On the Fly: Change is in the water

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

Exciting changes are upon us. The days are getting shorter, the nights are cooler, trees are starting to change into fall colors, and our rivers are clearing and dropping, as they always do. The fish are noticing these changes, and their feeding patterns, behaviors and diet are starting to adjust, and so must we fly-fishers.

Over the next month, we still should enjoy the prolific late-summer hatches of the Roaring Fork Valley, especially up the Fryingpan River, but those epic days are numbered, and we need to take advantage while we still can.

Flows are going to be dropping soon, and we need to consider stealth and accuracy to remain successful. Simply put, these fish have seen literally thousands of flies over the past few months, and with slower and clearer water on the way, the trout have plenty of time to inspect our fly and choose whether to accept it or refuse it.

The opposite argument can also be made here, as trout sense the lean and dark times on the horizon and start to feel a sense of urgency in regards to their caloric intake. This is the reason we have such incredible streamer fishing here in the fall, as is the case anywhere trout reside. Large meals take a higher priority than chasing down tiny flies, especially for large trout.

Blue-winged olives are officially back on the menu now and will take over top spot on the hatch chart, especially on the upper Fryingpan, Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers. These tiny mayflies are the official heralds of spring and fall, and they are already hatching heavily in certain areas.

September and October are magical around here, and this is the time to experience fewer people, vibrant colors and the late summer hatches keep on rolling!

On the Fly is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.