On the Fly: Letting it fly in the winter
On the Fly
What fly should I tie on? This is the age-old question, and there are plenty of “old reliables” most local anglers wouldn’t leave home without.
As we slide into our winter season, here are some basics that everyone can utilize for a successful day on the water. Fish them in the smaller sizes on finer tippet, and have some fun out there!
• Pheasant tail — This classic nymph comes in many flavors — beaded, flashy, soft hackled, the list goes on. Guides tend to seek out the skinniest ones in the fly bins, and this fly fishes well every month of the year.
• Zebra midge — Small, tiny and shiny can save your day through the winter. These subsurface imitations represent the most common trout fare through the cold months and come in red and black variations.
• Bling midge — Skinny and simple, the bling comes in gray, cream and chocolate colors. A small amount of flash is wrapped around the fly and the body has a woven look upon close inspection.
• Bill’s Midge Emerger — Bill Fitzsimmons’ Fryingpan original continues to fish well, and it’s not just for the Fryingpan. Incorporating a skinny and dark body and a rusty shuck, it’s a go-to midge dry.
• Skittering zelon midge — Much like Bill’s Midge, this skinny, high-floating dry fly is an exact match for midge adults on all local rivers.
• CDC comparadun BWO — Blue-winged olives will continue to hatch on the Fryingpan through early winter, and this high-profile yet small dry fly belongs in your fly box.
• High-Vis Griffith’s Gnat — When midges hatch thickly, they tend to cluster on the surface. This also is a terrific point fly on a double-dry setup.
• Juju baetis — Charlie Craven’s BWO nymph is just how we like it — slim with a nice natural body taper. It’s also available in a midge version, called the “Jujubee.”
• Prince nymph — Another old-school bug, the Prince fishes best through winter in smaller and non-beaded versions.
• RS2 — Rim Chung’s ever-popular BWO nymph comes in olive, gray and black colorations as well as with small beads and flash. This fly can be effectively fished all year here in the Roaring Fork Valley.
This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.
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Studies by Colorado Parks and Wildlife show the survival of elk calves in the Roaring Fork Valley has dropped about 33 percent in the last decade. White River National Forest officials said they need to act to try to reserve that trend. They are seeking public comment on their plan.