On the Fly: Fish outside the box | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Fish outside the box

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – Runoff is officially upon us in the Roaring Fork Valley as daytime high temperatures have finally climbed into the 60s and 70s. Most local rivers are now running high and discolored, making fishing difficult to say the least.

This left me scratching my head, trying to think outside the box in hopes of finding fishable water. It’s too early in the year to fish the high country, which is usually my saving grace during the summer months when there’s heavy traffic on the big-name rivers. What’s an angler to do during mud season?

Still-water opportunities abound this month and, in fact, offer some of the best still-water fishing of the entire year. Water temperatures are warming and bringing life back into the shallows of all local lakes, ponds and reservoirs. This past week I ventured up to Ruedi Reservoir to try my hand at fishing for lake trout (mackinaw trout). These voracious fish grow to lengths of 30-plus inches and can often exceed 20 pounds in weight. The lake trout in Ruedi are carnivorous to say the least and feed on kokanee salmon, white suckers and perch, as well as juvenile rainbow and brown trout. What fly fisher wouldn’t want to catch the largest trout of their life?

Owing to the large size of their prey, these fish generally respond to fish streamer patterns that range from 3 to 6 inches. Heavier rods in the 6, 7 or 8 weight category are needed to effectively cast these larger flies. With such a tremendous snowpack this past winter, water levels have been brought down on Ruedi in anticipation of a large runoff. This gives wading anglers access to water that is normally submerged. I find fishing the inlet to be the most productive piece of water during this time when lake trout cruise the shallows.

As I’ve written before and most of you well know, we’re avid carp-fishing junkies too, and the carp fishing has been pretty unreal lately on the many backwater sloughs of the Lower Colorado River, below New Castle. Stop in your local fly shop and start fishing out of the box more often. It will make you a more rounded angler, and knowledge is power.

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