that means tippets of 6x and 7x are needed, while on the Roaring Fork and Colorado, tippets of 5x should be used.
Floating anglers should take advantage of the year's best streamer fishing. Crisp mornings with fog hovering over the water is enough to make the most seasoned of guides excited to toss large, chicken-sized flies to hyper-aggressive brown trout. The visuals of streamer fishing are unparalleled where even the short strikes and misses are incredibly entertaining. If there's one streamer that's an absolute must-have for the Roaring Fork Valley, it's Tim Heng's autumn splendor. The warm earthy tones mixed with undulating yellow rubber legs are often too much for the trout resist. Keep in mind that heavy tippets of 0x to 2x can be used when fishing streamers.
The autumn months are also when brown trout and whitefish spawn. Avoid fishing to fish that are actively spawning on their redds (beds). These spawning fish will litter the river bottom with their eggs, yielding easy and protein-packed meals for the other fish in the river. Thus, egg patterns are also highly effective flies to load into your box. The fishing is incredible right now which can only mean one thing: It must be fall!