On the Fly: Summer fishing in Roaring Fork Valley about to heat up
As the Roaring Fork Valley gears up for another summer, we are all getting excited for the insect hatches to come.
The Sunday Farmers’ Market in Basalt is back again, Food & Wine in Aspen has come and left, and itinerant guides are settling back in after offseason exploits in warmer climes. Runoff conditions are persistently hanging on for another week or two, but most anglers know and appreciate this transitional time in the fly fisher’s year. Big water lets the insects and anglers alike know that changes are afoot, and soon the widely popular freestone river caddis, pale morning dun and green drake hatches will be on our doorstep.
The Fryingpan River has already resumed a low and clear flow compared with the big water on the local freestones, and the first pale morning dun hatches have already begun! Hatches have been slightly more consistent up below the dam, but on the flipside, you might see just about anything hatch on the lower river closer to Basalt. After a healthy water flush of over 600 cubic feet per second last week, fish and insects on the Fryingpan have been redistributed and the river has had a nice spring cleaning.
Another noteworthy development is the opening of high-country lakes throughout the valley. High-elevation spots will stay iced up for a while longer, but keep in mind anything getting full sun below 10,000 feet in elevation is pretty much good to go. High-country fishing trails will be muddy and snowy for a few more weeks, but you might be the first angler to cast over those brookies and cutthroat after a long and cold winter season.
Look for the Roaring Fork, Crystal and Colorado rivers to remain discolored for a bit longer, but you will notice plenty of anglers already plying these waters in the afternoons as they clear somewhat. Get ready for another terrific fishing summer everyone; it’s here and it’s happening now!
This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.
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Kevin Warner started his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a wilderness ranger in 2001. Now he’s taking over the key position as Aspen-Sopris District Ranger.