On the Fly column: Spring is on the doorstep in the Roaring Fork Valley | PostIndependent.com

On the Fly column: Spring is on the doorstep in the Roaring Fork Valley

Will Sands
An angler enjoys the Roaring Fork River.
Kara Lewis |

Fishing opportunities abound throughout the Roaring Fork Valley this week. A nice extended break in the weather has made it more pleasant to consider hitting the rivers, and water temperatures have been warming slightly. A slight increase like this really heats up the bite, and I have noticed more anglers on both the “Pan” and “Fork” this week, including a few drift boats heading downvalley.

Mid to late February marks a valleywide transition where all area rivers will begin to consistently fish well. Hatches will intensify, and anglers will notice more diverse and prolific types of insects on the water. Multitudes of midges and the first appearance of spring blue winged olives and late winter stones will be appearing sooner than later. The combination of warmer water temps and an overnight abundance of trout forage equals epic fishing opportunities.

If you are inclined to try the Roaring Fork, the best fishing has been downstream of Basalt to Glenwood Springs. Nymphing the deep runs and pools will be most productive; use enough weight to get your flies down to the fish’s level. Light leaders and tippets of 5x and 6x are also important with current flows and clarity. Hot patterns have been Prince Nymphs and 20 Inchers as your lead flies with Rainbow Warriors, Pulsating Midge Emergers, Zebra Midges and Tungsten Hoovers as your droppers.

If you are looking to find some rising fish, the Fryingpan has some nice midday hatches. The three hot dries to have are Skittering Zelon Midges, Morgan’s Para Midge and Bill’s Midge Emerger. If you find it difficult see these tiny dries, trail them behind a larger dry fly as a visual indicator. If you are not finding rising fish then you will be most productive nymphing. The hot patterns are Medallion midges, Rojo’s and TC midges. Mysis shrimp patterns within the first half mile below the spillway and glo-bugs are good lead flies. As always, a stop by your local fly shop to inquire about access and up-to-the-minute conditions, and equipment selection can prove invaluable. Spring is on our doorstep.


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