On the Fly: The payoff after the runoff

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Pictured is “Sandy and Goliath,” a quasi-famous local guide named Sandy Moore. This iconic sculpture-sized carving sits at the intersection of Midland and Two Rivers Road in old town Basalt.
Photo courtesy of Scott Spooner

The Fryingpan is offering up everyone’s chance to catch the biggest trout of their life during the annual spring flush, and guides who have spread all across the country (and the world) are starting the annual migration back to Basalt. We have guides arriving from Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Florida, Christmas Island and Mexico in anticipation of another great season.

Many folks are “concerned” about the flows on the Fryingpan, but those in the know realize this is our opportunity to stick some nice fish — ones that don’t look like they’ve been caught six times since Sunday. The increase in flow pushes many big fish out of their hiding spots and helps spread the insects around the river. The sight fishing in the flats and the upper Fryingpan is as good as it gets, if you don’t mind seeing a few other anglers out there.

This looks like it will be another epic fishing season here in the Roaring Fork Valley. Our snowpack was well above average, it’s been a cool, slow-melting spring, and conditions should be perfect after the rivers clear. We will be fishing twilight green drakes on the Colorado and lower Roaring Fork rivers soon, and before you know it, the frenzied yellow sally and pale morning dun hatches that make this valley famous will be in full swing. The anticipation is killing me, but luckily time flies here in paradise.

I look forward to all the stories of the returning itinerant guides; they fish all over the world and usually have a few knee-slappers to share after offseason. The guide staff may be full of type-A personalities, but when it all boils down, all guides and local anglers are family, albeit a sometimes dysfunctional one. Be safe out there during these high flows, restock those fly boxes and fix your leaky waders — this year is going to be sweet!

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