On The Fly: There is no offseason

Taylor Logsdon
On The Fly

Donovan lauded by hometown crowd in Vail

You know you’re in a legislator’s home town when that legislator gets more applause than the governor. That’s what happened in Vail Tuesday when State Sen. Kerry Donovan was introduced during a bill-signing ceremony for a bill she sponsored. That bill — Senate Bill 16-021 if you’re keeping score at home — establishes the third Saturday in May as a new state holiday Public Lands Day.

In remarks before Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill, Donovan said public lands are “critical” to Colorado, improving the quality of life for both mountain town residents and people who visit those areas.

Donovan credited a number of organizations — from the Outdoor Industries Association to Walking Mountain Science Center — for their support for the bill. The Vail Town Council also passed a resolution of support. Donovan said that doesn’t happen often with legislation, so it is noticed in Denver.

In her remarks, Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, who co-sponsored the bill in the Colorado House of Representatives, said easy access to public lands is a part of efforts to recruit businesses to the state.

Doug Lovell, the Chief Operating Officer at Vail and Beaver Creek, talked about the importance of public lands to both the company he represents and the broader local economy.

Before signing the bill, Hickenlooper noted that legislation “makes more sense” for Colorado than words can express.

After the comments, the few dozen people gathered for the ceremony went outside to the deck of the Grand View Room atop the Lionshead parking structure. With Vail Mountain as the backdrop, and using a handful of pens, Hickenlooper authorized the state’s newest holiday.

— Scott N. Miller

It is what it is this time of year and the wet weather continues. With the weather warming and the amount of fishable water shrinking due to runoff and water clarity, anglers are flocking to the Fryingpan River. The Fryingpan provides the most predictable fishing at this time of year. Flows have been constant; around 350 cubic feet per second. Along with the consistent flows there also has been a constant flow of anglers to the mile-long stretch below the dam. The big fish in the “flats” are being shown a variety of tactics and techniques by anglers. If you choose to fish near the dam, stay small and drab with your fly selection and utilize small tippet (6x and 7x fluorocarbon). If you are going to make the drive up the Fryingpan, make sure you stop at your favorite fly shop to grab some local fly patterns and light fluorocarbon tippets. This will undoubtedly increase your success.

If the upper Fryingpan has worn thin for you, utilize some of the other fringe runoff fishing opportunities. Give the lower four miles of the Fryingpan a shot, or try the Roaring Fork through Aspen. The fish in the Aspen area have seen far fewer anglers than their cousins on the upper Fryingpan.

The Rio Grande Trail provides great access right through the heart of Aspen. The water visibility is still in great shape up here. This clarity may be temporary, so get fishing while you can! Be adventurous and cover the water, particularly the soft pockets.

Your fly selection should contain some larger attractor nymphs such as cat poop stones, San Juan worms and various beadhead nymphs. Hit the meat of the runs, get your flies down to the fish with ample weight and stay mobile. Your dry-fly selection should include some Parachute blue wing olives and CDC comparaduns for cloudy days. The outrigger caddis, peacock caddis and the pearl and elk caddis will get some grabs as well, especially during late afternoons. There’s no need to get out early as you’ll find the best fishing to be midday into the early evening hours.

This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.