Where to fish: the Fryingpan
Aspen Times correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado
BASALT, Colorado ” It’s down to the Fryingpan River.
Anglers continue to find clear water on the Fryingpan above Basalt, while other rivers in the Roaring Fork Valley have succumbed to spring runoff in a big way.
The Fryingpan is experiencing its own version of spring runoff ” it continued to run at 325 cubic feet per second (cfs) Monday ” considerably higher than its typical late-summer flows. The Bureau of Reclamation is drawing down Ruedi Reservoir to make room for the coming snowmelt, hence the higher flows below the dam, but the dam-fed river is somewhat immune to the runoff phenomenon that has turned the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers into muddy torrents.
“It’s still fishing pretty well,” said Kirk Webb at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt. “I think it [the Fryingpan] is the only destination to be had.”
On the Pan, try mysis shrimp patterns and look for baetis hatches below the dam, and blue-winged olive hatches in the middle section, Webb advised.
The Colorado River has been running at high, muddy and unfishable levels for several weeks, and the lower Fork ” below Carbondale ” has been consistently muddy, as well. The weekend’s balmy temperatures finally clouded the upper Fork, when Maroon and Castle creeks in Aspen blew out Sunday afternoon, Webb said.
Cold weather combined with clear water in the two creeks that feed the upper Fork kept the Roaring Fork reasonably clear from Snowmass Canyon up to Aspen ” particularly above Woody Creek ” through Sunday morning. That wasn’t the case by late Sunday, Webb said.
“Right now, all the trout fishing in the valley is day-to-day,” said Tom Trowbridge at Alpine Anglers in Carbondale.
Flows in the Roaring Fork at Glenwood Springs jumped nearly 2,000 cfs between Saturday evening and Monday morning, he reported.
“As long as this warm weather keeps up, the river’s going to keep climbing,” Trowbridge said.
In the meantime, whitewater rafters are giddy and some anglers are heading to warm-water fisheries like Rifle Gap Reservoir and Harvey Gap Reservoir north of Silt.
Should the weather conditions produce any clarity for fishing on the upper Fork, watch for a late afternoon/evening caddis hatch, suggested Dave Johnson at Crystal Fly Shop in Carbondale.
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