On-the-fly column: changes are in progress

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a local rainbow trout
Taylor Creek Fly Shop / Courtesy

Fishing in the Roaring Fork Valley in the fall is a dream, at least for me. That goes for the Crystal Rivers, Roaring Fork, and Fryingpan, and everything in between. The shorter periods of light hitting the water and the drop in water and air temperatures are causing something special.

The big fish suddenly appear in the runs you’ve been fishing all summer, and they weren’t there last week. These fish have been elusive until now. Winter, whether it’s your first or fifth as a trout, is looming on the horizon, and summer’s bountiful insect delights won’t last long. They feel it. Gone are the big summer insects, giving way to tiny midges and olive mayflies with blue wings, now more widespread.

Big Browns are on the move and begin their annual spawning rituals, and the days are finally returning to seeing a lot more fish than other anglers. Here, everything changes quickly in the fall and the fish realize it. I would reposition those boxes of streamers and gnats to the front pockets of your vest or waist pack. Fall float fishing can certainly be sublime; I certainly enjoy a day throwing banners after a summer full of dry flies on a tiny, fragile point.



You can sight-fish the frying pan to your heart’s delight, and these deeper sections of the Roaring Fork give whitefish trout after hit. The fishing is always fantastic, with good opportunities for dry fishing, nymphs and streamers in beautiful surroundings without the summer crowds one sees on these bustling rivers.

It’s also the time of year to think about giving back. Find that co-worker or local kid whose eyes lit up when they heard you were fly fishing. Show them the right way to go about it, learning the right technique and river etiquette. If they are like you, you will have given them a gift that continues to be given regardless of age, physical ability or orientation. Take the gift of falling there.



This report is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or at TaylorCreek.com.

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