On The Fly: There’s no need to be afraid of the dark
On The Fly
There is frenzy only dusk can bring to a river, when the world becomes liquid with mercurial light, caddis and green drakes dance in pockets and riffles, and afterwards when the world settles its stillness deep into your bones.
During the hours most people sit in rush hour traffic, look forward to a cold beer, dinner, and flick on the television, is also when the world of fly fishing draws closest to magic.
In the heat of June, July, and August’s bright sun, newly hatched caddis and mayflies seek shade in nearby rocks, brush and trees. Mornings and early afternoons are often productive but by August, the Fryingpan River will quiet down by 3 in the afternoon and sooner on the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.
Nevertheless, as the first cool breezes stir in the lengthening shadows, both the day’s bugs and trout become active again. On the Colorado River in June and the Roaring Fork in July, this bug activity is punctuated by the green drake hatch which occurs just before dusk or shortly thereafter.
Some of the best dry fly fishing I have ever encountered has occurred during this time — along with some of the worst. But even the worst has also been accompanied by dusk; that moment when, at least on a color palette, all things become most similar to each other, and I have felt most at peace along the rivers I call home.
If you have never gone out on a 5-Dark trip, it can be a truly magical experience.
Try to pick a day that stays warm with minimal thundershowers and/or monsoons (in which case the dry fly fishing might not be incredible, though often the nymph and streamer fishing is).
Both float trips and wade trips, depending on where the green drakes are hatching on the Roaring Fork River can be productive, though by August your best bet will be to head up the Fryingpan River for the rusty spinner falls.
And finally, don’t expect the fishing to really turn on until the last hour or so of light for the best dry fly fishing conditions. When it does, keep your dry-shake handy — you’re going to need it.
This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached by phone at 970-927-4374, or on the Web at http://www.taylorcreek.com.
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