Winter has officially started. In addition in a day or so the days start getting longer. No doubt if you were anywhere near a television during the week you would have seen the reports of Denver Airport being closed for 2.5 days due to a storm which dumped up to 3ft of snow. The timing could not have been much worse for the upcoming busy holiday travel season. We did not get the same quantity of snow in the Roaring Fork Valley but the good news is that there was enough snow and the temperature dropped enough to give us some really great skiing.
Consequently it is probably not breaking news to relate to you the weather of the past week. As a consequence of the Denver Airport impasse a number of visitors who were due in town for a few days, cancelled their trips, being unable to reschedule another flight quickly enough. So it has been quiet in town. A few fishermen did report good fishing during the week on midges and eggs.
The weather report is calling for snow for the next 6 days. So it will be great for the skiing, great for the snowpack for next year and if you are of a mind to fish, it will not be bitterly cold.
To all of you we wish you and your families all the best for Christmas and the new year. Thank you for your support over the year. We trust that we will have a few surprises in the New Year which will meet with your approval. All the best from us all.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 83cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The snowy conditions over the last week were accompanied by warmer temperatures until later in the week when it became a little colder. With the promised snow next week it is predicted that the temperatures will warm a little as the week progresses. Now that we are well into winter conditions, take care when handling the fish. Leaving a fish out in the air when it is so cold will cause the water to freeze and damage the gills potentially causing irreparable harm to the fish. In addition, land the fish and release it quickly to limit the amount of energy expended. Sometimes if I can't remove a hook quickly enough I will just break off the line. The fish are now confined to restricted diets for the next 3 months so it is important to let them alone as much as possible so that they will survive the winter in reasonably healthy condition.
Recommended Flies: Wait for the sun to hit the water before venturing out. Then follow the sun . In the bright light the fish can easily be spotted in the deeper slower water. In the coming week fish midges deep and then if they start coming off fish closer to the surface with emergers if the fish start rising in the water column. When the fish are taking midges they won't move much to take them so fish as accurately as possible to ensure that the fly drifts down or up to the level of the feeding fish. It is imperative that one fishes right to the fish, so continually vary your weights. If you are careful you will get a lot of shots at a suspended fish as it won't move much to inspect a fly. Try WD-40's #20 , red and black chironocones #20, brassie's #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22 and garcia's rojo midges # 18 - #22. It's only when you practically hit the fish on the head and he moves off that you will know for sure he won't take your midge pattern. In addition with the browns on the redds still spawning take care not to disturb them. Instead fish downstream with egg patterns where other fish will gather to feed on them.
The snow over the past week has kept the Fork running at 293cfs at the moment being just fractionally lower than last week. To give you an idea of the difference in the flows from year to year, in 2005 at this time the flow was just 169cfs. The median flow is 222cfs. In the coming week the additional snow followed by warmer weather again will ensure that the level stays at a similar level to the present flow. Consequently it will be possible to float in a raft from mid valley if you have a mind to do so. There are midge hatches in the sun. Streamers and eggs will work as well.
Recommended Flies: Use the same flies as the Pan. (See our report for the Frying Pan). In addition use streamers, san juan worms and egg patterns. Generally try midges. Try larva and pupa patterns until the fish are moving under the surface then try emergers.
The Colorado should remain clear for the moment. There continues to be good fishing with similar patterns to the Fork only a little larger.
Recommended Flies: midges, larva, pupae, dries and emergers; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller and try egg patterns.