On the Fly: Time to switch things up

Scott Spooner/On the Fly
An angler fishes the twilight green drake hatch on the Roaring Fork River.

What a difference a week makes. We have started seeing pale morning duns on the Fryingpan, which vary in pink, red and yellow in sizes 14 down to 18. The golden stoneflies are thick this year down closer to Basalt, and we are seeing caddis hatch on the lower river this week too.

Runoff is essentially over at this point, so the Crystal and upper Roaring Fork are in very decent shape and already fishing well. There is still considerable volume in these rivers, but they are clearing and dropping fast. Many high mountain lakes are de-iced and already on the menu, too.  When the rivers start to feel a bit crowded, a hike up to your favorite lake is the way to go.

The main event is the green drake hatch on the Colorado and lower Roaring Fork this week. While you are waiting for them to hatch at dusk, there are prolific yellow sallies, pale morning duns and caddis to keep you busy on the river. The caddis vary from sizes 12 to 18, yellow sallies are usually around a size 16, and the PMDs down there go from 14 to 18 in size. Don’t forget the rusty spinners!

The green drake hatch is the reason many anglers choose to live here, and the time is now. The hatch is rolling upvalley quicker than usual, so don’t beat around the bush this year. Grab a few high-vis patterns you can pick out on the water when the light is low, and don’t forget the dry shake and fresh batteries in your headlamp. It’s here, it’s now, let’s fish!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or