Again we were treated to a variety of weather including some warm days earlier in the week which turned to a snow storm mid-week which brought up to 10" of snow, the vestiges of which remain on the ground, particularly in the shade. The last 2 days have been beautiful with clear skies and cold nights ensuring that the ground freezes a little overnight and takes until mid-morning to warm things up. Sunday the clocks turned back an hour but that makes no difference to the insects. It just means the hatches will start a little earlier than last week according to the clock . After the clear nights, there is now a thin film of ice over the pond which will melt off by mid-morning. As the sun continues to cast longer shadows the ice will remain in the shade and late autumn will turn to winter. The sun is noticeably lower and as soon as it passes behind the mountains and casts a shadow on the water, bug activity drops noticeably. There is snow on the mountains and the ski fields have decent cover which will remain now for the ski season. Currently there is a base of 18" which augers well for the opening.
The forecast next week is for clear days except possibly for Monday night and Tuesday morning for which there is a prediction of some snow. The clear days and nights will be accompanied by freezing overnight temperatures which will ensure that the warmth of the days melts little of the snow which has fallen.
After rising again during the week the Fork is down at 470cfs. The Pan is running at 124cfs, the flow having been augmented a little by the run-off from the heavy snow during the past week. The storm was preceded by strong winds which stripped most of the remaining leaves from the trees.
During the snow fall the BWO activity was prolific with fish rising in response. On the brighter days there remains good BWO activity but it abates by early afternoon. The fishing therefore promises to be excellent during the day after the mornings warm a little. It will also be comfortable with predicted temperatures up to 45 degrees.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 124cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
There was some excellent BWO dry fly fishing again this week. When the fish were not rising they were taking small baetis nymph patterns such as pheasant tails as well as midge patterns. When they were on the surface the fish took a range of BWO patterns, but the dominant feature of the best flies was small and dark olive bodies. #20 and #22 worked best. For dries the #20 and #22 matthews sparkle baetis olive were excellent as was the #20 snowshoe dun. The fish did respond to other BWO dries as well such as the blue dun #20, #20 and #22 extended body parachute BWO #20 and #22 dun RS2's and the #18 beadtail emerger.Harry reported excerllent BWO fishing towards the dam. Interestingly, TJ said he counted 7 drakes coming off near the dam while he was fishing there. However the fish were not interested and concentrated on the BWO's. The cold and changeable weather is making it essential to take care in dressing for your day out. Don't take any chances.
Recommended Flies: The coming week promises excellent fishing which will be concentrated to the middle of the day and early afternoon. There will not be any hurry to get onto the water early in the morning as the cold will limit the bug activity early on and the bright days will limit the BWO's to a burst of activity from late morning until early to mid-afternoon. In the shade they will come off a little longer. So one will start out nymphing with both baetis and midges in anticipation of the rise. Try a combination of sparkle baetis nymphs, pheasant tails, and midge pupa patterns such as WD-40's, WD-50's and chironocones. Then watch for the BWO's to start coming off. There are still a few PMD's about but they are getting less frequent. The fish remain particular as they feed but as the options narrow the flies are getting smaller. If one pattern is not working don't waste too much time. Change and try something else and keep changing until you can discern what the fish are taking. Of course if your presentation is suspect, it doesn't matter what you are using. The fish are now noticeably more selective and will only take particular colors and/or sizes. In the midst of a strong hatch there is no reason they will take your fly out of the hundreds on the water if they are all identical. So consider putting on something just a little larger or smaller or a slightly different color which may catch the fish's eye.
The browns are beginning to stack up in anticipation of the breeding season and are quite active expending energy. If you are fishing to rising fish, don't fish too shallow too quickly. Even if you think the fish are feeding just under or on the surface, persist with keeping the fly lower until there is no question that they are on dries. Watch carefully and discern whether the fish are taking mergers or dries. If you don't take care and switch to a dry pattern too early can cause you to miss good opportunities. If it starts to rain or snow, keep fishing.
The rain and snow during the week pushed up the flows in the Fork again however it has settled back again to 470cfs. It is higher than the same time last year and still permits a raft to float from Basalt down although it is shallow enough in several places to require a little manual labor. Start out with streamers, worms, eggs and attractor patterns such as princes. As the day progresses try midges and baetis nymphs as well. Small BWO nymphs and emergers continue to work well. The smaller the better.
The Colorado has cleared again since the rain and snow earlier in the week. There continues to be good fishing with similar patterns to the Fork only a little larger.
Recommended Flies: PMD's #16, #18, baetis #18,20 and midges, both dries and emergers; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller and try egg patterns.