On the Fly: High country delights

Scott Spooner/On the Fly
Photo of a high country brook trout. | Courtesy of Scott Spooner

High country fishing is officially on the menu now, which provides some of the most spectacular views and beautiful fish you will find anywhere.  Some anglers tire of busy rivers here in the valley during July and August, and hiking up to higher-altitude waters offers a nice respite. 

You don’t need waders — just a rain jacket, plenty of water and a cup of flies will provide for a fun day on the water. Keep in mind that our monsoonal rains will be here soon in the afternoons, so hiking up early is key to avoid lightning in the high country.

Flies of note are damsels, water boatmen, scuds, chironomids, callabaetis, hoppers and small streamers. It seems to be more effective to “sight fish” on lakes, casting to a particular fish versus casting and hoping, so to say.  Find a cruising fish and lead it by a few feet with a delicate cast, and most brookies and cutthroat will oblige you and inhale that well-presented fly.  Most fish in local lakes relate to the bank more than the deep water, so cruising the shoreline usually seems more effective than utilizing a belly boat or canoe. In early summer most vegetation and food are near the edges, so that is where the fish will be.

American Lake is quite popular with the local set, as well as Cathedral, Chapman, Lost Man, Petroleum, Savage and the Fryingpan lakes. For those of you who are looking to park and fish, check out Dinkle just past the Thomas Lakes trailhead. Most of these lakes contain brook and cutthroat trout exclusively, and many have small streams to enjoy on your way up and down the trail. 

We hope you get some nice time on our multitude of high country lakes in the Roaring Fork Valley this summer!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or