Fishing in the winter is good | AspenTimes.com

Fishing in the winter is good

Will Sands
On the Fly

Fresh tracks is not just a term used by powderhounds — Winter anglers also relish in the freshly laden snow.

While I am sure most locals and visitors are dreaming of dropping into their favorite powder stashes and an epic mountain opener, there are still plenty of fishheads out there taking advantage of some excellent fishing right now. When the snow starts flying, many people find it hard to wrap their heads around the idea that fly fishing is still even possible. It is not an activity that is traditionally thought of during the winter months. However, more anglers each year are learning just how good the winter fishing is. Thus, for the non-skier visiting the valley with their ski-bum friends or looking to take a day off and rest some weary ski legs, winter fly fishing certainly is an option.

At this time of the season, bright, warm winter days can produce excellent midge hatches on the Fryingpan, and floating the Roaring Fork can be a memorable way to enjoy a day. With snow throughout the valley, the rivers take on a whole different appearance. With a few good layers and the right flies, you just might forget that the ski season is beginning and that you are just downvalley from the legendary ski town of Aspen.

Anglers concentrating their efforts on the Fryingpan this week should expect good midge hatches midday, coupled with lighter hatches of blue-wing olives. Dry-fly fishing has been quite consistent from noon to 3. Before, after or during hatch periods, nymph fishing will be very solid. Tiny flies in sizes 20 to 24 are necessary right now along with light leaders, and tippets of 6X to 7X are a must on the Pan.

Roaring Fork River anglers have the option to wade or float the river right now. Both approaches have been highly effective. Nymph fishing will be most productive, with limited or no dry-fly fishing on the Fork. Concentrate on the deeper runs and pools where fish will be congregated. Try hiring a local guide if you are new to the valley, or simply drop in to a local fly shop for the hot flies and public access points if you prefer to do it yourself.

"On the Fly" is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.