On the fly: There’s no excuse for not fishing

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

BASALT – I’ve been fortunate to have had the past 10 days off of work. Originally it was to be spent exhausting myself hunting elk in the high country. Low and behold, I came down with the flu and my body simply wouldn’t agree with the physical exertion needed to hunt elk successfully. What’s a person to do? The answer was simple: Go fishing.

I could be sick and stay at home sulking or I could be sick and go catch some fish. Thankfully, fly fishing is one of those hobbies that does not have to be physically demanding. As the old adage goes, when given lemons, make lemonade.

While cruising up the Fryingpan River last week, I quickly took notice of the many pumpkins that are mysteriously placed along the river for the entire 14-mile stretch of road from Basalt up to Ruedi Reservoir. It’s something of a tradition for many unspoken individuals to place pumpkins along this stretch of river. I love it. What a cool, local tradition.

Dry-fly anglers in particular will want to take advantage of the season’s last mayfly hatches along the Fryingpan. Blue-wing olives and midges are the primary hatches. Given the low and clear water, it’s a very visual game. I encourage anglers to stay away from the upper 2 to 4 miles of river below the dam, as the middle and lower stretches of river are by far and away fishing better.

The Roaring Fork River offers the best fishing in the valley right now and in particular, the river from Aspen to Basalt. Egg patterns are the name of the game and have accounted for the vast majority of fish being caught. Both traditional and peg egg varieties are fishing well. Focus on the deeper sections of water and bypass the spawning trout that are on their redds (spawning beds) in the shallows. Midges and BWO nymphs are the best flies to trail behind your egg patterns.

Keep in mind that with the time change and the cooling weather, there’s no need to be on the water at the crack of dawn. The prime fishing has been taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. With an extreme lack of fishing pressure, truly sensational fishing, and remarkably beautiful weather, there’s no excuse not to go, even if you’re sick.