The weatherman was quite wrong this week in predicting rain and snow. However it certainly was cold in the earlier part of the week and this held the run-off back sufficiently to bring the Fork back into good condition above Basalt. The Pan has also remained excellent although given the level of inflow at Meredith and the other tributaries, it won't be long before they have to kick the flow up to maintain control and stop Reudi running over the top.
Again looking at the 10-days forecast, the weatherman is calling for a warmer period but is nominating some rain and thunderstorms. He was not accurate in the past week, but it is probable that he will be right soon so a combination of hot weather some rain and the run-off will call for care in choosing where to fish. Although the daily temperatures are predicted to get higher, it is also predicted that the nights will remain in the 20's so this will at least slow the melt each night keeping a semblance of order to the run-off for at least a little longer.
As the water gets higher, it will be a matter of searching more diligently for the right location to get the fish. They will be moving out of the faster water and as the water carries more material they will be trying to get to clearer water to limit the grit in their gills. So actually it gets more interesting as the fish will surprise you when you find them in the most unlikely spots.
As a side note, for those of you who might be contemplating coming out this year and renting the cabins, might we suggest that you do not wait too long to book. We already have July totally booked as well as the first three weeks of August. September is almost fully booked as well. If you want details click on the lodging link on the left.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 293cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The releases from Reudi have been running consistently all week however lower down the Pan the flow is noticeably higher as the various tributaries have been increasing in flow and color as the week has become warmer. Given the level of the snow pack and the rate of the melt with the current warm weather, it will not be long before the Pan's flow jumps significantly as the outflow has to be sufficient to prevent Reudi from flowing over. Our personal preference is that it happens sooner rather than later so that the river can be flushed and readied for this years season. The last thing we want is for Reudi to run over the top and be uncontrolled. So if you are planning on coming up, give the shop a call and get the latest reports on the flows to get an idea of the water conditions.
Of late most of the fishermen have been fishing up towards the dam. Yet the fishing has been great lower down. The early part of the week was very cold and changeable although there was no predicted snow or rain. Towards the end of the week however it had warmed enough to kick up the run-off so that by Saturday tributaries such as Taylor Creek are running as high as they have this year.
The midge hatches were consistent throughout the week. Some of the days were a little cloudy and therefore a few BWO's came off but not in great numbers. Midge pupa and baetis nymph patterns all worked well. In the brighter light the fish stayed lower but the fishing was still good towards the end of the day.
Friday there was a good midday midge hatch and even in the evening there were plenty of midges about. The fish took a midge pupa pattern even though there were no fish rising on the surface mid-river.
Saturday midday the fish were moving a little on the surface but not for long. The fish responded best to a green glass bead pupa pattern we have just had tied for the shop. In the evening the fish were a little more active. They took a range of flies from #20 parachute Adams, to #20 midge pupa patterns.
Sunday started off with clouds blowing through and a strong wind. The forecast was for stronger winds in the afternoon. There was not much activity on the water midday midriver. At 1.20 a few BWO's came off and one fish rose then it went quiet again. The fish were laying low and not feeding a great deal. They did take a nemes soft hackle caddis and the #18 motoroil choronicone. There was a thunderstorm which lasted for just a few moments. It ended at about 4pm after which the air was thick with midges. Thereafter the fish took midge emergers until about 6pm when it turned very cold and started raining a little later.
Merle fished with Bob and said it was tough towards the dam with the wind playing havoc and rendering it bitterly cold. Merle said that he had some success on midge emergers.
Sunday was a great example of a typical changeable spring day on the Frying Pan River.
Recommended Flies: The next 10 days promises warmer weather with the chance of thunderstorms. So dress in the expectation of cold rain with the sun breaking through from time to time. The mornings are still very cold so if you are going out early, be well dressed for such conditions. The tributaries are now running higher, so coupled with the higher flow from Ruedi, it will be a matter of tracking down the fish as they will have moved to the slower water on the edges, or in side channels. The higher flow will also make wading a little more difficult, so if you are unsure on your feet be careful and get advice as to the better places to wade. The narrower the river, the harder it is to wade. Make sure you are using light tippet, however as the water colors up and the volume increases, it will be possible to go to 6x and even 5x closer to town as it will now be less visible. The fish are now in the quieter water so tread carefully. If you watch closely you will be amazed where you will find larger fish as they spread out to new locations under banks and next to logs and rocks for protection. Polaroids are essential. Now more than ever one must be a hunter to find your quarry consistently. There is now a consistent hatch between mid-morning and late afternoon into the evening. Being spring conditions, be prepared for a variety of weather on the same day. Continue to spot the fish feeding and fish directly at them. Try midge larva and pupa before the hatch starts. If the hatch appears lackluster, use bead head pupa patterns allowing them to drift down. When the fish begin to feed under the surface, try small emergers; olive biot emergers, size #18 - #22 and black special emergers #18 - #22. 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. Switching to a dry pattern too early can cause you to miss good opportunities. On the surface, use midge dries with emergers in the film as a dropper. Also try Griffiths gnats #18 - #24 and parachute Adams #18 - #22. The baetis nymphs are now moving about in the water so be ready with very small nymph patterns. Use sparkle patterns in the colored water as they fish tend to notice them more easily. So far, micro baetis, sparkle baetis and pheasant tails have been successful. There have been a few baetis hatches so the dries have worked a little, but it is early in the season. Of late the fish have been taking parachute adams in the evenings. If it is quiet try baetis nymphs down deep near the bottom. In the faster water, remember that the water right on the bottom moves more slowly. So fish will remain on the bottom feeding comfortably despite the increased flow overhead.
The warmer weather has increased the flows in the Fork. Through the week the flows ranged from the low 700's to over 900 cfs. Currently the flows are over 800 but with the warmer weather, the flow will jump up again requiring one to fish further up the Fork. The freezing overnight temperatures have caused the daily fluctuations in the river, and this will continue with the predicted overnight temperatures in the 20's for at least the next week.
The fishing remains good on the Fork particularly floating up higher which enables one to get to those areas which are hard to reach wading. Ed advises that the midges in the mornings with stoneflies through the day and BWO's in the afternoon are all working well.
On Sunday Ed reported excellent fishing when floating down from higher on the Fork and remarkably said he only saw one other fisherman on the river. The water was an excellent color and the fish responded all day although there was not a great deal of activity on the surface. In addition to the flies noted above, he also said that caddis worked well.
The increased color enables one to use heavier leader together with larger stoneflies with a little flash or color to make them stand out a little. In the heavier flow the fish will move to the sides to get out of the dirtiest water. They will continue feeding in the quieter water so, as with the Pan it is just a matter of finding the quieter areas and moving along carefully spotting the fish laying behind objects or on the sides in channels and protected areas.
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. Stone flies #16 - #10 - try mercers poxy-back, roaring fork stone, 20 incher. Cased caddis patterns will work deep as well. Also remember egg patterns.
The generally increased flow in the Fork, the water below Carbondale from the Crystal and the continuing the work on Shoshone have contributed to make the Colorado practically unfishable at the moment when there is so much better fishing just a few minutes up the road. If you are down that way and are disappointed with the water, come to mid-valley where the Fork and Pan will offer you the best conditions for fishing. If you want to try a fish it 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.