On the Fly: Autumn has everything | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Autumn has everything

Kirk Webb
On the Fly

Fly-fishers love autumn. How could they not? The rivers all are low and clear, the hatches are still prevalent, the foliage is breathtaking and the crowds of summer are now long gone.

Fall fishing is all about big and aggressive fish. Whether it’s chasing the big browns on the Colorado with streamers the size of a sock, fishing the myriad hatches on the Fryingpan or nymphing the deep plunge pools and seams along the Roaring Fork, fall fishing is nothing short of fabulous.

In the coming weeks you’ll notice that the brown trout become more active than they’ve been all year. Their colorations mirror the warm hues of their surroundings. Brown trout as well as whitefish spawn during fall. The deposited eggs will litter the river bottom as the nonspawning fish actively gorge on these protein packed morsels. Egg patterns in various sizes and colors will begin to fish well on all valley rivers in the coming weeks.

Our float staff relishes the overcast days, early mornings and late evenings for the year’s best streamer fishing. Natural-colored streamers often fish best, though at times light- and dark-colored patterns also can fish well with surprising results. Keep in mind when streamer fishing that more often than not, it’s not always about having the right fly as much as finding the right speed of retrievery. This can vary day to day; thus, experimenting with your retrieve often will pay off in huge dividends and big fish. This is fast-paced fishing and is not recommended for neophyte anglers, but good casters enjoy the challenge of putting large flies into tight spots.

Some incredibly large fish have been caught on the Fryingpan this week, including several fish in the 20- to 23-inch range. River flows recently dropped to around 115 cubic feet per second, which makes the river much more accessible but also technical in the fact that light tippets and good drifts reward anglers. The past two weeks have yielded the year’s best hatches along the upper Fryingpan. Get out there, and take advantage of the wonderful fishing and breathtaking scenery.

“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.