On The Fly: Swelled up rivers are a welcome sight for anglers

Scott Spooner
On The Fly
Water rushes down the Fryingpan River near the Dallenbach Ranch east of Basalt. High water runoff has caused many of the Roaring Fork Valley's rivers to swell up and become muddy.
Staff Photo |

This week will be an interesting one for the Roaring Fork Valley fly fisher, as the culmination of all of this May rain and snow starts its way down to the mighty Colorado River.

The Fryingpan, Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers are all swelling right now as we are finally experiencing some warmth, and downstream demands for a critical 15-mile section of the Colorado near Grand Junction to recreate “natural” spring peaks. Big water is a yearly phenomenon, of course, and this year we really scored a great snowpack with our record-setting wet May.

Last month was our third wettest May on record, and the ground is saturated with plenty of snowpack in the high country, ready to let loose. It’s a blessing, to say the least, when you consider how concerned everyone was in January and February. Sixty-five degree days and a dry March had most people doubly concerned, but Mother Nature is always going to do what she sees fit.

Mother knows best, right?

The Fryingpan should come down after a week or so, and we should see the other rivers stay high for the near future. But we all know this story, we’ve read it before.

In the coming weeks, it’s time to check out your favorite high-country lakes, bass and carp ponds, or keep heading up the river in elevation in the search for cleaner water. There is also something to be said for not being afraid of dirty water. The fish here in the Valley are tough little bastards, and almost without exception will be found right along the edges and banks where the flow is softest.

In other words, they’ll be hanging out right where you would usually stand.

Despite the feeling we all died and woke up in the Pacific Northwest last month, we can all breathe a big sigh of relief as we realize how pretty our snowpack is sitting with all of the new snow in the high country.

This year is going to be awesome, despite the earlier dire predictions!

This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374, or on the Web at

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