On The Fly: Get out there and fish
On The Fly
The top mile of the Fryingpan tailwater is a place of legend, where large fish are known to be as picky as New York restaurant critics. Seemingly, during December and January, it is one of the only places to fish here in the Valley, but things are already changing out there for the fly-fisherman. Ice that once choked the Roaring Fork River has started to clear. The Colorado River has seen some decent midge hatches, which these 40- and 50-degree days have helped usher in. There are sections of the Crystal River that are wide open, even up near Marble.
Sure, there are some bitter cold and icy weeks to come, but it already feels as though the proverbial worm has turned. With the lack of snow (although we are currently sitting comfortably) we are seeing, boat ramps have been accessible for floats on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers throughout the winter. Overnight temperatures have been on the warm side, allowing the bigger rivers to remain relatively slush-free. It’s much easier to get your heavy nymphs down in the trout zone when there is no surface slush for them to get hung up on.
Another factor in the fly-fisher’s favor is the fish behavior this time of year. Most fish aren’t fanned out over the entire river now — they are in the deep, slow sections where food, oxygen and protection from predators is found. Simply put: they are mostly piled together in the softer water where they don’t have to expend much energy. This is akin to finding fish during spring runoff, when most are reliably a foot off the bank where they can take a break from the current. Once you dial in where they are, hookups should follow. I hope you can take some time to get out there and fish; there is a plethora of fishable water here in the valley right now besides the upper mile of the Pan.
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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Wayne Hall took a job as an air traffic controller at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in 2003 thinking he would stay for a short time. Instead he stayed for nearly 17 years and was promoted up to the position of air traffic manager. He reflected on the experience upon retirement.