This week has seen beautiful cooler weather despite some rain earlier which blew out the Crystal. In particular the water above Carbondale on the Fork and the Pan is excellent. The weather next week is looking equally inviting. The temperature is remaining lower and not too much rain is predicted. The moon is waning so the fishing in the morning will improve again. Today I floated from Basalt to Carbondale and only saw three other parties on the river in the whole time. It is a great time to get on to some of this water before it gets too low to float. The increased release from Rueidi into the Frying Pan is helping the flow at the moment but it will drop soon and most floating will be confined to lower down the river.
Although the Frying Pan is running a little higher with the increased release, it is still excellent fishing and pristine conditions. There is just the faintest hint of a color change in some foliage at the moment but one can feel the cooler air and the coming change of seasons. If you are thinking of coming up, don't delay. The crowds are dissipating and the river is generally less crowded. For some of the locals September and October is their favorite time to fish. For me I stop only when the line freezes in the runners or I can't see to tie on a fly.
A great photo this week of a fish Alan Adger caught on the Gunnison last week. Beautiful color.
Current Flow: below the Dam 293cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The water is a little higher than it was last week because the releases have been increased for the squawfish. However the quality of the water is excellent and the big fish are spread out nicely. The drakes are now higher up. Merle still reports that the Seratellas are out from 11am till 3pm mid-river although that is nearing the end. He is fishing them with a #14 Royal Stimulator with a seratella dropper. Harry and Merle both report that the drakes and baetis were excellent towards the Dam. Mid-river a #12 Royal Stimulator with a #20 sparkle baetis dropper was very effective. In addition a PMD emerger also worked well. The evening bug hatches remain excellent.The order of service remains midges and PMD's in the morning. Then from 11 am there will be drakes higher up. Then in the afternoon through the evening midges, caddis and PMD's with some BWO's higher up. So you can fish all day now well into the evening.
Recommended Flies: The river is perfect now even with the flow being fractionally higher. The fishing is excellent. For some the marginally higher water might make wading a little difficult so come by the shop to check if you need some directions. The water is very clear and the days are intermittently 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. Some of the midges mid-river are 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 nothing much is going on at the surface, it is also worth trying a sparkle baetis and midge larva together weighted down. If the fish are moving without breaking the surface, they will be taking emergers. In the mornings there have been PMD hatches which last for an hour or so. As the day progresses up higher the BWO's will be in evidence, try the sparkle baetis and/or the pheasant tails. The green drakes on the Pan come off from 11 am through 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Try nymphs, duns and cripple patterns sizes #10 - #12. The caddis are coming off in the evenings so fish the pupa patterns earlier and the emergers later. Try any of the caddis dry patterns as well as the stimulators. The best results on caddis have been the pupa and emergers although they will now give the dries a good run as well. For pupa and emerger patterns try – Sparkle pupa #16, peeking caddis #16, emergent sparkle caddis #16. The PMD's are coming off so try both emergers and dries – Barrs emerger #16 - #18, Pink Cahills #16 - #18, Melon Quills #16 - #18 and the PMD Comparaduns #16 - #18. Also try cripple patterns. If the fish are feeding but are rejecting your fly, change to a different size. Try to match the size as best you can. The fish will key in on a particular size and nothing else with interest them. For the spinner fall try parachute patterns and spinners. Try stimulators close to town in the pocket water and drop a nymph off. As a general observation, now that the fish are under a lot of pressure, be a little selective with your flies. Try older patterns which the fish might not have seen. Now the fishing is getting more technical so you will have to bring all of your skills to bear. In the absence of the right fly and correct size with the correct presentation, refusals will be the order of the day. Try terrestrials if it is a little quiet and the wind is blowing.
Current Flow: near Emma - at Basalt 580 cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page).
The cooler weather and the additional rain have kept the flows in the Roaring Fork up nicely continuing to give rafting access up higher. The fishing has been excellent, Ed, Harry, Travis and Chris reporting great days out floating this week. Above Basalt there are PMD's, caddis and BWO's. When there is cloud cover Ed has had great results on streamers. It is also great to go out later and fish into the evening. Harry has been having a lot of luck in the evenings fishing caddis dries and pupae. Today I floated from Basalt to Carbondale. I fished with Alan Adger and we caught a good number of fish, both browns and rainbows. There was basically no surface activity. But Alan had his own large Royal Stimulator with a few bells and whistles which got a lot of attention. We figured that it was something the fish had never seen before and they just could not resist it. A bead head pheasant tail dropper also worked well. A small twenty incher was well received and as the day progressed Rs2's and other baetis emergers were good towards Carbondale. The water was skinny in places but is worth doing particularly with the extra water in the Pan from Basalt.
Ed prefers to float in this area at the moment and advises that he is having great results on PMD's and baetis later in the day with nymphs in the morning. In addition the streamer fishing has been excellent under the clouds and later in the day.Lower down between Carbondale and Glenwood, the water got dirtier this week when the Crystal blew out in the rain, but it is now clearing. The extra flow though dirty was colder and therefore would have improved the conditions a little. Early morning and evening fishing towards Glenwood is best. Ed recommends the afternoon when the BWO's come off. The cloudy days and rain will improve the hatch conditions.
Recommended Flies: In the clearer areas use the same flies as the Pan (See our report for the Frying Pan). There are however better caddis hatches on the Fork than the Pan. Use stimulators sizes #10 to #16, In the faster water, use nymphs with flash or attractors like the prince – size #12 - #16, pheasant tails and Caddis emergers. Also 20 inchers size #10 - #14. Also use hopper patterns. When floating a large parachute hopper with a dropper is highly visible. Streamers are also working.
The ongoing rain means that the Colorado continues to remain a little muddy. It colored up a treat after the Crystal blew out on Thursday. We will wait until it clears more. However if you want to go out, try PMDs, yellow sallies and the ubiquitous stone flies. On balance most success is on nymphs at the moment.
Recommended Flies: Yellow sallies, 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; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller; terrestrials.