On the fly: Evening hatches and solitude

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Peak runoff has finally come and gone. River conditions are changing almost daily as water flows continue to drop and clear.

Most anglers coming to fish in our wonderful valley are heading up to the Fryingpan River where the water is high but clear. The mysis shrimp fishing immediately below Ruedi Reservoir in the “Flats” has been a saving grace for anglers as the river is easily wadeable here despite the higher than normal water flows. Angling pressure is equally high here with seemingly as many fishermen in this stretch of river as there are fish. It always astounds me that people perceive the best fishing to always take place immediately below the dam. It’s what I like to call the “Colorado Tailwater Syndrome.”

A noticeable change in fish and insect behavior is beginning to take place as summer fishing conditions are now finally begin to take hold. Our major summer insect hatches are now occurring, including stoneflies, caddis, green drake and pale morning dun mayflies.

Daily hatches of pale morning duns are taking place along the entire Fryingpan River and have made for superb rusty spinner falls in the evening hours. A rusty spinner is the spent or dying pale morning dun mayfly. From around 5 p.m. until dark, the spinners collect and fall on the waters surface, creating one of the best dry fly fishing opportunities of the entire season. Seek out the calmer pockets and pools and look for noses poking through the waters surface. The beauty of this hatch is that most anglers are off the water this late in the day, leaving just a few solitary, in-the-know anglers to chase the masses of rising fish.

I’ve always felt that fly fishing is supposed to be my escape from people where I can clear my head and forget about the real world. Instead of going up and fishing the Fryingpan River in the Flats, amongst the crowds, I encourage you to explore more of what the Fryingpan River has to offer. Dry flies, rising trout and solitude are what fly fishing is all about to me. I enjoy seeing the take and watching hatches and nature unfold around me. This is what fly fishing is all about.