On the Fly: Give the fish what they want
On the Fly
Be not afraid out there, fellow fly-fishers. Rising rivers offer unique challenges to the angler as well as the trout, but you can take advantage of the conditions and turn them to your favor.
Just because the water is swift and increasingly dirty doesn’t mean that the fish will be on hunger strike until July. While most anglers are focused on the Fryingpan during runoff, you can enjoy vast swaths of the Roaring Fork River in relative solitude in the coming months.
When the water is fast and visibility becomes an issue, this pushes most fish right to the edges of the river. Now is the time to be casting into the spots you would normally be standing in. This is the time for heavier tippets and bigger, eye-catching attractor dry-flies, nymphs and streamers, too. Right now, it’s all about the caddis and stoneflies, which usually take their cues to hatch from the ever-increasing volume of water and brighter, hotter sun.
Having more than one rod rigged and ready to fish will increase your catch rate, too. The fish can switch back and forth between subsurface and top-water feeding at a moment’s notice, and having one rod rigged with dries and another with nymphs (or streamers) will save you rigging time and make you a more effective angler. This is ultimately a more economical way to change back and forth without wasting big chunks of expensive fluorocarbon tippets or chopping your brand-new tapered leader in half.
Determining where the fish actually are in the river most of the year can be a challenge in itself, but during runoff the predictability factor tilts in your favor. All the fish want is to relax in “softer” water while being on the edges of the current, which enables them to lean out or come up to snatch a tasty morsel once in a while before it whizzes by.
Just give them what they want, where they want it, and you will reap the benefits through high-water season.
“On the Fly” is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
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After falling through a trapdoor in his Telluride home a couple of weeks ago, Chris Busbee wasn’t sure if he’d be able to keep his streak going. He had run in every New York City Marathon since 1998 and was going to run it virtually this year in Aspen before his spill put all that in jeopardy.