On the Fly column: Changes are afoot
On the Fly
Fishing the Roaring Fork Valley during fall is the stuff of dreams, at least for me. This goes for the Crystal, Roaring Fork and Fryingpan rivers, and everything in between. The shorter periods of light touching the water and the dip in water and air temperatures causes something special to happen.
Big fish are all of the sudden showing up in the runs that you fished all summer, and they weren’t there last week. These fish have been elusive up until now. Winter, whether it’s your first or fifth as a trout, looms near, and the abundant insect delights of summer won’t be around much longer. They sense it. Gone are the big bugs of summer, giving way to the now-more-prevalent tiny midges and blue wing olive mayflies.
Big browns are on the move and are starting their annual spawning rituals, and the days finally return to seeing far more fish than other fishermen. Everything changes quickly up here in autumn, and the fish take notice. I’d re-position those streamer and midge boxes toward the front pockets of your vest or waist pack. Autumn float fishing can certainly be sublime; I certainly enjoy a day of throwing streamers after a summer full of dry flies on tiny, fragile tippet.
You can sight-fish the Fryingpan to your heart’s delight, and those deeper sections of the Roaring Fork yield strike after strike from hard fighting trout and whitefish alike. The fishing is still fantastic, with good opportunities for fishing dries, nymphs and streamers among beautiful surroundings without the crowds of summer we see on these bustling rivers.
This is the time of year to think about giving back, as well. Find that co-worker or local kid whose eyes lit up when they learned that you fly fish. Show them the right way to go about it, learning proper technique and river etiquette. If they’re anything like you, you’ll have handed them a gift that constantly keeps on giving regardless of age, physical ability or orientation. Enjoy the gift of fall out there.
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.
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Warmer than average temperatures and a lack of snowfall could push back Sunlight Mountain Resort’s opening day, but staff remain hopeful for a Dec. 10 opening, a Sunlight spokesperson said.