On the Fly: A buggy fall awaits the Frying Pan
On the Fly
It’s hard to believe, but summer is quickly coming to an end.
If you ask the members of our guide staff which season is their preference, the majority will certainly recommend fall. There are many reasons for this. Crowds start to dissipate at this time of year as school begins for most children, and the streamer fishing becomes quite intense as the fish sense winter on the horizon. In a nutshell, autumn offers more fish per fisherman.
The Fryingpan River in Basalt is one of the most well-known fisheries in the country, and seemingly everyone fishes the river in August in hopes of hitting the epic green drake and pale morning dun mayfly hatches. One of the benefits of September is that you still get to see and fish through these same prolific mayfly hatches, but you’ll no longer need to bring your own rock to stand on. More bugs equal more food and more opportunities at hungry fish.
Often during the summer months on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, the best fishing takes place early and late in the day, when the sunlight is less intense. We are rapidly losing daylight now, and lower daytime highs are now more commonplace.
With this change in the weather, we will begin to see the fishing pick up and remain steady nearly all day long, including the afternoons. There is very little in the way of hatches along these two rivers during the dog days of August, while September gives way to significantly more consistent hatches consisting of caddis and blue-wing olives. With the cooling water and air, the river’s resident brown trout become more aggressive as spawning instincts begin to trigger in their brains.
Next to dry-fly-fishing, the most visual fly-fishing experience you can have is by fishing streamers. September often yields some of the very finest streamer fishing of the entire year. The streamers we fish most often imitate sculpins and juvenile trout. Warmer, more natural hues are often best. Sculpzillas, autumn splendors, ziwis, sacrileges and stingin’ sculpins are proven local favorite patterns in sizes 4 to 8. We generally find that twitching and sliding your streamer is often more productive than simply stripping them. The fish are hungry, the hatches are solid, the scenery is stunning, and the fishing is awesome. Welcome to fall.
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.