The Pan has now settled into its summer routine while the Fork is dropping and is a good color higher up. In fact the Colorado is beginning to look good as well. The days are bright and hot and there are good evening hatches starting to appear. The fishing is excellent and the crowds are beginning to arrive. However, so far most visitors are tending to fish the Pan towards the Dam and are in fact passing up great fishing lower down the Pan and on the Fork. Mo had clients up at the Dam on Friday and said there wasn't even standing room. She came back lower down and got the clients into some good fishing. Personally if I am on the river and can see someone above me and someone behind no matter what distance, I feel crowded. That's the beauty of this area. Just the Pan and the Fork provide a great range of fishing and this year the Roaring Fork has been designated Gold Medal water from Basalt all the way to Glenwood. So if you come out and feel that the crowds might be a problem in the last couple of miles to the Dam, there is plenty of other excellent water. Furthermore now is one of the best times to float and access more of the river than will be possible at any other time of the year.
I haven't seen too many grasshoppers about yet, but Art has seen them lower down. I look forward to those days when one can smack a hopper on the surface close to the bank under a tree and a big trout appears from nowhere to attack it. After a winter of midges, what must a hopper or a big drake look like to a fish? No wonder the larger flies attract such attention and are such a favorite for anglers.
We are getting excellent fishing reports now. Ed had an 80 fish day on the Fork on Friday!! That's a lot of fish! Barry took out some clients who shared some photos with us. Thanks for the photos Dan. Barry loves to take clients towards the dam and get into the larger fish.
Dan Johnson and Barry- Frying Pan 2006
Barry - Up at the Dam June 2006
So if you are inclined may we suggest you get here before the busiest part of the season is upon us. All too soon there will be milling crowds on the river most of the day and into the evening, the shops will be packed and just as soon it will all be gone as summer passes so quickly. The wildflowers are beginning to come out, the trees have their full foliage maybe a week or two earlier than normal. The cottonwoods are shedding at the moment so if you have a propensity to allergy's be prepared with some type of anti-histamine. Plenty of sunscreen, broad-rimmed hats and of course polaroid sunglasses are absolutely essential.
We have a great range of new fly patterns and sizes in the shop and would love to see you at your leisure. Currently we carry about 1600 patterns and sizes and will keep building the range until fly-tyers run out of ideas or we run out of room. Our motto is - ".he who has the most flies wins!".
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 - 124cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
They dropped the Pan a little more earlier in the week so that it was running just over 100cfs. However thankfully on Friday evening they bumped it back up so that it is currently running at 124cfs. The run-off is finishing as far as the tributaries below Ruedi are concerned. Taylor Creek has been dropping rapidly and is more than 1ft below its high point. The water is very clear. The same goes for other tributaries therefore the Pan is pristine and on bright days the fish are either deep, in the shade or in the riffles. There are a few more blue herons about than usual. They are very efficient in catching fish so they would be in their element now.
Merle and Mo report that the dry fly fishing towards the dam is patchy. At times the fish will ignore the hatch on the surface and at other times they respond aggressively. However the nymphing has been excellent with the fish changing between drakes, and baetis. But it is only a matter of time until the fish settle into the season as the consistency of the hatches brings them to the surface.
Mid-river and lower down nymphing is still the way to go at the moment. There are still a lot of big fish about in quite shallow water so in the bright light they are lying on the bottom and are in the riffles where they feel a little safer. Even in the quieter water the fish are rarely taking flies off the surface at the moment, preferring to take emergers. Every now and then a fish will put its head out of the water but it is only a matter of days before they realize that the bwo, midges and PMDs are thick on the surface and are there for the taking. Most of the fish I caught this week were on baetis and drake nymph patterns fished as deep as was convenient. The flies are tending to catch the bottom a lot more at the moment because in many places the recent high flow washed off a lot of the material which covered the rocks and helped the flies slip over them. Now the hook just catches. However it is less slippery walking although where the flow was not as high on the edges it is still just as slippery as before. On Friday evening there was a very thick PMD hatch which continued into the evening.
It will not be long before the big drakes start coming off. A few smaller one's have been coming off and the nymphs are prolific in the water and under rocks. This morning mid-river there was quite a good PMD hatch for an hour. But again they were not interested. The fish are taking the emergers a little provided they are fished down. Into the evening they took midge emerger patterns and pupa's such as the black WD-40. One fish took an emerging PMD.
Recommended Flies: The fish have now adjusted to the lower water again and therefore will be a little wary as they seek the darker deeper areas in the bright light. The current level is so low that the fish will be moving back to more protected areas and it will concentrate them more particularly when the light is bright. However at the moment there are still quite big fish in surprisingly shallow water. However after they have been disturbed a few times they will keep shifting to more protected areas. That is why it is wise to try and fish lower down towards Basalt where there have not been as many fishermen in the water. The lower flow will also make wading a little easier giving greater access to the river again. The water is so low and so clear it is now essential to use either 6x or 7x tippet. There is a consistent midge hatch between mid-morning and late afternoon into the evening and the PMD's are beginning their cycle of 2 hatches a day. The fish have not yet moved emphatically to the PMD's so first 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. Use baetis nymphs if nothing is moving on the surface. Try the sparkle baetis, the flashback and rojo pheasant tails and the icebreaker. Now that the water is clear you can try rs2's micro baetis and other very small patterns as well. Currently the better baetis hatches are towards the dam usually around midday to early afternoon if it is cloudy. Otherwise fish in the shade Mid-river the baetis are intermittent at best. The PMD's are coming off twice a day but the fish have not keyed in to them as yet. As the fish adjust to the lower water and start to look up, they will be taking more dries. In addition the water is now thick with drake nymphs so use drake nymph patterns, preferably smaller sizes #14 - #18. Hares ears and pheasant tails will also work well. However the key is to keep the flies as low as possible in the water. Don't hesitate to use as much weight as you consider necessary to get the fly to the bottom. You will lose a few flies on the bottom but if you don't you are not fishing deep enough.
The Fork is getting better by the day. Currently at Basalt it is 1,170cfs and given that we had a generally hot week and last week the flow was 2,110, there is no question that the run-off is well past it height and the fishing is now great. Ed had an excellent day out on Friday, his client catching 80 fish on the float!. Now is an excellent time to float to all of those inaccessible spots where the big fish are still lurking before the river drops much more. Ed advises, caddis and PMD's and says it is only a matter of time before the drakes are coming off. The guides have remarked just how few fishermen are on the Fork at the moment. So standing shoulder to shoulder at the Dam has a better alternative available. But ssssshhh don't say it too loud as someone might be listening.
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. The caddis are thick now so caddis pupa patterns and free swimmers.
Ed says that the Colorado is beginning to fish well again having improved in color over the last few days. The work on Shoshone has been completed and the lower flows in the tributaries are ensuring that cleaner rather than dirtier water is now flowing in. 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; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller.