On the fly: Tips for spring
BASALT – The mountains are closing and ski season comes to an end just as our fishing season begins to take flight. At this time of year the weather and water flows are often variable. Cool evening temperatures will yield the best successive fishing days along the Roaring Fork River, as this slows the snowmelt and keeps runoff to a minimum. With warmer daytime temperatures, the opposite effect will occur.Learning to fish in periods of higher and discolored water will make you a more successful angler. In fact, many seasoned fly fishing guides actually prefer to fish in these water conditions, as the fish are often less leery and more willing to feed more openly for extended periods of time. Larger attractor nymph patterns like San Juan worms, eggs, rubberleg stoneflies, 20-inchers and the like are all viable flies, particularly as a lead/point fly. Dropper patterns should be more in line with current hatch conditions. Midges and blue wing olives are our two primary hatches taking place. That being said, the best dropper flies include sparklewing or Mercury RS-2s, biot midges, freestone emergers, polywing emergers and soft-hackle BWOs in sizes 18-22.As April continues to move forward, the year’s first heavy hatch, the caddis, will begin. This hatch will begin on the warmer waters of the Colorado River and will gradually march upstream to the Roaring Fork. At times, this hatch is so heavy that it can literally appear to be snowing caddis. During warm afternoons from around 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the caddis will start to hatch and fish can be taken on a variety of caddis dry flies drifted or skated on the water’s surface. During this small window, the fishing is often as frenzied and fast-paced as it is during our renowned, summertime green drake hatch. Evenings will also offer some sensational fishing as the adult caddis return to the rivers to mate, lay eggs and eventually die. This window will generally last only for an hour or two, thus if you are only able to fish after work, then you can still expect some solid fishing.
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 taylorcreek.com.
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Pitkin County public health officials are working toward opening a free, drive-through COVID -19 testing site in Aspen that will not require a doctor’s prescription.