Author: Will Rice
The Fryingpan River in late May
Late spring is always a dynamic time of year here in Colorado. From a weather perspective, you never know what you are going to get when you head outdoors – especially up in the mountains.
The good news is that there are almost always great fishing opportunities if you want to find them. This past weekend I traveled up to the Roaring Fork River Valley. You know summer is on the way when high mountain roads like Independence Pass are finally open.
Snowpack from the summit of Independence Pass and the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River promise a great 2014 fishing season
Lower down in the valley, the Roaring Fork River near Aspen was running high and a bit off color so I decided to check out the Fryingpan River.
The Roaring Fork River near Aspen
A nice run on the lower section of the Fryingpan River
The Fryingpan is a great tailwater option in the spring and is a river that can be fished almost all year round. The section I fished was between Ruedi Reservoir and the town of Basalt.
For a holiday weekend the river seemed fairly quiet. There was plenty of water to fish and the river was at 240 CFS (below Ruedi Reservoir). With the higher flows I decided to throw larger stonefly patterns followed by smaller midges and was able to pick up a few fish right out of the gate. I had luck with both a Jimmy Legs #14 with a black body and green legs as well as a Stonebomb #12. The fish seemed to be keying in on the bigger bugs.
This rainbow was released after it ate a Smethurst's Stonebomb
Here is what our friends at Taylor Creek Fly shop had to say about the fishing conditions on the Frying Pan earlier this month and their prediction was pretty much right on:
“The fishing was a little tough after flows raised, but everything is now settling down and the bugs and fish are getting their equilibrium back. On the lower river, caddis, BWOs and midges abound, and above mile 8 we are seeing only midges at this point. Our guide staff anticipates major BWO hatches to start up on the upper river any day now. The healthy flow we have enjoyed all through winter and early Spring promise very, very healthy hatches on the Fryingpan this year. For the upper river, bring the mysis patterns, BWO nymphs, midge dries and nymphs, and even San Juan Worms to fool the fish. Streamers are managing to move a few fish, and be ready to see a terrific BWO hatch in the coming weeks. Down on the lower river near Basalt, make sure you have caddis nymphs and dries, hoppers (yes, hoppers!) stonefly nymphs, BWO dries and nymphs, and a few midges too. Fewer people and less gun-shy fish await you!” – Taylor Creek Fly Shop
For more information on Colorado Fishing Conditions CLICK HERE.
If you have any questions about where to fish give us a call here at the shop at 303.733.1434 or stop by the shop.