On the Fly column: Who needs skiing when we’ve got world-class fishing
December 7, 2016
While I am sure most locals and visitors are dreaming of dropping into their favorite powder stashes and getting out on the hill, the fishing remains excellent all winter. When the snow starts flying many people find it hard to wrap their head around the idea that fly fishing is still even possible. Fishing — let alone fly fishing — is just not an activity traditionally thought of as being pursued during winter months. However, this being said, more anglers each year are discovering just how good winter fishing is. Not to mention it is a great way to rest weary ski legs.
At this time of the season bright warm winter days can produce excellent midge hatches on the Fryingpan, and floating the Roaring Fork can be a memorable way to enjoy a day. With snow throughout the valley, the rivers take on a whole different appearance. With a few good layers and the right flies you might forget for a few hours that the winter ski season is beginning, that you are just down valley of the legendary ski town of Aspen and instead fishing the world famous rivers of the Roaring Fork Valley.
Anglers concentrating their efforts on the Fryingpan this week should expect good midge hatches mid-day, possibly coupled with blue wing olives (BWOs). Although nymph fishing has been very consistent from noon to 4ish, you very likely may have the opportunity to fish dry flies during this period. Before and after hatch periods nymph fishing will be very solid. Tiny flies 20-24 are necessary right now, and light leaders and tippets from 6X to 7X are a must on the Pan.
Roaring Fork anglers have the option to wade or float the river right now. Both approaches have been productive. Nymph fishing will be most productive with limited or no dry fly fishing on the Fork. Concentrate on the deeper runs and pools where fish will be congregating. Try hiring a local guide if you are new to the valley or drop in a local shop for the hot flies this week and public access points if you prefer to do it yourself.
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 taylorcreek.com.