On the Fly: A tale of two rivers | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: A tale of two rivers

Will Sands
On the Fly

The midsummer switch is on.

Fishing has still been very good to excellent. The switch we are talking about is the changing hatches and tactics between the Roaring Fork and the Fryingpan that often catches anglers off-guard.

July is the forgiving month on the Roaring Fork, with lots of caddis, green drakes and eager fish throughout its length. As we move forward into August, water levels subside on the Fork, the big, early-summer insect hatches have ceased and our smaller mayflies, midges and more technical conditions can frustrate anglers who were so easily 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 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; 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 just beginning to really intensify and pale morning duns (PMDs), blue winged olives (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 some of the year's best dry fly fishing can be had. 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.

The hot flies on the Roaring Fork this week will be Swiss Straw Emergers, Mercer's Micro Mayfly, Dark STD's, Prince Nymph's and Freestone Emerger's. Fryingpan flies will consist of Green Drake Cripples, Fluttering Drakes, KGBs, Sparkledun PMDs, PMD No Hackles, Poxyback PMDs and Halfback Emergers.

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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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