On the Fly: Winter with a side of spring
On the Fly
Even though it’s only the beginning of February, it sure feels a lot like spring. With that said, there is much for the angler to be looking forward to in the coming weeks. We usually spend the coldest months of winter tying flies, organizing our fly boxes and giving our gear some much needed TLC, but with the current temperatures and mild winter we’re having, it seems the fishing just never stopped. Ice that is usually ever-present during these months has been non-existent, allowing the Roaring Fork, Colorado, and even the Crystal to be fishing well.
Locals know (but won’t say) that February through March offers some incredible fishing. One of the few occurrences to take note of would be the midge hatch that will spread through the valley. Believe it or not, I saw fish rising to midges on the Roaring Fork just last week!
When searching for risers on the big rivers, find some deep and slow moving water. If you see foam, you know you are in the right place. Midges are sitting ducks when they get trapped in the frothiness, and the “foam is home,” people. The hatch that takes place on the Fryingpan is a whole different game. Lately it’s been sporadic, but the next couple of weeks should tell a different story. A river of rising heads from bank to bank will be here before we know it.
The next bug to show up on the scene is quite a bit larger than the midge. Stoneflies will probably begin molting in the upcoming weeks on our freestone rivers and will be a larger food source for our local trout. Nothing foretells that spring is on the way more than fishing size No. 8 and N. 10 flies. Not only will the stones be present, but for a short period of time they will appear pale yellow to almost all white. As you might have guessed, during this stage the stoneflies are bull’s eyes to ravenous trout. This winter to spring transition isn’t all about the Fryingpan; get out there and explore what our other rivers have to offer!
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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An unwelcome but familiar weather pattern in the Aspen-area mountains has created conditions that are once again ripe for avalanches. The early, ample snow in October was followed by dry periods. That resulted in a poor foundation for the snowpack. Steep slopes on north to east aspects pose the greatest threat.