For Week ending 17th April 2005
To coincide with the ending of the ski season, it has warmed considerably over the last few days. Lower down from Glenwood the Colorado River has turned to mud. It reminded me of the Yarra River in Melbourne. They say that it is the river which flows upside down. Towards Grand Junction, the Colorado satisfies that description. The Crystal River is also dumping a lot of runoff into the Roaring Fork at Carbondale, so the fishing has deteriorated between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Closer to Basalt the fishing remains good and the water is still fine. The touch of color in the water makes it harder for the fish to see the leader so in some cases it is worth stepping up the strength of the leader and tippet. It might also be a little harder for the fish to make out the adult insects on the water, so emergers with a little sparkle will catch their eye. The Frying Pan remains pristine. It is still cold at night so up high the snow pack will hold for a while and the fishing will remain excellent. If you want to see how much the flow in the various rivers has increased look at our links page and click on the various locations for readings of water flow. You can see how much the flow has jumped for the Roaring Fork in the last 5 days.
On Monday, I decided to have a look at the bugs under rocks in the water mid-river. There was an interesting range. The largest stonefly was 1.5 inches long. The predominant larger insects were caddis larva up to about 1 inch long. There was a useful range of drake and BWO nymphs and a lot of smaller nymphs. I kept a few specimens and have placed them in the shop so if you are coming by have a look.Michael Shook, local fishing guide and publisher has just released a new map and guide book for the area. We highly recommend it. You can buy it from us at the shop or you can access Michael's own website and buy it directly from him. There have been a number of changes to fishing access to the Roaring Fork with the completion of the 4 lane highway and the map is a must to see the new access points if you are not familiar with the local changes.
Current Flow: below the Dam 80 cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Dry midge patterns continue to work on the upper pan. Harry continues to recommend midges – both dries and emergers size #22 and #26 and his own cripple pattern towards the Dam. There is more evidence of the BWO's coming off in the afternoon but it is still mostly midges. The consensus during the middle part of the day is midges. In the bright light the fish are more difficult so cast carefully with a lot of light tippet.
Mid-river, the midges have been hatching through the day but towards evening there have been a lot of BWO's. The stalcup #22 dry BWO patterns have been successful as well as the sparkle RS2. Midge patterns continue to be successful – a dry with a dropper. Yesterday, was a beautiful bright blue sky and plenty of sunlight. The fish were a little skittish in the bright light and responded better in the shade. A range of flies worked, #22 parachute adams, #22 emergers, a #18 pupa pattern which Pat has designed and has been experimenting with. On Sunday the weather clouded over a little. The fish stayed a little deeper. The sparkle baetis #20 and a little #20 black midge with a little sparkle also worked in the deeper water.
The black pheasant tail #18 continues to work well as a nymph pattern as well as the #12 - #16 20 incher in the pocket water closer to town.
Recommended Flies: With the fish in the shallower water, they are more sensitive to the bright light and anything will spook them. If you can fish the shady areas along the banks or under overhanding branches, that may be better. Look to see if any midges are hatching. Some of the midges mid-river were a little larger so we suggest trying #18 and smaller. 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. Also try #20 and #22 RS2's both gray and sparkle patterns. If the fish are moving without breaking the surface, they will be taking emergers. A #22 parachute Adams, with a #22 black emerger with a shuck trailer dropper worked well this week. In addition some early baetis are coming off. So try the Lawson's gray no hackle #20 and #22. In the bright light try not to let your leader drift in the same line as the fly. The lighter the tippet the better. If there is no surface activity try dark olive and black pheasant tails size #20 and #22; midges, size #20 and smaller both red and black lava and pupa patterns - disco midges red and black sizes #20 - #24. Sparkle baetis #20 - #22 fished deep just below and in the riffles is also recommended.
Current Flow: near Emma - at Basalt 376cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The increased flow from the Crystal has put down the fishing below Carbondale. It continues to be great fishing on the Fork closer to Basalt at the moment with both midges and baetis dry fly activity. The baetis are coming off all the way up to Basalt in the afternoon. We are encouraging fishermen to get out onto the river mid-morning and be prepared to fish through the day to catch both the midges in the morning and the BWO's in the afternoon.
Brad and Jack reported good results on midge dries and emergers until mid-afternoon and then BWO's towards lower Woody Creek. Ed and Dave report the same. Rick has good success with red copper johns and sparkle baetis #18 towards Snowmass creek.
Merle continues to recommend the stone fly nymphs although he thinks that they are ending there molt and are slowing down a little. He spends most of his time in the Fork around Basalt at the moment. He had great success on #12 and #14 20 inchers just below Basalt. The fish are holding in the shallower water and the riffles. But keep plenty of weight on to get the fly close to the bottom. Try stone fly nymphs on curved hooks. The nymphs tend to curl up as they tumble along in the water and the riffles, so the curved hooks emulate the nymph protecting itself as it is washed along. In addition Merle is also recommending #18 sparkle baetis.
Please note that from 15th March until 15th May fishing is prohibited 50 yards both upstream and downstream from Four Mile Creek and Three Mile Creek while the rainbows are spawning.
Recommended Flies: same as the Frying Pan. If there is a hatch, midges in the morning and BWO's in the afternoon. Around Basalt midges size #16 through #22. Lower down the Roaring Fork towards the Colorado use #12 - #16. If the BWO's are coming off try #16 and smaller. If there is not much surface activity, try baetis (#14 - #20 pheasant tails) and/or stone fly nymphs (20 incher stone #8 - #14). In addition try the prince nymph #14 and #16 and #18; also try the lite brite prince; carrot nymph #18; red copper john #18 and #20; superfloss olive #20; gold ribbed hare’s ear #16 and #18; egg patterns #10 - #18; streamers #10 (on some days); autumn splendor #4 – 8 and bead head pops bugger olive #6. Near Glenwood, try caddis, nymphs and emergers.
The Colorado has turned dark. We are not floating it now. Wait until run-off is done unless you have no choice. You will have to wade and find pools and section where the flow is a little slower and the water a little clearer. The trout will try for those areas where they are less likely to be getting silt in their gills.
Please note that from 15th March until 15th May fishing is prohibited 50 yards both upstream and downstream from No Name, Grizzly and Canyon Creeks while the rainbows are spawning.
Recommended Flies: Midges, both dries and emergers; Bead head pheasant tails #16, 18; Blue Wing Olives #18,20; Ccaddis, nymphs and emergers; bead head prince nymph red #12 - 16; egg patterns #10 - #18; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller.