Thursday 12th August - The Bureau put the Pan releases up last night to 365cfs but this morning have brought them back. The target flow, according to the Bureau is 320cfs. The culprit for the increase is the US Fish and Wildlife program to protect the endangered species at Grand Junction. So the flow should be back to 320cfs this afternoon which should not make too much difference higher up towards the Dam. But adding in the various tributary flows the water will get fractionally harder to wade close to Basalt.
This week started off with a lot of rain which blew out the lower Fork from Carbondale. The Fork blew out above Basalt for a short period as well as did the Pan with several tributaries contributing. The Pan cleared very quickly as did the upper Fork so that by the end of the week the Fork cleared all the way to Glenwood while the Colorado remains colored up.
Generally the rains and higher river flows were excellent for the fish. Gary floated from Basalt on each of the first 3 days of the week reporting excellent fishing on dry flies. The colder temperatures brought the fish up to take the hatches coming off.
We are now at the height of the season. It is hard to say whether there are more fishermen about compared to last year. There are times when it appears that there are several cars at each pull off. But in an hour or so, particularly later in the afternoon the traffic seems to clear and there is plenty of access. There is certainly not as much traffic on the upper Fork. And with the Colorado having blown out over the past week one would have expected to see more floating on the lower Fork. So it is an interesting question.
Over the coming week the weatherman is predicting a warmer and clearer change with less chances of thunderstorms and rain. Generally the weather will be clearer and the temperatures a little hotter than the past week. The great thing about the cooler weather and rain last week is that it has increased the flow in the Colorado and cooled the water a little, reducing the need for additional water releases from Ruedi to augment the flows for the endangered species near Grand Junction. So one would expect the Fork to drop a little in the coming week while the Pan should remain the same.
A young local who loves to fish but hasn’t had too much luck came by the shop the other day. Jake had some time on his hands so he re-rigged his rod and walked from the shop to the confluence under the bridge in Basalt with him to show him a few tips. Shortly thereafter, Jake and an exceedingly excited young man returned with this photo. This is just a short walk from the shop. No need to travel too far, particularly when one gets the correct advice.
Current Flow: below the Dam 254cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
Some more excellent fishing this week on the Pan. In fact, even if the hatches are not coming off the fish will take well presented dries. When the weather changes blew through the fish tended to stay on the edges so it was a matter of just carefully picking where the fish lay. But in reality, there are so many fish in the Pan that there is always a prospect of great fishing.
There were great reports this week from the edge of town all the way to the Dam. Harry reported great drake fishing near 12 mile while Ed, Cam and Mike all reported great midge fishing when everyone else reported things were slowing down. The PMD and BWO hatches were also great with the fish taking a range of patterns from bright sulphurs through to dull gray bodies.The coming week promises the possibility of mostly clear and warmer weather. That will tend to keep the fish in deeper water or in the shade at the height of the day. So be prepared to spend some time looking for the fish if the day is clear, bright and hot.
Recommended Flies: There are now midges, PMD's Caddis and BWO hatches to choose from. The drakes are coming off up most of the way up now.
There is a morning and an evening PMD hatch. Currently the fish are taking emergers #16 and #18 fished down. Try Barrs emergers, the bubbleback, and the FPA PMD beadtail emergers. In addition try the comparadun pmd, the grizzly wulff and the fpa special pmd emerger.
For caddis try the elk hair #14 and #16 olive as well as emergers.
For baetis, the fish will take tiny baetis nymphs like tiny pheasant tails. So try small black and olive patterns #18 - #22 as well as brassies to get them down. The fish are also taking BWO emergers, so use the FPA baetis emergers, the sparkle baetis, rs2's and other small emerger patterns. In addition for dry fly activity try adams, extended bodies, matthews and parachute adams. Lighter colored bodies such as the grizzly wulff will also serve as PMD patterns.
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.
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.
For drakes, try the straw wing emerger #12 and when the fish are rising to the natural try the hairwing dun, the wulff patterns and the flavilinea. We have nearly 400 drake patterns in the shop so there should be something no-one else has tried that day.
We got a little more rain than we anticipated early last week causing the Crystal to blow and putting the lower Pan out of commission for the early part of the week. Even the upper Fork suffered just a little for a day but it cleared quickly leaving good water, cooler temperatures and good fishing for those putting in near Basalt. The Fork is now clear again its full length. With the Colorado still colored up and not very fishable the lower Fork suffers from a lot of floaters is one goes with the crowd. Higher up though, there is little traffic. So that will be the better option for floating this week until the Colorado clears unless you pick a time to avoid the traffic below Carbondale.
Recommended Flies: Try baetis, midges and PMD nymphs in the morning. In addition in quieter areas where there are a lot of midges coming off, try black and gray midge emergers. Try small baetis nymph patterns such as pheasant tails #18 - #24. Baetis emergers try RS2, the crystal hunchback, juju baetis, the mighty mite, icebreakers and the FPA sparkle baetis - #18 - #24.
As the day progresses in the faster water try caddis emergers and dries with baetis and PMD emergers. Try Barrs emergers, the bubbleback, and the FPA PMD beadtail emergers.
In the evenings try big stimulators and drake dries as the drake hatch comes off higher up abover Basalt. The drake hatch continues to move up river. So take dries and emergers along as well as drake nymph patterns.
If you are floating try streamers, particularly heavier flies with enough weight to get down quickly.
The Colorado is not a good option at the moment with the recent rains leaving it colored up and in dark condition. So for the moment just turn onto to Highway 82 and come up to Basalt.
Recommended Flies: The best result will be from nymphing although the evenings have been affording some nice dry fly activity. For nymphs try baetis and pmd nymphs as well as stones. In addition with the yellow sallies, try smaller stone nymphs. Interestingly a lot of crane flies have been flying around earlier than usual so terrestrials should be considered if the weather remains hot dry and windy. So try hoppers, beetles and cricket patterns.