On the Fly: Got a hatch?
June 14, 2005
I glance at the bushes along the banks of the Roaring Fork in Aspen daily in anticipation of that sudden and profuse flutter of insects that tells me I can relegate my strike indicator to some pocket of my vest and tie on a dry. Not yet.Anglers are reporting the first hints of a caddis hatch on the lower Fryingpan, along with dry-fly action on blue wing olives, and some hatches of caddis and stoneflies on the lower Fork, but up in these parts, we’re still nymphing and waiting.The official skinny on the Crystal and Colorado rivers is this: “Don’t bother.” Mowing the lawn would be a more productive use of your time than casting a fly in those muddied waters, according to Tim Heng, manager at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.The Fryingpan, on the other hand, was flowing at 155 cubic feet per second out of the dam on Ruedi Reservoir yesterday and the water was clear all the way to Basalt, Heng reported.”It’s just perfect,” he said. “It’s just the way we like it.”Anglers are finding success with blue wing olives and midges on the Pan, and have seen a few caddis flies on the lower stretches of the river.Art Rowell, manager at Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt, suggested blue wing olives and midges in size 20 and 22 on the Pan, as well as stonefly and caddis nymphs – 10s and 12s – for about the first eight miles up from Basalt. For caddis flies, he advised Nos. 14 and 16.The Fork is still running high, especially in the lower valley, so watch your footing. It picks up some color below its confluence with the Crystal, but it’s fishable from Aspen to Glenwood, according to Heng. On the lower parts of the Roaring Fork, he recommended Nos. 12 and 14 caddis flies and stoneflies in the 8-to-10 range.Anglers on the lower Fork are also casting “big, hairy, dry flies,” said Rowell. Try a stimulator pattern in an 8, 10 or 12.If you’re hitting the Fork in the Aspen area, Heng suggested stonefly nymphs, copper johns and prince nymphs (with or without a bead) in the 14 to 16 range.My advice is, keep an eye on the bushes.