Fishing report: Get tiny, technical

Will Sands
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Crisp mornings and a blush of colors are lighting up the high country, signaling that fall is truly here. And with it the crowds of summer have diminished.

Now it’s an angler’s delight to hop around local waters with little competition from fellow brethren. While the numbers of trout in our area rivers vastly outnumber those in pursuit, anglers must get technical to fool fall quarry. While hatches on the Fryingpan remain prolific, the Roaring Fork is one of our hidden treasures in the fall. Tiny and technical is the key to enjoying the solitude the Fork provides during the offseason.

There are several keys to be successful on the Roaring Fork during the fall. With gin-clear water and lower flows, anglers need to adjust how they approach the river. Small flies are of the utmost importance, as midges and blue-winged olives are the main course. With the need to fish tiny flies, it is also extremely important to make sure your leader and tippet sizes are proportional to the flies you are fishing. When selecting flies in the 18-22 size range, it is crucial to connect them to 5X and 6X leader or tippet. If you try to get away with anything heavier, you are going to struggle hooking up.

Another key that separates successful anglers from those that struggle is depth control. Adjusting your split shot and getting your flies down into the deepest runs, pools and holes is very crucial, sometimes more so than having the hottest fly of the week. If you are not delivering the fly to the fish, then how can the fish eat it?

A simple rule of thumb is this: After a half-dozen drifts, if your drift did not “tick” along the bottom, then add more shot. After another six drifts, if you still haven’t “ticked,” then add more shot. As you move from one area to another, the depth will change, as will the current rate. This requires anglers to constantly adjust and shift the amount of weight.

Successful anglers adjust and control depth much more often than they change flies. Check with your local shop for the hot flies and get out and enjoy some fall fishing.