On the Fly: Weight matters

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

It’s starting again. I know it’s only mid-February, but we are all fishing before, after, and, yes, during work at the fly-shop these days. The fishing is simply erupting around the valley right now from top to bottom. Hatches — yes, actual hatches — are starting up again, and I can’t tell who is more excited about this — the fish or the fishermen and women.

This doesn’t mean all the fishing is on the surface, but it is so sweet to be rigging dry-fly rods again. Midges are peeling off in very good numbers out there right now, and it is only going to intensify in the coming weeks. This can be said for the Colorado, lower Roaring Fork and especially the renowned Fryingpan River. The midges on the Colorado can vary from a plump size-16 down to as small as can be, and the other rivers will offer up the usual size 22s and 24s. Your best chance for success is to be on your favorite stretch of these rivers during the warmest part of the day. Pray for clouds.

On the nymphing (subsurface) side of things, most of our resident trout are keyed in on stonefly nymphs, eggs and various baetis and midge nymphs. Most fish are still seeking refuge in the deeper and softer sections of the river, so you need to have the appropriate amount of weight to access these fish. When it comes to nymphing here in the valley, it’s all about the weight. If you’re not cleaning stuff off your nymphs every few casts (and not catching fish) you’re usually not deep enough.

This is also one of the best times of year to dig the boat out and get some float time on the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers. When it comes to a guide’s day off, we are all floating every chance we get. Floating opens up miles of water that are usually off limits to the wade fisher, and you easily can throw dries, nymph and cast streamers all in the same day. However you go about it, this is the time folks!

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