Hatches bringing out swarms of fishermen | AspenTimes.com
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Hatches bringing out swarms of fishermen

Ryan Graf

For fly fishermen, it’s all about bugs.While commuters spend time scraping bugs from car windshields, and bikers and joggers swat them from their face and pick them from teeth and eyes, fishermen study, venerate and even replicate the little pests.Roaring Fork Valley bugs start to hatch this time of year, and while most people just grin and bear the swarms every evening, fishermen couldn’t be happier.”There is one hatch in particular the kind of makes the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan famous in the summer time,” said Drew Reid, manager of Roaring Fork Anglers in Glenwood Springs. “And that’s the green drake.””That’s the one we all live for,” he said.What makes the green drake so great for fishing is that it brings fish to the surface to feed. Fish feeding on the surface allows fly fishermen to dry-fly cast, using those artful, long casts back and forth above their head. When they land the fly on the water it stays on the surface, bringing fish up from the bottom.”It’s an exciting way to fish,” said Reid. “It’s just a lot more fun to see a fish on the surface.”The alternative to dry-fly fishing is nymph fishing, where a fly fisherman ties a fly to the end of his or her line, but then weights it so the fly will bounce along the bottom of the river instead of float on the surface.Nymph fishing is a more common way to fish in the Roaring Fork Valley, said Reid. But during the early summer months certain things happen that make for great dry-fly fishing.”We are entering the prime-time zone,” said Jeff Dysart, co-owner of Alpine Angling in Carbondale.The “prime-time zone” is created by a multitude of factors.First, the rivers, muddy with spring runoff, peak and start to clear.”When that happens the fish are generally hungry, because they’ve been living in the mud during the runoff,” said Dysart. The clear water also means that fish can see the fisherman’s fly more easily, he said. While the rivers recede and clear, they also warm, which helps the hatch.”Insects get going when the water temperature hits … the upper 50s,” said Reid. “The clearing, the dropping, the water temperature rising kind of all happens at once,” and “things go nuts.”Though the green drake isn’t the only insect to hatch this time of year, it is one of the more fun flies to fish. For one thing, the green drake is big, the biggest mayfly in the western United States. “That’s a T-bone steak for a fish,” said Reid. “Even the big fish come up.” Another thing that makes the green drake hatch special is that it lasts a long time, just not in the same place.The hatch moves upstream as water temperatures at higher elevations warm. “You can find those bugs hatching somewhere in this valley … until mid-August,” said Dysart.This summer the hatch is coming a bit sooner than normal because of a lower runoff, said Dysart, but that doesn’t affect the quality of the fishing. The best time to fish a green drake fly is from about 8 p.m. until dark when the insects hatch, he said, especially now that the water is beginning to clear.”Those two things right there (clear water and a hatch) are all a fly fisherman could ask for.”


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