On the Fly: Let the fall festival of fly-fishing commence

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

Just like that, fall is here. Leaves are starting to turn in the high country, the nights are brisk, and more importantly, the fishing is about to ramp up. The shorter days and cooler temperatures kick our trout into high gear as they sense these changes, and a primal urge to feed on anything and everything takes over. This especially applies to the thousands of brown trout here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Fall brings spawning season every year for brown trout, and they begin to pair up and create beds. Females brush the river bottom with their tails to create a clean area for procreation, usually gravelly bottomed areas are preferred. Once eggs are deposited on the river bottom, males fertilize them, and tend to guard the bed with a vengeance. When you come across these clean beds this fall, be sure to give them a wide berth and walk downstream of them if you need to cross the river. When we walk upstream of these beds, we cover the eggs with mud and moss, which prevents the eggs from fertilizing and developing properly.

As we mentioned last week, fall is the absolute best time to cast larger flies (streamers) here in the valley. This is primarily because of these aggressive behaviors that come along with spawning, in addition to the shorter days and cooler nights triggering the need to bulk up as reliable food sources begin to wane. The days of size 10 green drakes will soon be over, and soon there won’t be much to forage for besides the occasional midge or winter stonefly.

As fall takes over here in the valley, be sure to spend some days on your favorite section of river. A section that was a little slow over the past few weeks just might surprise you this time around. Keep an eye out for those beds, give them a wide berth, and don’t forget the fall blue winged olive hatch will come back in earnest soon on the Fork and Colorado!

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