On the Fly: When fishing calls for restraint
On the Fly
As we steam ahead to winter, there are a few things anglers need to keep in mind to remain effective and, more importantly, fish ethically while on the water. Fall brings lower flows and changes in insect hatches. We are still seeing a few random green drakes on the Fryingpan and even a few pale morning duns on the Pan as well as the lower Fork and Colorado Rivers, but these “summer” hatches are fading fast. Now we will see a resurgence of blue winged olives and midges valley-wide.
Blue winged olives are one of the smaller mayflies here in the Roaring Fork Valley, and we see the strongest numbers of them in spring and fall. Midges hatch every day of the year here, but play second fiddle to hungry fish as they tend to focus on larger insects in spring and summer. Trout tend to gravitate to what they see the most, so smaller flies are now being replaced by large hoppers, stoneflies and drakes on fly fisher’s tippets.
When it comes to fishing ethically this time of year, we start to notice brown trout spawning beds (known as redds) almost everywhere that has shallow water and a somewhat gravelly bottom. Many newer anglers (that don’t know any better, in their defense) find a large fish in shallow water hard to pass up, especially when they are easy to see and even easier to feed. I’d argue that there are plenty of anglers that do know better casting to these vulnerable fish as well.
The reason we leave them alone (and never walk on them, either) is because they are spawning and creating future generations. Larger females will clean the river bottom with their tails to create the redd, which generally looks like a clean oval shape in shallow water. So keep your eyes peeled out there this fall and give those spawning fish a chance to do what nature intends — there are always fish around the next bend that aren’t in the act of reproducing, ready to eat your well-presented fly!
This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.
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Doug Fuechsel got excited about taekwondo as a first-year college student in the early 1970s after seeing a Bruce Lee movie. The black belt now has a plan for spreading his love for the martial art.