Fishing report: Transition time |

Fishing report: Transition time

Kirk Webb
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT – The leaves are beginning to change colors and the weather is certainly cooling down. The fish, insects and our fishing techniques are also changing.

The beauty of September in the Roaring Fork Valley is that it marks a transitional period between summer and fall fishing conditions. Along the banks of the Fryingpan River, summer hatches of pale morning duns and green drakes coincide with fall hatches of blue wing olives and caddis. In other words, there’s a myriad of insects available for the fish to feed on. Being able to discern what exactly the fish are feeding on is often the hardest part of fishing during this time of year.

The heaviest hatches at this time of year on the Fryingpan occur along the upper 6 to 8 miles of river below Ruedi Reservoir. During the morning hours from 6 to 10, look for fish to key in on rusty spinners (Nos. 16-18) and midges (Nos. 22-24) on the surface. Fine fluorocarbon tippets of 6x and 7x are instrumental in being successful, no matter the time of day. During late mornings and late afternoons, your best bet is to nymph the deeper pools and seams with small blue-wing olive nymphs and emergers. Some of our favorite patterns include: pheasant tails, Barrs BWO emergers, RS2s, and black poxyback baetis in sizes 20-22. Shallow, tandem fly nymph setups are best.

Afternoons present some of the finest dry fly fishing opportunities to be found in the West. Pale morning duns (Nos. 16-18) as well as green drakes (Nos. 12-14) will hatch from noon until about 4 p.m. The green drake hatch has been as heavy as we’ve seen all summer during the past few days. Generally we fish our green drake imitations in the fast water and our pale morning duns in the softer water. The rusty spinner fall will make its appearance again from 6 p.m. until dark. This time of day often offers some of the best dry fly fishing in addition to having much less in the way of crowds.

It’s still prime time out there, so don’t miss a beat!

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