The weather tried to snow a little earlier in the week, without much success. But by weekend it had succeeded. We have had 27inches of welcome snow and it is still snowing. The ski slopes certainly needed it as they were getting uncomfortably thin and icy. The current conditions are expected to persist for the next 4 days and then the warmer clearer weather is expected to return.
The fishing was good over the past few days with the fish feeding on midges. However on Sunday the temperature dropped to 22 ° and the wind picked up a treat making it very cold when the gusts were at their strongest. The midges were intermittent and the fish rose a little but it made for challenging circumstances. If the snowy conditions remain but the wind drops it will be excellent fishing over the next few days with the prediction of relatively warmer temperatures.
It is very quiet now in town. The debate is whether it is the economy, the low snowfall over the past month or a combination. One suspects the latter. How the year will turn out is hard to tell, but we can say from forward bookings we are already getting through to September that a lot of people are going to stay locally again this year rather than flying off to more remote places. So the early signs are that we would be expecting fishing activity to be strong again in the coming year.
I was reading an interesting report over the weekend. It was published last year by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. There was an interesting extract in relation to fly fishing which is worth sharing. The context was an assessment of growth prospects for the boating industry and sources of new business.
Frankly I thought the assessment of the demographics of the industry were disheartening insofar as the fly-fishing industry and its meager efforts at self-promotion were concerned. It does point to the potential for future growth but in terms of an assessment of the current general perception of fly-fishing it was poor. It plays into the issues currently facing Basalt and the river flows in the lower Pan. Essentially the notion remains that fly fishing is an older, wealthier persons niche sport which is difficult, expensive and elitist. A lot of work has to be done to change this perception and make it such that considerations being addressed by the Town of Basalt are more generally accepted. In these times of the rising politics of envy, anything perceived as elitist, no matter how unfairly, is going to struggle to be heard.
We have made some preliminary plans to address these issues in the coming year, and will make the appropriate announcements when the time is right.
The snow is most welcome on the ski slopes so one would expect that skiers will make the most of the opportunity. However if you are in the area and find the snow a little too deep and powdery, take off some time to rest those legs.
Current Flow: below the Dam 70cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The cold over the weekend accompanied by some snow and the wind made for some tough conditions on Sunday. The snow was very welcome and we will take as much as we can get. The forecast is for the present conditions to continue for a few more days and then we should see some clearing days and warmer sunnier weather. The lower temperatures aren't so bad. It is the wind and the accompanying snow which makes it hard to put the #32 gray biot with the 9x tippet on the nose of a feeding trout. Actually, it was great to be on the Pan with little traffic this week. I suspect it is hard to be content. When the weather is warm sunny and clear, we observe critically upon the numbers of fishermen who consider it is ideal to be out. Then with a little cold weather, some snow and wind which drives many away or keeps them on the ski slopes, we want less wind.
Of course there was another possible reason for the light numbers on the Pan on Sunday. I believe there was a game of some sort on the television. But it didn't seem to bother the fish which fed on the midges in the surface film taking brassies, gray biots #32 and black emergers [#26]. So over the next few days if the weather forecast is accurate there should be more opportunities for some great fishing with some snow and low gray clouds.
Recommended Flies: The longer days are beginning to be noticed as the sun stays above the high surrounding peaks a little longer each day. If the sun is out try and stay in the light. But if it is heavy and overcast it makes little difference.
We are now down to midge hatches. However the fish will take tiny baetis nymphs like tiny pheasant tails if they see them enough. So try small black and olive patterns #24 and #26 as well as brassies to get them down.
The midges will come off during the day, particularly if it is sunny. So try WD-40's #20, red and black chironocones #20, brassies #18 - #22, midge larva patterns #18 - #22, copper johns #18 - #22, black polywings #18 - #22 and garcia's rojo midges # 18 - #22. Mike reported great success this week on smaller black midges such as the miracle midge.
As they come off try the gray loopwing emergers #20 - #22, the FPA special emergers, biot emergers both with and without the trailing shuck and gray RS2's #18 - #22. In addition try dry patterns such as the z-wing real midge, suspended midge and any similar dry black and gray patterns in sizes from #20 through to #26, loopwing emergers #20 - #22 and FPA special emergers #20 - #26.
Current Flow: near Emma - iced up (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page).
The snow over the past few days has built up the banks on the edge of the river. However as it hasn't been particularly cold, one would expect the snow to melt off a little in the coming days when the current system passes through and the warmer sunnier days return. That will cause the flows to pick up a little but so far it shouldn't affect access to the river significantly.
Recommended Flies: Although on a warm day there will still be some midges coming off in the sunny places the most reliable results now will be nymphing with eggs, princes hare's ears and other attractor patterns.
Mike fished the Colorado on Saturday and reported great success on eggs, attractors and larger black midge patterns. The river still has a lot of material and the present snow will augment it a little. But as the days lengthen and the sun remains longer on the banks, the return of the warmer days will clear off a lot of the recent snow fairly quickly. So if you can get into the river, the fishing is good.
Recommended Flies: eggs, attractors and midges. Try streamers such as the autumn splendor, the yellow madonna and woolly buggers.