We are officially coming out of the deep freeze around here, and the shop staff and guides are furiously shaking off the winter blues. The guides are ecstatic to have more room to roam and are venturing with their sports to the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers again. The fishing has been awesome, to put it mildly. We have been putting boats back in the river for guides-day-off and commercial trips, and the fish are super grabby after the long, dark winter. Digging the boat out of the snow can be challenging, and it will surely be buried under a few more feet of snow before it’s all over, but that’s life here in the valley.
All of the boat ramps are plowed out and usable on the Roaring Fork and Colorado, although most of us have been exclusively banging up the latter. As I’m sure you’ve heard, the midges (big ones) are popping pretty hard on the Colorado, and the surface action has been improving in a major way as of late. The best hatches have been happening in the afternoons on windless, warm and cloudy days. When the dry-fly activity isn’t happening, we have been catching them on stones, princes and various largish midge nymphs. My observations are that most of the browns have been in the softer water, and the rainbows like a bit of current in their holding lies. As always, with the Colorado, there are plenty of “exotics” on the menu whilst fishing, including carp, whitefish and the ubiquitous sucker.
Floating is what we are all doing on our days off now, with one major exception, throwing flies at our favorite toothy critter…. Northern pike. I’m not saying the pike fishing has been exceptional as of yet, but rigging up an eight weight with a 5 inch hunk of rabbit and marabou tied on the end of the line sure beats the hell out of fishing 6 and 7x on the Fryingpan. Especially when that is all you’ve been doing for the last few months. We are totally happy to drive an hour to find out the pike aren’t interested in feeding, and even more thrilled when the opposite is true. There is no better adrenaline rush this time of year than a two-to-four foot predator chasing down last night’s tequila-influenced fly creation. Spring and fall are exceptional times of the year to hunt for these beasts, and we are only a few weeks away from the first day of spring!
Before we know it, we’ll be talking about stonefly molts, caddis hatches and heavy baetis emergences. That sure beats the hell out of midges, midges and midges. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.
Words by Scott Spooner
Photos courtesy of Brandon Soucie, Rich Hastings and Scott Spooner