Fishing report: The fifth season |

Fishing report: The fifth season

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

BASALT – Every angler has his secrets. For some it might be a coveted, hot fly pattern. For others it might be a secret, nameless creek tucked deep in the high country. For me though, it’s a secret time of year that I’ve dubbed “fifth season.”

Fifth season is that special time of year between winter and spring. It’s a true “tweener” season when the bitter cold days of winter are gone, leaving the river’s edge filled with crusty, melted and re-frozen snow in select shaded areas. But it’s before the green of spring hits the trees, grass and surrounding foliage.

When you live year-round in a small mountain town where skiing and snow dominate the landscape for nearly a third of the year, it’s a welcome change to have days when you can drive with your arm out the window, turn up the radio and simply go play outside in the sun. A trigger hits my brain, telling me to “Just go fishing, you idiot!” And so I do.

Mother Nature is a powerful element not to be overlooked. Perhaps at no other time of year am I as excited to go fishing as I am during my coveted and overlooked fifth season. The skiers and ski instructors who later turn into anglers and fishing guides are still on the mountains. They don’t flock to the rivers and come out of fishing hibernation until the mountains close in mid-April. Fifth season generally takes place during an eight-week period from mid-February until mid-April.

Being a dry-fly junkie, spring officially begins for me when the first heavy midge hatches take place on the banks of the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers. Having not seen a rising fish on either of these two rivers for the past four months, it’s a much needed and welcomed sight. The excitement of casting to methodically rising fish is nothing short of exhilarating! My blood starts pumping and I get the shakes trying to thread the first midge adult dry fly on the end of my line to kick-start the fishing for the upcoming spring and summer months.

I live for moments like this. Beautiful surroundings, rising fish, ideal weather and a serious lack of crowds are the hallmarks of my fifth season.

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