Fishing report: More fish per fisherman

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – It’s hard to believe, but summer is quickly coming to an end.

If you ask our staff of guides which season is their preference, the majority would certainly recommend fall. There are many reasons for this. Crowds shrink at this time of year as school begins for most children, leaving the rivers to older men and women and trout bums with no lives. In a nutshell, autumn offers more fish per fisherman.

The Fryingpan River in Basalt is one of the most well-known fisheries in the country and seemingly everyone fishes the river in August in hopes of hitting the epic green drake and pale morning dun mayfly hatches. One of the benefits of September is that you still get to see these same prolific mayfly hatches, along with fall hatches of caddis and blue-wing olives thrown into the mix. More bugs equal more food, and more opportunities to catch hungry fish.

Often, during the summer months along the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, the best fishing takes place early and late in the day when the sunlight is less intense. We are rapidly losing daylight now, and cooler daytime highs are more commonplace. With this change in the weather, we will see the fishing pick up and remain steady nearly all day long, including during the afternoons. There is very little in the way of hatches along these two rivers during the “dog days” of August, while September gives way to significantly more consistent hatches, consisting of caddis and blue-wing olives. With the cooling water and air temperatures, the rivers’ resident brown trout become more aggressive as spawning instincts begin to infiltrate their brains.

Next to dry fly fishing, the most visual fly fishing experience you can have is by fishing streamers. September often yields some of the very finest streamer fishing of the entire year. The streamers we fish imitate sculpins and juvenile trout. Warmer, more natural-colored hues are often best. Sculpzillas, autumn splendors, ziwis, sacrileges and stingin’ sculpins are proven local favorite patterns in sizes 4-8.

The time is now.