On the fly: So many choices | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: So many choices

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Kirk WebbAustralian angler Mike Kuzma lands a Roaring Fork River cutthroat trout, caught on a dry fly.

BASALT – It must be summertime, as the past few weeks have been a complete blur to me filled with trout, bugs, swishing currents, fly floatant, customers, clients, worn-out legs and a complete lack of sleep. Funny thing is, I’m not even tired. On the contrary, I’m more fired up and energized than I usually am.

This sort of maniacal obsession is shared with many other dedicated fly fishers throughout the country. I have literally been out on the water every single day since the second week of June in an ongoing effort to find rising fish, which are undoubtedly my favorite kind to target and stalk.

I love to dry-fly fish and I’m perfectly content sitting on the riverbank watching my friends nymph up some trout while waiting on whatever hatch to materialize. I don’t need to catch every trout in the river anymore, nor do I feel the need to strictly hunt big fish. I live for the visuals of dry-fly fishing. When I first began fly fishing, the allure to me was watching fish ever so slowly rise to my dry fly, inspect and follow my offering, and then if all goes well, hopefully commit and finally inhale the fly. This style of fishing requires the ultimate in patience. Unlike nymph fishing, you do not want to set the hook immediately when fishing dry flies. Instead you want the fish to eat your dry fly, take it completely under the water’s surface and then, and only then, set the hook. I know this sounds easy, but dry-fly fishing tests the patience of even the best anglers.

During the summer, I pick and choose the times to go fishing when I know that rising fish can be found. For the past few weeks I’ve been fishing the Roaring Fork River, following the green drake mayfly hatch from its beginnings in Glenwood Springs to its now present location in Aspen. In other parts of the country, this hatch typically lasts a week or two. In our valley, though, dry-fly junkies like me can follow and fish this epic hatch for months, all the way from June through September.

Green drake and pale morning dun mayflies are now being seen on the Fryingpan River near Basalt. These hatches are in still in their infancy but are becoming more prevalent on a daily basis. Keep in mind that the best times to dry fly fish are limited to mornings and evenings on the Roaring Fork, while the hatches on the Fryingpan are often best midday and at dusk. If you want to experience the ultimate in fly fishing, do it with dry flies.

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