On the fly: Fine fall fishing
October 11, 2012
BASALT – It’s finally fall, and the rivers are running low and clear, and are devoid of crowds. This is not to say that the rivers aren’t fishing well. On the contrary, the fishing is sensational, due in large part to the cooling weather and lack of fishing pressure.
The Fryingpan River in particular is fishing great thanks to the river flows being at low fall levels, which makes the river significantly more accessible. Additionally, these lower flows improve the dry-fly fishing as the soft pockets of water are now much more abundant. The hatches are overlapping, with both summer and fall insects available consisting of midges and rusty spinners in the mornings, blue-wing olives, pale morning duns and flavs during the afternoons as well as caddis in the evening hours. Fishing light fluorocarbon tippets of 6X and 7X are mandatory. We typically nymph fish using 6X and fish dry flies on 7X.
The Roaring Fork River has been fishing equally well and in particular from Carbondale downstream to Glenwood Springs. This section of river is ideal to float in a small raft or by walk-and-wade fishing. Early morning and late evening streamer floats can be sensational. Smaller size (nos. 6-10) natural-colored streamers are best. Local favorites include autumn splendors, stingin’ sculpins and Ziwi’s among others. As the whitefish and brown trout continue to spawn, egg patterns are also viable nymph patterns.
With fall now here, look for the fish to transition back to the deeper pools and seams. This is a huge benefit for anglers as the water is now very to read and therefore easy to find where the fish are hiding.
The Colorado River below Glenwood Springs is a river filled with mystery, myths and legends. Only in recent years have fly anglers begun to unlock its secrets. It was once a river that only guides and in-the-know locals used to fish. Not anymore. Some of the largest fish and easily the strongest fish in the valley can be found from Glenwood Springs down to Rifle, with fall presenting some of the best fishing opportunities.