On the Fly: A collective sigh of relief? | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: A collective sigh of relief?

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
The Roaring Fork River with Mount Sopris in the background.
Scott Spooner photo

What a difference a year makes. This month in 2021 was already too hot and Mother Nature hadn’t snowed in earnest since Christmas. March has been the lion instead of the lamb this time around, and many of us are excited to see the continued precipitation combined with cool temperatures. We really can’t tell for sure how our water year is shaping up until May, but I’ll bet most of you are pretty stoked to see all of the snow still hanging in there and continuing to fall in the high country.

Our decades-long severe drought conditions have certainly thrown us some curve balls, resulting in lower and warmer water than we want to see. Our trout population needs ice-cold and clean water, and at this point anglers are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel and are hoping for a healthier summer flow this time around.

Voluntary river closures (initiated by local guides and the CPW) have certainly aided stressed fish in the last few low-water go-rounds. Last year we had the double-whammy of the Colorado River being closed 24 hours a day for the majority of the summer months (due to mudslides from the previous year’s Grizzly Creek Fire) in addition to noon-until-dark closures on the lower Roaring Fork. Most anglers didn’t mind the inconvenience; it feels good to put the fish before anything else.

Even if we are collectively blessed with “normal” flows and water temperatures this summer, we still need to stay vigilant. This means not playing fish to exhaustion, keeping fish out of the water very minimally, and use that stream thermometer you bought last year to keep tabs on what the rivers are doing. Let’s keep hoping for a few more weeks of cool temperatures and a little more snow. We (and the fish) need it!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.