What snow! Last week on both Monday and Thursday Aspen schools declared 2 snow days. Its been a long time since there were 2 snow days in a week. I think last year there was only one day declared in the whole of winter. Since the snow on Thursday the temperature dropped dramatically. On Friday night, the thermometer read minus 2 degrees at 10pm. It is predicted to be clear and cold over the next 4 days. The water flow remains high so there is little risk of anchor ice at least in the Pan and below Basalt. The cold will slow the flow higher up in the Roaring Fork. As soon as it warms enough the flow will jump again.
This afternoon it is particularly quiet about town. Denver is in the playoffs and that is garnering more attention than the fish.
As usual the fishing has been excellent. Kevin Birznieks sent us a photo of one of several fish that he and his buddy landed last weekend.
A beautiful fish taken by Kevin Birznieks on Mysis. Kevin and his buddy got into some other nicer fish as well just below the toilet bowl. Excellent work!
Current Flow: below the Dam 158cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The Pan continues to run at 158cfs which is more than twice the flow at this time last year. Apart from being excellent for the nymphs which cling to the surface of the rocks and which are vulnerable to anchor ice, the increased flow and deeper water protects the fish and allows them to move about and feed more extensively in quieter parts of the river. The fishing remains good with midges and mysis shrimp just below the dam. Harry and TJ continue to have a lot of success with dry midges during the middle of the day. In the colder weather continue to be careful with the fish when landing them. One does not want them to expend unnecessary energy. In addition, try not to take them out of the water. The cold will freeze their gills very quickly. It is now midges, very small nymphs and maybe a few eggs.
Recommended Flies: The water is very clear and is now well above its usual winter flow so the fish will be more spread out than usual. It will also be a little easier wading as the increased flow has limited or eliminated much of the anchor ice. Make sure you are using light tippet – 7x. There is midge activity when the sun warms things a little although there has not been much activity in the snowy conditions. The sun is beginning to get noticeably higher touching the water in more areas. This is beginning to open up the Pan a little more to good midge hatches. Spot the fish feeding as they will not move far laterally to take midges. Try midge larva and pupa before the hatch starts. When the fish begin to feed under the surface, try small emergers; olive biot emergers, size #18 - #22 and black special emergers #18 - #22. Small copper johns are working well. On the surface, use midge dries with emergers in the film as a dropper. Egg patterns will also work well.
The river remains clear. The colder weather has dropped the flow a little but it is still running higher below Basalt than last year because of the increased flow from the Pan. The fishing has been excellent with midges. Harry continues to report success with small nymphs and a cased caddis pattern which he ties. The main thing though is to fish as close to the bottom as possible. So weight the fly so that it catches on the bottom. Then you will know that you are deep enough. Other successful flies are small stonefly patterns such as mercer's poxyback stone, the roaring fork stone and the 20 incher. Use the smaller patterns as the nymphs are growing and therefore they appear in a range of sizes.
Recommended Flies: Above Carbondale use the same flies as the Pan (See our report for the Frying Pan). Generally try midge patterns larva, pupa and emerger patterns. For variety try very small baetis nymph patterns. Small stone flies #16 - #12 - try mercers poxy-back, roaring fork stone, 20 incher. Cased caddis patterns will work deep as well. Black and olive beadhead streamers are also working. Also egg patterns.
The water color remains good. The fishing is good. Try midges, and 20 inchers. Also try any nymphs #20 and smaller.
Recommended Flies: midges, both dries and emergers; pheasant tails #16, 18; BWO's #18,20; small copper johns; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; bead head prince nymph red #12 - 16; egg patterns #10 - #18; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller.