On the fly: Squashing the bug | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: Squashing the bug

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

BASALT – I think I’ve just about squashed the fishing bug.

With a day off Monday, I vacillated between taking a hike and spending the day on the river. I chose the latter and got little more than a tan to show for it.

Had I gone for a hike, I’d have been virtually assured the scenery would be mine for the viewing and that I’d get some decent exercise for my efforts. Fishing for me, this spring, has been something of a crapshoot – mostly crap, actually.

I figured some expert advice was in order, so I swung by a fly shop to purchase whatever was recommended for the Roaring Fork in the midvalley and the lower Fryingpan. I was all set, except I’d left my fly rod at home. I could have left it there for all the good it did me during two hours of fruitless casting on the Fork with every fly I bought for the occasion and then some.

The water was clear and relatively low at a time when the river should be washed out. I don’t know if the fish are confused by this season, but I certainly am.

I regrouped, headed for the Pan and changed out my leader for something in 7x, which is essentially too small to be seen with the naked eye. Tying a tiny RS2 to trail behind a small caddis took some doing. Naturally I quickly lost both on a strike by a small brown. But at least the wind picked up.

After an eternity spent rerigging my line, I caught and lost another junior brown and then landed one quite by accident. I didn’t even know it had taken the nymph, small as this fish was.

A bigger brown struck in a deep pocket out in the current. I didn’t realize I had that one either until I tried to back cast. I found myself trying to run downstream on the shore, following the fish in the current because I didn’t want to lose what might be my only decent fish of the day. It was all very “A River Runs Through It” or “A Fool Runs With It” or something.

The fish wasn’t big, but it was respectable, and it was the last time I’d reach for my net. I spent the rest of the afternoon changing out flies to no avail. The RS2 fell out of favor with the fish, and none of my other purchases proved enticing, either.

By the time I called it quits, I was paying more attention to the butterflies than my flies. Tiger swallowtails were floating everywhere and lined up on the shore like colorful spinnakers tilting in the breeze. Lying in the sand trying to take pictures of butterflies wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it was better than the fishing.


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