Fishing report: Bring on the runoff |

Fishing report: Bring on the runoff

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – The Roaring Fork Valley watershed is now at 289 percent of average for snowpack thus far. There’s no denying that this is going to be a big water year, and that runoff is going to be interesting to say the least. Where’s an angler to go fishing during high-water conditions, and how is the fishing going to be this summer with this huge surplus of water?

With all the overcast and drizzling rain that we’ve had for the last few weeks, the blue-wing olive hatch on the Fryingpan River has been nothing short of outstanding. Anglers and guides are reporting hatches that are lasting for hours on end.

Typically, most hatches last for 30 minutes to an hour. As of late, hatch durations have lasted for nearly six to eight hours. This is truly obscene dry-fly fishing and is one of the reasons why the Fryingpan is a world renowned fishery and insect factory. So go ahead, grab your rain jacket, and don’t be afraid to get it wet. You’ll find the best fishing and heaviest hatches to be occurring from mile marker 4 on up to the dam.

Small size 20 and 22 baetis (blue-wing olive) patterns such as sparkleduns, no hackles and CDC beatis emergers are best. Due to the small size of flies being fished, light fluorocarbon tippets of 6x and 7x are mandatory. Search out the soft and slow water, and keep your eyes peeled for rising fish. Often a downstream drift is beneficial, enabling the fish to see the fly first, instead of your line then followed by your fly.

We’re fielding questions daily about water flows and runoff predictions for this upcoming spring and summer season. Essentially, once we begin to see warm weather patterns take hold, runoff will really begin. This generally takes place from mid-May through the middle to the end of June. By July 4, the Roaring Fork is normally clear enough to fish. We’ve yet to see a big melt due to the cool and wet weather, but this could change at any moment.

With the bounty of water that we have this year, expect the summer and fall fishing to be some of the best fishing that we’ve ever seen. One thing’s for certain: We won’t have issues with low and warm water this summer.

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