On the Fly: No snow? Let’s fish!
On the Fly
Many visitors to the Roaring Fork Valley these past few weeks have come to a new realization — you can fish here year-round!
With the lack of snow so far, plenty of families have recently embraced a new sport that anyone can do — young or old. Surely the flakes will fly at some point this winter, but don’t despair if you are in town and aren’t impressed with the amount of snow we’ve accumulated.
If you’ve fly-fished before, rental equipment is readily available at most fly shops here. Hiring a wade- or float-fishing guide will make your day even easier, and all equipment is usually provided in these situations. Most angling skiers know to bring their rods and waders when visiting, so all they need are some fly and location recommendations to have a nice time on the water. Insect hatches are simplified in the winter, so having a successful day isn’t as complicated as our complex summertime hatches can be.
As you’ve probably noticed, most sections of rivers here from Aspen down to Glenwood Springs remain quite fishable through the winter months, barring areas that don’t receive ample daily sunlight. The best example is the renowned Fryingpan River in Basalt, which is a dam-release tailwater that remains open and fishable regardless of the time of year. This river is a 365-day-a-year dry-fly fishery, and finding a spot to wet a line is pretty easy.
If you are comfortable skiing, you will certainly stay warm enough while fishing. Simply layer up like you would on the slopes, and we would argue it’s always warmer down low on the river than it would be getting off the ski lift anywhere. Flies of note are midges, blue-winged olive nymphs, egg patterns and small streamers that represent other juvenile fish. Grab a guide and a pair of hand warmers, there’s nothing stopping you from having a ball on any of our quality trout streams 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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Kevin Warner started his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger in 2001. Now he’s taking over the key position as Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.