Cold-weather fishing is starting to heat up |

Cold-weather fishing is starting to heat up

The soft red colors of a winter Rainbow trout from Rosie's Pool on the Fryingpan River is displayed.

The rivers are starting to shape up around the Roaring Fork Valley, and the “fifth season” that Kirk Webb talked about last week is in full swing! The hatch we all look forward to the most (besides green drakes) is right on our doorstep, which is the giant midges that will start popping like popcorn soon on the Colorado River.

These bugs, or “midgezillas” as we lovingly call them, are close to size-18, come off in waves, and every fish in the river will be trying to inhale as many as possible. Midges hatching in these biblical numbers often “cluster” in slack water and foam lines, and the trout will plow through these bunches, trying to ingest as many as possible in one gulp. It’s a sight to see.

On the Roaring Fork River, the fishing is definitely heating up already. We are still dealing with the icy “slush factor” every day until noon (until it burns off), and the fishing is erupting from 1 p.m. until almost dark daily. The trout on the Roaring Fork River are all in the deep runs, soft water and pits this time of year, and are focused on stoneflies, eggs, midge larvae, worms and small baetis nymphs.

Wade fishing has been best lately from Basalt downvalley, and the float fishing is already starting to take off.

Up the Fryingpan, the mysis shrimp are simply pouring out of the dam, causing these giant trout to go ballistic chasing down these delectable morsels. Midges are hatching more heavily every day as well, and spring blue wing olives aren’t very far behind. The Fryingpan is fishable for nearly all of the 13 miles in the tailwater right now, with a mile or two of ice towards the bottom end near Basalt. We all remember the river being iced over from mile 10 all the way to town last year. This time around is a whole different ball game thanks to improved minimum flows and warmer temperatures.

Fifth season is here, folks. I suggest you get out on your local waters and find out what all the fuss is about!

— This column is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374, or at

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