Fishing report: Bankers’ hours on the water |

Fishing report: Bankers’ hours on the water

Will Sands
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Time to mix it up! This is the beginning of longer days and warmer evenings, which heat up the fishing throughout the valley.

Thoughts of skiing are frequent, and there are certainly a few more days to come, but now is the time to mix it up a bit. Fresh tracks in the morning and an afternoon of fishing is a late-winter locals’ favorite. From wading the Fryingpan to floating the Roaring Fork, this can be a memorable time of the year to spend a day fly-fishing the fabled waters of the Roaring Fork Valley.

February is not considered a traditional time of the season to fish, so it surprises many who find out for themselves just how good late-winter fishing can be. Right now the sweet spot on the Roaring Fork and Fryingpan is between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., the bankers’ hours. There is no real need to get out there too early; let the daytime temperatures warm up a bit. As the day warms up, water temps will rise a couple of degrees, and although that may not sound like a lot to you, in a trout’s world it is the equivalent of 10-15 degrees of change in ours!

Midges are the predominant hatches and make up the mainstay of a trout’s winter diet. At this time of the season, anglers will be well-served with a variety of midge larva, midge pupa and midge dries. Although nymph fishing will be the most consistent means to hook up daily, some exceptional dry fly-fishing can be had, especially on the Fryingpan.

This week midge hatches on the Fryingpan have been producing some outstanding dry fly-fishing. The three hot dries to have are Befus’ Adult Midge, the Stillborn Midge and House of Harrop’s Spent Midge. If you find it difficult see these tiny dries on the water, then trail them behind a larger dry fly and use your lead fly as a visual indicator. If you are not finding rising fish, then you should be nymphing.

The top choice midges this week have been Medallion midges, Tidbit midges and gray Johnny Flashes for the ‘Pan. Mysis shrimp patterns within the first half-mile below the spillway and glo-bugs have been good lead fly choices.

If you are more inclined to try the Roaring Fork, the best fishing has been downstream of Basalt to Glenwood Springs.

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