Fishing report: Never mind the rain

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – I am often asked at this time of year about how rain affects the fishing and the hatches.

Summer monsoon weather patterns often produce rain showers during the afternoons and evenings throughout the state. The running joke we always tell people coming through the shop is, “The fish are already wet. They don’t care.”

It never ceases to amaze us that people are afraid to get their rain jackets wet. In case if you can’t tell by now, we love to fish in the rain. The waters surface obviously becomes disturbed during rain showers, giving way the normally glassy smooth surface which enables anglers and other predators the advantage of visually being able to see the trout. In a nutshell, the fish are simply more relaxed during overcast and drizzle.

Additionally, insect hatches often are more intense and longer in duration during these periods of more inclement and wet weather. Blue-wing olive and pale morning dun mayflies are the two pre-eminent hatches occurring along the Fryingpan, Roaring Fork, Colorado and Crystal rivers currently. Mayflies in particular prefer humid, damp and overcast weather to hatch. Once these insects emerge into winged adults, or duns, they need to rest on the waters surface and wait for their wings to dry before taking flight and eventually mating. On bright, sunny days this can happen in as little as a few seconds, while on these rainy days it could take minutes or even hours for this to occur. This happening can be seen daily along the Fryingpan River in the afternoons and evenings.

On larger bodies of water like the Roaring Fork River, where insect hatches in general are less intense, the fishing still reaps many benefits. The streamer fishing has been red hot lately, due in large part again to the overcast weather. The trout are much less willing to move out of their comfort zone during periods of bright light. Overall, look for the great fishing to continue and don’t forget to thank Mother Nature for the bounty of wet weather we’ve been so lucky to have.