Fishing report: Changing season

Will Sands
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – The subtle change of the season is upon us. Days are cooling down, leaves are turning a bit, it’s getting dark earlier, and fall seems to be right around the corner. Fall means some rewarding fishing for locals as well as visiting anglers, who are noticeably fewer.

Although we will still see the continuation of great Pale Morning Duns (PMDs) and Green Drakes on the Fryingpan for a while longer, hatches and tactics will begin to slowly change throughout the month of September.

Dry fly fishing has been very good lately on the Fryingpan. Green Drakes and PMDs have still been out in great force, but blue winged olives (BWOs) are reappearing throughout the Fryingpan. Fish often focus on these smallish mayflies, as they can greatly outnumber PMDs and drakes. This can confuse anglers who are seeing multitudes of rising fish during a drake or PMD hatch, but don’t take notice of the smaller BWOs on the water.

A good practice to take advantage of these scenarios is to fish the larger PMD or drake pattern as your lead fly and use a BWO as your trailing fly. This combination assists in covering two of your three possible food sources and the larger lead fly can be used as a strike indicator for that tiny Blue Winged Olive Dropper.

There is less dry fly fishing to be had on the Roaring Fork, but the nymphing and streamer action has been very consistent. Besides the increased BWO activity on the Fork, the streamer fishing has been heating up. Many anglers relish the opportunity to throw large wooly buggers and sculpin imitations, hoping to entice aggressive fall fish. If you have never explored the world of streamer fishing, then this is the time to branch out and give it a go. Often these big nasty flies will account for some of the largest fish of the season.