On the fly: Try the Fork | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: Try the Fork

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – When most fly anglers think of wintertime fishing here in the valley, the Fryingpan River certainly receives much of the attention and the majority of the press. With subpar skiing and snow conditions, the Fryingpan River has been seeing far above average numbers of anglers fishing immediately below Ruedi Reservoir. Big trout are common along this stretch and the area below the dam offers the easiest wading opportunities amongst crowds of anglers.

What many out-of-town visitors don’t realize is that the Roaring Fork River below Basalt is the local’s choice for the best winter fishing. With the warm waters of the Fryingpan spilling into the Roaring Fork in downtown Basalt, this unique freestone river will fish extremely well throughout the winter and in particular during the afternoon and evening hours when the water temperatures are at their warmest.

The beauty of this scenario is that the Roaring Fork receives far less fishing pressure than the Fryingpan, practically guaranteeing you solitude on the river. For me, finding solitude is almost as important as catching fish. Thankfully, the Roaring Fork is fishing extremely well and anglers have been reporting superb fishing with huge numbers of fish being caught. As an added bonus, the average size of the fish caught on the Roaring Fork far exceeds that of the Fryingpan.

I recently ventured to the Roaring Fork the other day between Basalt and Carbondale near Catherine Store. Fishing was good to say the least, as I caught fish after fish eating various egg and midge patterns. Whitefish, rainbows and browns were caught seemingly every other drift without another angler in sight besides my fishing partner of the day, Travis Lyons.

Remarking about the superb fishing, Travis informed me that earlier in the day he had landed a solid 5-pound trout downstream near the Carbondale boat ramp and the Satank Bridge. While egg patterns have been landing the majority of the fish as of late, small black midges are gaining in effectiveness and will only continue to do so as we approach February. Travis believes that the biggest key is often just finding water that hasn’t seen fished over by other anglers.

Don’t get stuck into the line of thinking that the only place to fish is the Fryingpan below the dam. Reach out and explore the Roaring Fork during this 2012 winter season. You’ll be glad you did.

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