On the Fly: The enviable dilemma — ski or fish? | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: The enviable dilemma — ski or fish?

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

First-world problems plague residents and visitors this week — ski or fish?

My answer is a resounding both. After a bone-dry summer in 2018, we are all thankful for the deep snow this winter. As of now, we are sitting comfortably above 100 percent of average snowpack, although we’ve got a bit of a hole to dig out of considering the drought conditions over the past few years.

Keep it coming, Ullr!

Nights have been trending much warmer lately, which has vastly improved river conditions out there. Yes, ice dams have broken on the Roaring Fork here and there this winter, but here’s a little secret — the fishing has been extraordinary after these events! As we yo-yo with warm and cold snaps, all anglers should keep exercising caution onstream; but a bit of mud and ice really mixes up the bugs and makes for some outstanding fishing after things clear up.

Guides and residents are already enjoying prime float-fishing conditions after warm evenings, plus the midge hatches up on the Fryingpan have been lights-out on the cloudy days. The Fryingpan was significantly iced up a few weeks ago but has significantly melted along the edges after you get a few miles above Basalt now. The best hatches have been found midday around mile markers 8, 10 and 12 as of late.

If you’re agonizing about which of your winter hobbies should take center stage this week, I’d recommend getting in a few turns in the morning and heading to the river later in the day when it warms up. Grab a few midge dry flies and small pheasant tails nymphs before you head up the river, and go see what all the fuss is about!

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