On the Fly: It’s as good as it gets right now

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Angled trout.
Louis Cahill Photography

Dry fly fishing enthusiasts from across the globe are here this month for a very good reason. The fall blue winged olive (BWO) hatch on the Roaring Fork has begun in earnest, and the prolific mayfly hatches on the Fryingpan are the best of the year — right now! The Fryingpan River is boasting excellent hatches of red quills, craneflies, blue winged olives, pale morning duns and the mother of all mayflies (in this part of the world, anyway): plump size 10 and 12 green drakes.

Many locals (and visitors alike) enjoy the technical aspects of the BWO hatch on the Roaring Fork, although fishing tiny dries on a big river isn’t for everyone. BWOs hatch heavily on this freestone river in spring and fall, and the fish definitely kick into a higher gear with the bi-annual emergences of these prolific size 18 to 22 mayflies. Dry flies of note for the Roaring Fork are CDC BWO Biot Comparaduns, Harrop’s CDC Thorax BWOs, Biot Dun BWOs and CDC Biot Emergers. Nymphs like RS2s and Roy Palm’s Biot Baetis Emerger are fishing very well on the big river.

You’ve got to put in your time on the Fryingpan tailwater to unlock its secrets, but having a watchful eye and noticing the subtle changes in hatches (and the trout’s appetites) is half the battle. We notice waves of insects, and you’ve got to change your offering as the mood of the fish changes back and forth. No two days are the same; in some zones, the hatches are sparse and in others, thick. Moving around until you find a happy part of the river is key, as well.

Some fish on the Fryingpan are as skittish as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Others will swim 6 feet across the river to inhale a mayfly right at your feet. If you slow down and try to understand each fish’s behavior, you’ll find some are happy to eat, others are pouting. They can get picky in the bright sun, so finding some shade can play in your favor.

Don’t leave home without AK Best’s Parachute Red Quills, Harrop’s CDC Thorax Pink Alberts and Last Chance PMD Cripples, plus our custom Sparkledun Drakes, High-Profile Drakes and DJL Drakes. It’s as good as it gets right now!

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

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