Fishing report: ‘Tis still the season | AspenTimes.com

Fishing report: ‘Tis still the season

Will Sands
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesA couple of anglers try their luck last week on the Roaring Fork River as it flows past Carbondale.

BASALT – I realize most people have never dreamt of fly fishing during the winter. Why would you? The mountains are seeing great early-season snow, and the skiing and snowboarding have been excellent thus far.

Nonetheless, I’m reminded of how spoiled we are to live in this remarkable valley, where one can hit the slopes and fish the rivers all in the same day. There have been a few unseasonably warm days during the past two weeks where even the ski and snowboard instructors were filing in to head out and go fishing.

Do the locals have any winter secrets? Absolutely! Some of the best fishing of the entire year is to be had right now.

The Fryingpan River in Basalt offers the most consistent fishing at this time of year. Warmer water temperatures keep the fish and insects active, regardless of what the weather is outside. Hiring a local fishing guide to show you the hot stretches of river, local techniques and the flies du jour will make for an unrivaled winter experience. Wildlife surrounds the valley and river floor. Sightings of elk, mule deer, bald eagles, turkeys and bighorn sheep are commonplace, creating a virtual Serengeti of the mountains.

Fishing with small egg and various midge patterns will yield many rainbow and brown trout. The Fryingpan is world-renowned for producing some of the planet’s largest trout, and when the stars properly align, lucky anglers can land that remarkable fish of a lifetime.

There’s no need to get out there at the crack of dawn. So go ahead, get a few turns in on the mountain while the snow is still unspoiled and then grab your waders and fish during those warm afternoons. Expect to have the river practically to yourself. The scenery is superb and the fishing is phenomenal. After a few days on skis, nothing feels better than to rest your weary legs in the soothing currents of a trout stream. Spoil yourself with world-class skiing and fishing, all in one location this holiday season!