Another glorious week has passed. A few gusts of wind and the last of the leaves have gone. On Saturday morning one woke to evidence of heavy overnight rain. It was cold. Some wet weather had set in. It promises to be cold and wet with snow on the higher elevations through Monday. Sunday morning woke to snow on the ground. This augers well for the hunters who will be coming in force next week for third season. I expect there will be big lines at Big "O" tomorrow for the annual changeover to winter tires. By Tuesday it promises to clear and warm a little for a few more autumn days. The sun is sitting lower in the sky each day and the shadows lengthen. It is just a matter of time before the first snow fall which hits the ground stays for the season.
The fishing remains good. Today's heavy cloud invites a BWO hatch of good proportions.
The traffic is getting progressively quieter and less frequent except for the hunters passing up valley in expectation of returning down valley either elated or deflated. Most of the migrating birds seem to have passed through by now. On several days this week there were bighorn sheep on the Frying Pan Road around the 6 mile mark. It is the first time they have been down on the road for a long time. Driven down by either hunters, the colder weather or a combination.
If you are coming up to take in a few days fishing be well rugged up. Dress for winter fishing because it is cold enough on the river in the shade to not be able to tell the difference. With the clear skies predicted in the middle of the week, it will be particularly cold in the mornings so if you intend going out early dress accordingly. We will have a few more warm days and the fishing will be great for a little while longer. The browns are now stacking up to get on to the redds so take care and don't disturb them. Some guides take clients onto the redds and drag san juan worms through the middle of them. We consider it bad sport and speak ill of those who so offend.
Current Flow: below the Dam 116cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The river has remained steady and perfect all week. The clear blues skies made fishing in the open a little tougher as the fish tended to stay in the deeper water and the shade. The BWO's came off a little in the sun but mostly in the shade. The midges were solid all week and in the brighter light the most predictable hatch to fish. Curiously there were a few small drakes mid-river but the fish were interested in them. It is interesting and it might be that the higher water flow this year has had a lot to do with upsetting the biomass balance a little. The Frying Pan is only a young river as a tail water and therefore is subject to the vagaries of the variable water flows and seasons as it finds its equilibrium. The next few days promises cold cloudy wet weather which will be great for the baetis but demands the warmest of clothing. So be prepared.
On Saturday, the fish responded very well to black #20 and #22 midge emergers mid-river. Then later in the day, although there were no baetis on the surface to speak of they gladly accepted parachute Adams #22 and a #20 RS2. The cloud cover rain and snow on Sunday invited BWO's, however there was not much activity mid-river. The fish did respond to parachute Adams #20 and #22 all afternoon. For a while they also took emergers but by far the Adams was the best fly.
The fishing pressure continues to abate a little as the colder weather settles in. Each day during the week there were a few fishermen towards the dam but very few lower down. There were more hunting vehicles than fishermen in some of the parking spots.The principal hatches now are midges and BWO's. There are some PMD's about up near the dam early afternoon, but they are more the exception than the rule. There are also some pumpkin caddis about near the dam towards dark but generally not many.
Recommended Flies: The water is very clear and the days are bright so make sure you are using light tippet – 7x. There is good midge activity in the morning. So look to see if any midges are hatching. Try parachute midges or adults. Put an emerger dropper behind the parachute; also try small emergers; olive biot emergers, size #18 - #22 and black special emergers #18 - #22. If nothing much is going on at the surface, it is also worth trying a sparkle baetis or pheasant tail and midge larva together weighted down. If the fish are moving without breaking the surface, they will be taking emergers. Cloud cover and a little rain are excellent conditions for a good BWO hatch. If so try Lawson's no hackle #18 and #20, Adams #18 - #22. Also try the loopwing emergers #18 - #22, comparaduns and CDC baetis #18 - #22. However in the bright light, as the sun is getting lower, there will be hatches in the shaded areas. The fish will be fussy and will key into a particular size or color so be prepared to change quickly if you are getting refusals and you are happy with your presentation. Sometimes the hatch will be so thick it is just a probability question whether the fish will see your fly. You might also have trouble picking out your own fly. Try a parachute Adams to assist in identifying your fly. It tends to sit lower in the water than the dun, emulating an emerger. Try to match the size as best you can. The fish will key in on a particular size and nothing else will interest them. The midges will be about all day so change back to midge emergers as the situation dictates. Continue to be a little selective with your flies. Try older patterns which the fish might not have seen. As it has been getting darker, up high the fishing slows down in the later afternoon. Mid-river however the fishing persists a little longer. Adams and parachute Adams with droppers have been working well into the evenings. As it gets dark the fish will take the dry or the dropper. Try any baetis nymph pattern such as pheasant tails and sparkle baetis as dropper. Small copper johns also have been working well.
Current Flow: near Emma - at Basalt 415 cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page).
The water is running 115cfs higher than at the same time last year although now it is too skinny for larger rafts above Carbondale unless you are willing to walk over some of the shallower parts. Yesterday's rain and today's snow and rain will cause the flow to lift in the next few days. It may color the water a little but the precipitation has been slow and steady so its hard at this point to make a prediction. The fishing remains excellent. The best results remain with BWO's either nymphs or emergers. In addition small princes and san juan worms work in the mornings. Ed recommends baetis up to #22. So use the #22 sparkle baetis, RS2's, pheasant tails and any similar small nymphs as droppers. As the day progresses use emergers such as the loop wing emergers #18 - #22 as well as the nymphs. Harry reports most success on copper johns and sparkle baetis. Below Carbondale where most of the floating is taking place, a variety of streamers are being used as well. Try both black and olive colors.
Recommended Flies: Above Carbondale use the same flies as the Pan (See our report for the Frying Pan). BWO nymphs such as, sparkle baetis #22, RS2 and Sparkle RS2 # 20 - #22, pheasant tails #20 - 22 black and brown, beadhead and non-bead head. BWO emergers such as the special emergers, and loopwing emergers #18 - #22. Also 20 inchers size #10 - #14. Black and olive beadhead streamers are also working.
The river cleared well during the week and the fishing was good. However the rain and snow of the last 2 days will not auger well for the water quality until mid-week. Try PMDs, BWO's streamers and 20 inchers. The predominant fly is the streamer. Now that the water is getting lower, there will be more float traffic on the lower Fork and on the Colorado.
Recommended Flies: hoppers, midges, both dries and emergers; Bead head pheasant tails #16, 18; Blue Wing Olives #18,20; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; bead head prince nymph red #12 - 16; egg patterns #10 - #18; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller; terrestrials.