On the Fly: The best time of year | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: The best time of year

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

The air is crisp and cool. The leaves are turning into vibrant shades of yellow, gold, red and orange. Most anglers have put away their rods and reels for the year and instead opt to watch football, go hunting and wait for the snow to start flying so they can ski and shred the mountains. For many die-hard anglers, though, fall marks the year's best fishing. In fact, most of us look forward to this time of year, when the rivers are devoid of summer crowds and the water is low, clear and stacked with hungry fish. There are days when I feel like I've been let in on a big secret. I can have the river all to myself, or so it seems anyhow, as I wade knee-deep in the gin-clear water watching fish feed and forage on tiny blue-wing olive mayflies and various nymphs and seemingly catch as many trout as I want. Yeah, it can be that good.

With ideal weather expected through the weekend, count on all valley waters to fish well. The Colorado River from Glenwood Canyon down to Rifle has been fishing superbly well. This section of river is all about quality, not quantity. There's no doubt that the river is best fished by floating in a dory boat or raft. There's not one right way to catch a trout, and there are millions of flies and techniques that can be employed to be successful. I'm not a purist by any means, but I do have my preferences. Given the choice, my tendencies are to fish dry flies or streamers.

Streamer fishing the banks, undercuts and other forms of structure for the resident brown and rainbow trout is a thrilling and visual fishing experience. While most anglers move the fly by stripping the fly line, we often employ a slight variation of this technique, whereby we cast the fly at the riverbank, strip our line once to move the fly off the bank and onto the shelf, let it sink for a second or two and then twitch our fly out a few times (two or three) using the rod tip. After those few twitches, we're back to casting into a new spot or area, constantly covering new water and new fish. Favorite fall streamer patterns include dungeons, peanuts, slump busters and, of course, the venerable autumn splendor. Bring a soft (slow action) and heavy rod to make your life easier when casting these large pieces of fur, and get ready for some voracious and memorable steamer visuals.

"On the Fly" is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.

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