On the Fly: A spring skunking | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: A spring skunking

Janet Urquhart

There’s nothing like the first catch of the season to whet one’s appetite for a summer of glorious days on the river hauling in feisty trout.Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for mine. A handful of spring outings have yet to produce a fish in my net. After an unsatisfying and unproductive day on the Fork just below town this week, all I can say about spring runoff is, bring it on.Turgid rivers are just the excuse I need to put my fly rod down for a month. While other anglers move higher and higher upriver in search of waters that aren’t yet swollen and muddy, I’m thinking it’s time to head downstream and catch a few thrills on a raft in Glenwood Canyon.Nymph fishing – guessing which morsel is on the menu beneath the surface on any given day – has never been my forte, but this spring has been particularly dismal.Give me trout rising to a dry fly any day. At least I’ll know where the fish are, even if I fail to match the hatch. Nymphing is like talking to an answering machine with the standard-issue greeting – you don’t even know if you’ve dialed the right number, let alone whether anyone is there.That said, I can report the trout in the Fork were hanging deep on a partly sunny afternoon, and that a beadhead prince nymph did not entice them (with or without extra weight). Nor did a copper, in either the green or standard copper colors. Likewise, a small black baetis and a golden stonefly went untouched.I did briefly hook a very tiny fish on a buckskin caddis, but I had no further luck with that pattern, either.Since I wasn’t distracted by all the fish, I did notice a lot of trash on the bank, which makes for a skillful segue…The eighth annual Fryingpan River cleanup, organized by the Roaring Fork Conservancy, takes place Saturday. Lug back the “best trash” and get a prize.To help clean up a one-mile section of the river, show up at 8:30 a.m. at Lion’s Park in Basalt, snag a free breakfast and T-shirt, then head for the river. The event concludes at noon. Volunteers are advised to wear long pants, gloves, a hat and sunscreen.The rain date for the cleanup is May 6.

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