On The Fly: No shortage of fun in the Roaring Fork Valley

Scott Spooner
On The Fly
A young lad and a winter Fryingpan fish.
Kyle Holt |

When you think of Christmas in Aspen, skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding and ripping around on snowmobiles obviously come to mind. Locals are certainly dialed in on these activities, but they also realize the world-class fly-fishing opportunities at the bottom of the hill. If you think about it, getting off at the top of 1A is much colder than standing in a warm river on the valley floor. On the river, you are usually tucked out of the wind and much warmer due to the difference in elevation.

Visiting wintertime customers in the fly shop usually are incredulous when we explain the terrific fishing opportunities here in the valley all year long. Insects hatch every day, whether it is hot or cold. I would argue that the fish have to eat even more in the winter, since the insects are on the small side and don’t offer the nutritional benefits of huge, summertime bugs. Midges hatch every day of the year, and in the summer months they act as an appetizer before the main meal. In winter, the trout simply load up on the appetizers and forgo the nonexistent big bug main course. You gotta do what you gotta do!

Giving fishing a try is easy for visitors to the valley in the winter, all equipment is included and you can layer up with the same clothing you wear when you ski. Many families feel the need to break up their vacation with various activities, and spending a day on the river with a professional guide is quite fun. Fishing has been best lately midday, with warm and cloudy days offering the best bug activity.

Whether you have fished all over the world or have never held a fly rod in your hand, hitting a gold medal river in the winter is a sure bet for a great time. Keep an eye on the weather and choose a day that is on the warm side, and opting to ski early and fish late is quite common around here. Fly fishing is fun for kids, adults, grandparents and anyone who enjoys the outdoors. We wish everyone a merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy New Fishing Year!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or