On the Fly: Fall is in the air, fish are in the river
On the Fly
Every year I’m surprised at how incredible the fishing is here in the Roaring Fork Valley during fall. This goes for the Colorado and Fryingpan rivers, and everything in between. The shorter periods of light touching the water and the dip in water and air temperatures cause something special to happen.
Big fish are all of a sudden showing up right in the runs that you fished all summer without success. These fish have been elusive up until now. It must be fall, and the bite is on. Winter, whether it’s your first or fifth as a trout, looms near, and the abundant insect delights of summer won’t be around much longer. They sense it. Gone are the big bugs of summer, giving way to the now more prevalent blue wing olive mayflies.
Big browns are on the move and are starting their annual spawning rituals, with all trout reaping the egg-laden rewards. These protein packed morsels litter the stream bed where all fish opportunistically feed on them. The days finally return to seeing far more fish than fishermen.
Everything changes quickly up here in the fall, and the fish take notice. Take notice and reposition those egg, streamer and midge boxes toward the front pockets of your vest or waist pack. Autumn float fishing can be sublime; I certainly enjoy a day of throwing streamers after a summer full of dry flies on tiny, fragile tippet.
You can sight-fish the Fryingpan to your heart’s delight, and those deeper sections of the Roaring Fork yield strike after strike from hard-fighting trout and whitefish alike. Most importantly, this is a perfect time of year to honor those who first taught us and pass the gift on to someone else. The fishing is still fantastic with good opportunities for fishing dries, nymphs and streamers among beautiful surroundings without the crowds of summer that often plague these bustling rivers.
Find that co-worker or kid from church whose eyes lit up when they learned that you fly fish. Show them the right way to go about it, learning proper technique and river etiquette. If they’re anything like you, you’ll have handed them a gift that constantly keeps on giving regardless of age, physical ability or sex. Fall is especially one of these gifts on our waters. I’ll see you out there.
This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.
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Aspen Skiing Co. will delay the opening of Aspen Highlands until Dec. 18 due to lack of a base and scant snow in the forecast.