On the Fly column: Some hints for fishing during runoff
Runoff. That one simple word generally sends most Rocky Mountain fly-fishers into a month long period of hibernation. For me though, runoff is my last opportunity to fish in uncrowded and, oftentimes, very good fishing conditions. The following is a short list of techniques, places and flies to explore and fish with and revel in the beauty of nature with a fly rod in your hand.
Fryingpan River: Being controlled by a dam, this river remains virtually unaffected by runoff. Low and clear flows punctuated with hatches of blue-wing-olive mayflies and midges during the afternoon hours keep the fish well fed. Light tippets and small flies are the norm here. Anglers of all abilities have the chance to be successful here.
Upper Roaring Fork River: As a fly-fisher, water clarity is generally more important than water flows at this time of year. There are always softer sections of river that hold fish, but if the fish can’t see our flies to clarity, then we face a problem. Jaffe and Stein parks near Aspen are often high enough in elevation and above most major feeder creeks that clarity is rarely a concern. Anglers are best off to cover the “soft” water quickly with larger fly imitations like stoneflies, caddis and worms.
Maroon Lake: You will not find a more beautiful location to pull on a trout or two. The lake receives very heavy tourist traffic, but keep in mind that 99.9 percent of the tourists are taking photos and not fishing. If you don’t like being watched (or photographed) while fishing, this might not be your spot. Cutthroat are the dominant fish specie here, but rainbows and brookies inhabit Maroon Lake too. The lake is fairly shallow and glacier clear making for exciting sight fishing ops. Wet flies and unweighted nymph patterns are best. As a side trip, check out Maroon Creek, too, if moving water is more to your liking.
Dinkle Lake: Located at the base of Mount Sopris, this mid-valley favorite watering-hole is the perfect place to plan an easy and beautiful escape. Rainbow trout in the 10- to 14-inch inch range are stocked annually with a few holdovers taping out to 18 inches. Both Snake River cutthroat and Colorado River cutthroat are present as well. Most of the cutthroat are in the 6- to 10-inch range with a few fish reaching to about 16 inches. Small leech and streamer patterns are best and allow you to cover the most water for the most active fish. Small scuds in orange and olive are productive when fished along the weedlines. Wet flies and generic nymphs (princes, hares ear) are always effective, too. Rising fish can be plucked on midge patterns like Griffiths Gnats.
Beaver Lake: Outside of the quaint town of Marble lies Beaver Lake. The medium-sized impoundment harbors rainbow, cutthroat, brook and the occasional brown trout (can you say grand slam?). Most of the fish are smaller in size, but what they lack in size they make up for in eagerness. This shallow impoundment is best fished with dry flies and unweighted nymphs/streamers due to the prolific weed growth. Caddis are already hatching in decent numbers with callibaetis and damsel hatches beginning around early to mid June. Due to the weed growth, scuds are productive day in and day out. A quick and fun side trip a few miles up the road from Beaver is Lizard Lake.
Ruedi Reservoir: Overshadowed by the Fryingpan River as a Basalt fishing destination, Ruedi Reservoir is known for producing jumbo lake trout, stocker rainbows, the occassional brown trout and yellow perch. From a fly-fishers point-of-view, the inlet produces the best (and easiest) fishing. Generic beadhead nymphs and streamers like Wooly Buggers are ideal. Though your average catch is a rainbow in the 8- to 14-inch range, be prepared for a submarine lake trout at this time of year when fishing the inlet, too.
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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