On the fly: Autumn splendor
September 29, 2011
BASALT – Now that fall is officially here, some of the best fishing of the entire year begins to take place. If you were to ask local fishing guides what their favorite time of year is to fish, the overwhelming majority would say fall.
While our summer fishing season is legendary, the two-legged people hatch can sometimes outnumber the insect hatches. During autumn, this is certainly not the case. Long gone are the crowds, leaving the rivers to locals, old men, kids and those few tourists in the know about the superb fall fishing that takes place in the Roaring Fork Valley.
This past week, I took my 8-year-old daughter, Madison, up Independence Pass to fish and hike along the Grottos on the upper Roaring Fork River en route to Lincoln Creek.
The crisp morning air was punctuated with vibrant hues of yellows, golds, greens and reds. Even as a local, I was impressed with the vibrancy of the fall colors.
We were both in complete and utter awe of our surroundings. As we neared the river, we both spotted several fish that were casually rising in the deeper pools.
Clean, cool air, beautiful surroundings and rising fish make me feel more alive. It’s funny how Mother Nature has a way of doing that to me.
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Fly selection does not need to be overly technical on these waters, as these fish are more opportunistic feeders than their relatives on the rivers below Aspen. We caught several healthy, plump rainbows and brook trout on various caddis dry flies.
The fish seemingly know that winter is on the horizon and, because of that, the fish feed more heavily, packing on weight to carry them over through the winter. This is the case not just here, but on all valley waters.
Brown and brook trout are especially eager during the fall prior to the beginning of their annual spawn. The hallmarks of fall fishing are chasing blue-wing olive mayfly hatches on foot and streamer fishing the large rivers out of drift boats and rafts.
The toughest problem you might have this fall is paying attention to the fish and the river amongst the autumn splendor.