On the Fly: Cool and red hot
The weather cooled off, but the fishing on the Fryingpan and Roaring Fork rivers has been red hot as anglers count the days until big water forces them ashore.Cool temperatures this week have actually dropped back flows and boosted clarity on the Fork, where anglers are finding success from Aspen to Carbondale. Flows on the dam-controlled Fryingpan dropped from 297 cubic feet per second on Tuesday to 267 cfs Thursday.”The fishing has just actually been red hot. It has been fantastic,” said Will Sands, guide and manager at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.Eventually, a high-country meltdown will turn the Fork into a torrent, and the Bureau of Reclamation is projecting big flows on the Pan later this month, but for now, anglers are hitting both rivers with success.The Fork is up enough that Taylor Creek has run a few float trips from Basalt to Carbondale, while a guide with Fryingpan Anglers in Basalt put in at Jaffee Park near Woody Creek early this week and ran the Fork down to Basalt (reporting success on green and black streamers).”It [the Fork] has been running clear, which is pretty strange for this time of year,” said Maureen “Mo” Bratcher at Fryingpan Anglers.Standout flies for the Pan, according to Sands, include size 20 blue-wing olive sparkle duns, Barr emergers, RSIIs, pheasant tails in sizes 18 and 20, and a size 20 bead wing midge in gray or black. BWO hatches on the Pan have been producing some dry-fly action, as well, he said.Bratcher added sparkle baetis, sparkleback RSIIs and size 16 and 18 prince nymphs (no bead) to the list.On the Fork, try a size 10 or 12 golden stone, size 18 BLMs (beaded little mayflies), prince nymphs with or without a bead, red copper Johns in sizes 16 and 18, and a size 16 graphic caddis or electric caddis, Sands advised.It has been mostly nymph fishing on the Fork, he said, but for dry flies, try BWOs or a caddis pattern – etha wing, pearl or elk hair.
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