Went out to the Roaring Fork with my dad to try to get some fishing done before runoff.
Stayed Friday night at the Aspenault lodge in Basalt. Woke up this morning, got the good word from the Taylor Creek Fly Shop, and got to work upstream of Basalt.
Water clarity was alright and flows were still pretty wadable. It is difficult to cross the river wading. Bug life is incredible, tons of cased/uncased/netmaking caddis, BWOs, drakes, and golden stones crawling around on the rocks. BWO hatches started up around mid-morning and continued on through to the afternoon. Not enough bugs to get fish on the surface (I tried). There were also some caddis flying around in the afternoon/evening, but according to other people a lot less than two weeks ago before the beginning of runoff.
The fish were picky. Tried stones and worms to start. Caught only one brown on the stones, which in my experience is very unusual for the Fork. Usually there are plenty of fish willing to eat stoneflies. We switched to caddis, caddis emergers, and attractor nymphs, which picked up a few fish. After that some BWOs started flying around so I probably tried 5 or 6 different types of BWO emerger patterns with limited success. It seemed like every fish bit a different fly. The best flies were a Formerly Known as Prince in sz. 14 and a Flashback PT in sz. 16-20. Fish would bite on the swing occasionally but most were on the dead drift. Fish were all over the water column, but fish holding over shallow rocks in seams and flatwater seemed to be more aggressive than the fish holding down deep.
Hooked around 20 total, landed 10. I don't know why I missed so many. My dad got 2, hooked and lost a few more. 10 of the landed fish were rainbows, only 2 were browns. Most of the fish I hooked and lost were also rainbows. That Hofer stocking program is either paying off or displacing a great brown fishery, depending on your perspective.
As always a fantastic weekend in the Roaring Fork Valley. It's my favorite river in CO, and I can't wait to go back!
The Eagle and Gore Creek still looked low and clear, so there are still plenty of places to fish over the next week or two before we see runoff. Enjoy the pics!