On the Fly: It’s go-time on Aspen-area rivers

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Guide Mike Thomas with a client on the Roaring Fork River this week.
Courtesy photo

Fishing guides up and down the valley are getting ready for an earlier season this time around. The Roaring Fork is getting into “floatable shape” and the summer fishing season is already underway. The Fork is clearing quickly, although it is still high in volume. We may have a few muddy days in the next week when it gets hot, but everyone is back in business.

Before you know it, it will also be time to break out the head lamp, dry shake and big H and L Variants and Elk Hairs for twilight green drakes and caddis. So much is changing and improving on our rivers, it is hard to sleep at night. As most of you know, the Colorado and Roaring Fork drake hatch gets going just as the sun is setting as it rolls its way up the Roaring Fork through June and July. This can be “Zen” fishing at its finest, because the trout just keep on rising, even in the dark.

Besides the Roaring Fork getting back into shape, the Crystal River is clearing in addition to high-country lakes and smaller feeder creeks cleaning up, too. The Colorado will probably stay “brown town” for a while longer, but there is good fishing happening along the softer edges and side channels where fish can take a break from the current. Caddis and PMDs are the name of the game currently on the Colorado, but green drakes and yellow sallies (smaller stoneflies) are just beginning to hatch, too.

The crown jewel of the Roaring Fork Valley, the Fryingpan, is going to be kept low this summer (that’s the plan, anyway), and we are already seeing an interesting development after the lack of spring “flush.” We have prolific golden stoneflies on the lower river this year, and the fish are on them! The higher you go up the Pan, the more you will rely on blue-winged olives and midges.

The time for screwing around is over, folks. Get those leaky waders fixed and give your favorite guide a call. It’s on.

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.