Fishing’s hot, but so are the trout
On The Fly
The Roaring Fork River has been receiving all of the attention lately, as anglers pour into the valley in hopes of fishing our renowned green drake mayfly hatch.
Because of that, the usually busy Fryingpan River has been uncharacteristically devoid of crowds.
Recently, the Bureau of Reclamation has increased water flows out of Ruedi Reservoir to 160 cubic feet per second, which is up from 110 cfs. Higher water flows put less stress on the fish which often translates to better and more improved fishing.
Additionally, more water means more places and areas for anglers to fish and spread out.
Ruedi Reservoir filled to nearly 95 percent of capacity this spring, meaning that the doom and gloom of drought conditions across the West will not affect the Fryingpan River.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the water flow increase is that the Fryingpan also acts as a swamp cooler for the warmer waters of the Roaring Fork below Basalt where the Fryingpan flows in the Roaring Fork.
This helps regulate and cool the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.
It’s no secret that Colorado River is suffering from drought conditions this summer.
Anglers still have an abundance of quality fishing opportunities at hand, and there are several ways to make your time on the water productive while still showing respect to our finned friends.
First and foremost, I encourage all anglers to carry a stream thermometer with them to keep tabs on water temperatures.
For cold water species like trout, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends that you avoid fishing for these fish when water temperatures reach 72 degrees on our rivers and streams.
The lower Roaring Fork River near Glenwood Springs reached the 70-degree mark for the first time this summer this past week.
Thankfully, with the advent of recent rains, cooler water temperatures are now present again in some areas.
That being said, it’s okay to fish the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, but I encourage anglers to get an early start in the mornings and to be off the water by 3 p.m. to minimize any possible negative impact to the fish.
Generally speaking, the rivers are at their coldest at 6 a.m. and at their warmest at 6 p.m.
When handling trout, take the time to fully revive them prior to release, and to keep the fish in the water as much as possible.
Quiet water on the edges of the main flow is the ideal location to revive and resuscitate fish — let them “catch their breath” again — ensuring an ethical release.
I also try to fish with the heaviest leader and tippet that I can get away with to land fish as quickly as possible, which is a practice that all should do regardless of water temperatures or time of year.
— 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 taylorcreek.com.
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New hiking and biking trail at Sutey Ranch could ease pressure at main Red Hill trailhead later this summer.