Fishing report: More than just trout |

Fishing report: More than just trout

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – With the bounty of top-notch rivers here in the Roaring Fork Valley, there’s really no excuse not to go fly fishing. The trout fishing on the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork rivers is truly exceptional at this time of year. Blue-wing olive mayflies coupled with daily hatches of midges are making for some thrilling dry-fly fishing. As the ski hills close, you will notice more pressure on our rivers – and for good reason.

We are also fortunate to have many warm-water opportunities available to us on the fringes of our valley. Spring for many fly anglers marks the true beginning of the fishing season, as our low-lying, still waters thaw and once again become fishable with open water. The two largest attractions include pike and carp. Both of these fish species are formidable fly-rod adversaries.

Pike at this time of year cruise the shallow grass flats of many reservoirs including Rifle Gap and Harvey Gap, just outside the town of Rifle. These large, predatory fish are the equivalent of a freshwater barracuda, with an attitude to match. Fly fishing for pike is anything but easy. The challenge of using heavier gear, making long casts with six-inch flies, in addition to having very few shots at fish, make this game only for certain anglers. The reward of finally hooking up and landing a pike is often a mixed bag of euphoria and exhaustion. I like to think of pike fishing as akin to climbing Mount Everest.

What do many fly fishing guides do on their days off? We fish for carp. Like pike fishing, fly fishing for carp is often tough. Your shots at seeing fish and then finally presenting a fly to the fish are more limited than trout. That said, both carp and pike are much larger than trout, too, hence we spend limited amounts of time fishing for them. The backwater sloughs of the Colorado River from New Castle to Grand Junction are prime for these mysterious and obscure species of fish.

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