On the Fly: Frenzied fishing
On the Fly
Now is the time to hit the ground running to the valley’s many rivers, streams and lakes. The big draw at this time of year is certainly the green drake mayfly hatch. Currently this hatch is taking place along the lower-elevation waters of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers below Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. This evening hatch provides thrilling and frenzied Dry-fl fishing during the evenings. Locally, this event is called the “lightning round” or “hour of power,” as the final 45 minutes to hour and a half of daylight is when these large mayflies prefer to hatch.
This hatch still is in its infantile stages and historically becomes a full-bore hatch around July 4. Many local fly patterns have been developed to imitate these insects accurately because of the fact that our drakes don’t quite fit the mold of traditional colors and proportions. Some of my favorite drake patterns include TC sparkleduns, BDE drakes, KGBs, pimped-out H&Ls, drake cripples and winged-drake emergers in sizes 10 to 12.
While the Roaring Fork and Colorado yields its best dry-fly-fishing opportunities in the evening hours, the Fryingpan River will fish with dries midday from noon to 3 p.m. PMDs and caddis are common along the lower river, while below the dam, BWOs and midges are the name of the game. Late evenings also give way to decent rusty-spinner falls.
Diehard fans of the Fryingpan will find that the river is pleasantly devoid of its usual crowds as most anglers flock to the bigger rivers to chase the green drakes around. Complex hatches consisting of BWOs, PMDs and caddis can be had. BWOs and midges are the smallest of these insects (size 20 to 24), followed by PMDs (size 16 to 18) and caddis (size14 to 18). In a nutshell, just keep your eyes open if the fish are eating the small fly (BWOs) or the big fly (PMDs/caddis). Often, we will fish tandem fly setups consisting of one of each, enabling the fish to pick their fly du jour.
This time of year easily offers the best and most consistent fishing whether you opt to walk, wade or float the rivers. The rivers still are dropping and clearing, meaning that believe it or not, the fishing still is getting better and better daily. Tight lines to all!
The staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt provides “On the Fly” each week.
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A “Snowmass Live” performance series brings live comedy and music to Base Village this summer.