Fishing report: High-water fishing |

Fishing report: High-water fishing

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – If you haven’t noticed or are living under a rock somewhere, runoff is well under way. The Roaring Fork is high and discolored, leaving rafters and kayakers rejoicing in the plethora of big water. Most anglers are opting to simply wait out the runoff and go back to yard work, tying flies and managing their honey-do lists.

Believe it or not, however, there’s still fishing to be had. Trout continue to feed during runoff, and they can still be caught on a variety of flies. You simply need to find the fish and cast your offerings to them.

The trout do not want to be out in the heavy and fast current any more than you or I do. In fact, the fish will often hold right on or near the river banks, seeking solace in the quiet water. This is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful day on the water: find where the fish are hiding. Focus your fishing efforts on any sections of quiet and soft water. Be mobile and cover water.

Use of a wading staff is imperative right now. The staff acts as a third leg and really helps you move around with significantly more mobility and traction. Wear a wading belt with your waders and wade smartly. If you have any hesitations whatsoever about crossing or wading to an area, then do not do it! Having a knowledgeable guide with you really pays off, as they know where you can wade safely and still catch fish.

Because of the current water clarity, we are fishing with significantly heavier tippets and larger flies. Tippets can be fished in the 2x and 3x range right now and help aid in maneuvering the fish out of the fast current to quickly land them in the calm water. Successful flies have included San Juan worms, egg patterns, cat poop stoneflies, 20-inchers and prince nymphs. Be sure that you add some weight or split shot above your flies to get them near the stream bottom.

The famous green drake mayfly hatch is right around the corner, so don’t let the good fishing pass you by.

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