On the fly: Wading it out | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: Wading it out

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Kirk WebbChris "Wild Thing" Vaughn with a Roaring Fork rainbow caught this week near Glenwood Springs.

BASALT – Winter always seems like such a long season for the fly fisher: Long, dark and cold days and nights are generally spent at home keeping busy with related fly-fishing items.

Many winter fly anglers turn to fly-tying as a means of keeping things fishy without actually fishing. Of course, you could always clean and recondition your reels and fly lines to put them back into solid working order after a season of abuse and neglect. Reorganizing your fly boxes is another chore that should be done at least once a year.

During the height of the season I always end up with at least one fly box that serves as a temporary docking station until I have the time (winter) to put the flies away in their rightful place. As much as I fish, it seems like there’s always a new leak springing up in my waders. Our rivers run cold year round, and as easy as waders are to fix, there’s no excuse to be cold and wet out there.

Some of the best fishing of the entire year is on the horizon. Don’t go out there and be a hack with marginal equipment, knots and flies thinking that you’ll be able to skim by. Good anglers are often successful from knowing each and every piece of their equipment inside out and backward and how each piece performs under pressure. Like any sport, practice makes perfect.

Mid-February through March has recently come to be our not-so-secret fifth fishing season. With daylight lengthening and having high temperatures take hold, the trout begin to transition out of the deeper pools and seams and into shallower waters. This transition often takes place during the heat of the day, which is when insect activity is at its highest. Midges and winter stoneflies are the two primary hatches that anglers will encounter at this time of year.

Recent forays on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers have yielded plenty of happily feeding trout being caught on winter stonefly imitations – so much so, in fact, that they have been my top fly for the past two weeks. On Monday, I caught my first glimpse of rising fish on the Roaring Fork, an occurrence that I haven’t seen in months!

There’s no doubt that the fishing is dramatically picking up, so don’t be left out in the cold this winter.

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