On the Fly: Spring cleaning | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Spring cleaning

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
A Crystal River trout.
Kara Lewis/Special to The Aspen Times

As we start to see runoff conditions here in the Roaring Fork Valley, it is time to adjust our fishing game to ensure success.

True runoff will not be here for another week or two, but if you’ve been out there fishing the caddis hatch, you’ve already seen your share of rising water levels. Caddis love hot and bright sun, which, in turn, spurs runoff snowmelts. Runoff is our local version of spring cleaning!

The main thing to remember as the freestone (undammed) rivers begin to swell is that the fish will be on the edges, not in the center where currents run swiftly. In other words, the fish are most likely posted up right where you would usually stand while fishing, where the current is the softest. This is the time of year that larger and gaudier flies are key — San Juan worms, golden stonefly nymphs, anything that will grab the attention of a hungry fish in less-than-ideal water conditions.

As most of you know, as we ease into runoff we can search out cleaner water in higher elevations. Oftentimes the upper reaches of the Roaring Fork, Crystal and Fryingpan rivers will be much cleaner than in lower and hotter elevations. Runoff is a great time to explore some of the higher lakes that are slowly thawing, as well as the warm-water lakes that are already fishing very well.

Many anglers spend their travel dollars during May and June and head out for tarpon, permit and bonefish in the Florida Keys, Cuba, the Bahamas and the like. Tarpon migrations are best right now through late May, and some years well into July. This week we have a group in Playa Blanca, Mexico, doing exactly that. The moral of the story here is to fish hard through runoff, the fish still eat every day, and it shouldn’t take long to figure out where they’re hanging out during “big water.”

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