On the Fly column: Conditions are changing for fishing
On the Fly
The upper reaches of the Fryingpan tailwater is a place of legend, where large fish are known to be as picky as New York restaurant critics. Seemingly, during January it is one of the only places to fish here in the valley, but things are already changing out there for local and visiting anglers alike. Ice that once choked the Roaring Fork has started to clear. The Colorado River has recently seen some good midge hatches, which these longer 40-plus-degree days have helped usher in.
Sure, there are some bitter cold and icy weeks to come, but it already feels as though the proverbial worm has turned. Despite the incredible snowpack we are seeing, boat ramps have been accessible for floats on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers throughout this winter. Overnight temperatures have been on the warm side, allowing the bigger freestone rivers to remain relatively slush-free. It’s much easier to get your heavy nymphs down in the trout zone when there is no surface slush for them to get hung up on.
Another factor in the angler’s favor is fish behavior this time of year. Most fish aren’t fanned out over the entire river now, they are in the deep, slow sections where food, oxygen and protection from predators is found. Simply put, they are mostly piled together in the softer water where they don’t have to expend much energy. This is akin to finding fish during spring runoff, when most are reliably a foot off the bank where they can take a break from the current. Once you dial in where they are, hookups should follow. I hope you can take some time to get out there and wet a line — there is a plethora of fishable water here in the valley right now, not just the upper miles of the Fryingpan.
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.