On the Fly: The mid-summer switch | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: The mid-summer switch

Will Sands
On the Fly

A happy family and two brown trout on the Fryingpan River.

The mid-summer switch is on. Considering flows, fishing has still been very good to excellent, but the switch we are talking about are hatches and tactics between the Roaring Fork and Frying Pan that often catch anglers off guard.

July is the forgiving month on the Roaring Fork with a lot of caddis, green drakes and eager fish throughout its length. Now as we move forward into late August on the Fork, the big, early summer insect hatches have ceased and our smaller mayflies, midges and more technical conditions can frustrate anglers who so easily were catching fish weeks ago. However, the exact opposite is occurring on the Fryingpan.

Anglers need to shift gears on the Roaring Fork. Instead of heavy tippet, large dries and big nymphs, it is time to get "techy." Anglers fishing the Roaring Fork need to drop down to 5X and even 6X fluorocarbon tippets and much smaller flies. Blue-winged olives (BWOs) and midges are now going to be abundant and nymph fishing the deeper pockets and pools will be much more productive than dry-fly-fishing or dry-dropper configurations. The Roaring Fork is still fishing very well; we just need to fish it early (this year) downvalley, any time above Carbondale and Basalt. It just requires a bit of adjustment to entice strikes.

On the other hand, the Fryingpan is reaching its peak. The green drake hatch is beginning to really intensify and pale morning duns (PMDs), BWOs and evening rusty spinner falls are in full swing. Water temperatures delay hatches on the Fryingpan until mid August and throughout the rest of this month (and September, too), and some of the year's best dry-fly-fishing can be had right now. While small flies are required on the Fork now, big drakes and sizable PMDs are the norm on the Pan.

Most anglers would agree these large bugs are much more enjoyable to thread onto one's leader and watch drift along the currents while awaiting an eager strike. See you out there!

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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