On the Fly: Silver linings and reading the tea leaves

Scott Spooner
Taylor Creek Fly Shops
There is still a bunch of snow up high, so the worries of “is it melting too quickly?” have now become “holy moly let’s get this snow melting already.”
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

When do you think runoff will be over? Understanding and predicting runoff is truly a parlor game, and this year takes the cake.

You’ll drive yourself crazy if you ask five people what they think because five completely different answers await you.

If you’re curious as to why we fuss about it, it affects when our summer float fishing season begins, which is typically mid-June. If I read the tea leaves correctly, we’re going to have to be patient this go-round.

The majority of streams are currently running below normal levels, but this will change once we can string together a few hot days. At least, I think so. It depends upon who you ask.

There is still a bunch of snow up high, so the worries of “Is it melting too quickly?” have now become “Holy moly, let’s get this snow melting already.”  

Speaking of silver linings, the Roaring Fork River (especially above the Crystal River) remains quite fishable despite the higher volume, especially in the afternoons, whether on foot or by boat. Most of the fish are hugging the bank and softer water and not opposed to inhaling a well-presented grasshopper pattern, cranefly larva, or golden stonefly nymph.

Another silver lining — you can “rope up” with heavier tippet, which will allow you to get the catch-and-release over as quickly as possible.

A few, lower-elevation lakes are opening up, the Fryingpan remains at a very fishable flow of 230 cubic feet per second, and plenty of (lucky) people are living it up at the Bar ZX Ranch or various saltwater destinations.

Christina Medved at The Roaring Fork Conservancy sends out a weekly snowpack email in winter and stream flows email in summer, which we highly recommend you sign up for.

Whether you’re a paddler, farmer, patroller, liftie, concierge, or fishing guide, the snow affects your life in one way or another, if not entirely.

If you would like to receive Christina’s weekly report from the Roaring Fork Conservancy, just head over to, and sign up today, so you can join in on the conversation at every boat ramp, bar, and fly shop in the valley.

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


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