On the Fly: You can have your cake and eat it too

On the Fly
Scott Spooner
Local angler Meddie Hogg with a Fryingpan River rainbow trout. Photo courtesy of Brandon Soucie

While only a select few ski runs are open as of yet, there are a plethora of local river runs that remain wide-open for visitors and locals alike. As travelers are seeing, the snow is a bit on the light side as of now. Surely the flakes will fly in earnest later this winter, but don’t despair if you are in town and not impressed with the amount of snow we’ve accumulated so far. It will come.

If you are a visiting angler, rental equipment is readily available at most fly shops here. Hiring a wade or float fishing guide will make your day even easier, and all equipment is usually provided in these situations. Most angling skiers know to bring their rods and waders when visiting, so all they need are some fly and location recommendations to have a nice time on the water. Insect hatches are simplified in the winter, so having a successful day isn’t as complicated as our complex summertime hatches can be.

Most sections of rivers here from Aspen down to Glenwood Springs remain fishable through the winter months, barring areas that don’t receive ample sunlight. The best example is the renowned Fryingpan River in Basalt, which is a dam-release tailwater that remains open and fishable regardless of time of year. This river is a 365 day fishery, and finding a spot to wet a line is pretty easy.

If you are comfortable skiing, you can certainly stay warm enough while fishing. Simply layer up like you would on the slopes, and we would argue it’s always warmer down low on the river than it would be getting off a ski lift anywhere in the Rocky Mountains. Flies of note are mysis shrimp, midges, blue winged olive nymphs, egg patterns and small streamers that represent other juvenile fish. Grab some information from your favorite local fly shop, there’s nothing stopping you from having a ball on our quality trout streams here in the Roaring Fork Valley!

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