On the Fly: The Roaring Fork River’s famous green drake mayfly hatch
Taylor Creek Fly Shop
While most anglers flock to the Frying Pan and Roaring Fork Rivers near Basalt to hunt their quarry, the Aspen area offers equally good fishing opportunities especially at this time of year. Our famous green drake mayfly hatch begins on the lower Roaring Fork River near Glenwood Springs and gradually advances up the river, eventually reaching the Aspen area.
While green drakes hatch predominately in the evening hours on the Roaring Fork River, sporadic numbers of these insects also hatch midday, particularly during periods of overcast weather. Large, size 12 green drake imitations fished in the pockets with smaller beadhead droppers will yield many fish. Pale morning dun mayflies also hatch during bright, sunny afternoons. These smaller, size 16 mayflies are typically pink or yellow in color as adult winged insects. Generally speaking, I fish the larger green drakes in the fast water and the smaller pale morning duns in the softer pieces of water.
If you’re not seeing much in the way of rising fish, a tandem nymph setup fished in the deeper pools and seams are highly effective. If you simply want to go out and pull on a bunch of fish, this is the technique most guides use day in and day out. The key to fishing this way is to put on enough weight above your flies to drive them to the bottom. Adding on a strike indicator about 4-6’ feet above your flies will aid in detecting strikes and will keep your flies in that all-important strike zone. Pheasant Tails, 20Inchers, Prince nymphs, RS2’s and Barr Emergers are all catching more than their fair share of fish.
Lower Woody Creek, Jaffe Park, the Airport and Stein Park are all within a short drive from Aspen and offer good access to the Upper Roaring Fork River.
The coveted, evening “lightning rounds” are offering superb dry fly fishing opportunities. During the last hour of light, trout will often rise with reckless abandon to a variety of green drake and caddis imitations. This time period yields the easiest fishing of the entire day, so be sure that you take an hour out of your day to refuel your soul with running water, serenity, wildlife and trout.
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 http://www.taylorcreek.com.
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More trails will open for the season on Sunday for mountain bikers in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs.