Time: 1:00PM – 4:00PM
Location: Below Reudi Reservoir Dam
Quite a few cars occupied the prime parking pullouts along the upper three miles below the dam and as expected contending with competing anglers was a given. I found a spot above three other vehicles and marched down to the stream to eat my lunch. Another fisherman occupied the spot that I desired, so I mentally surveyed my alternatives. I returned to the car to jettison my lunch bag, and I decided to walk down the road a bit to assure myself that my target entry point was occupied. As I walked along, I passed a car with its hatch open, and an angler was stashing his gear. Could it be the fisherman that I observed in my desired starting space? It was, so I continued down the road and then cut along an angled path to the edge of the river.
My dry/dropper remained in place, so I prospected some nice runs with the hope that perhaps the trout were interested in the salvation nymph, as it typically imitates a pale morning dun nymph. This was not the case, so I began to carefully angle my way across the river toward a favorite spot, where the main current deflects against the south bank, and in the process the river created a very attractive riffle of moderate depth. The flows of 290 CFS made the crossing much more challenging than normal, but I succeeded in my plan. I began lobbing the dry/dropper to the churning water at the head of the riffle and allowed the three flies to drift to the tail, and I was disappointed to discover a lack of interest from the resident trout.
I began to ponder my next move, and as I watched the stream, several subtle rises manifested themselves. By now my watch displayed 1:30, and a chilly wind gusted up the river. I removed my fleece during the drive from the upper river to where I was presently, and I was wishing that I kept the extra layer in place. Could the anticipated green drake hatch be underway, and could the fish be rising to the windblown adults? I quickly clipped off the dry/dropper flies and shifted to a parachute green drake. The number of rising fish in the vicinity ballooned to five or six, and I made downstream drifts to all of them, but other than a couple refusals, my efforts were thwarted.
In a state of frustration I stretched my seine across the net opening, and I held it and collected samples from the surface film. After a minute or two the only food item of interest was a solitary blue winged olive, so I added a one foot extension to the green drake and knotted a CDC blue winged olive to my tippet. Nothing. The tiny olive was treated with even more disdain than the green drake. The wind continued to gust, and I remembered historical BWO hatches in windy conditions, when the trout honed in on emergers, since they were available, before the wind swept them from the surface. I cycled through a Klinkhammer emerger BWO and a soft hackle emerger, but neither of these yielded success, and I acknowledged that my windswept theory was misguided. Typically pale morning duns overlap with green drakes, so I added a cinnamon comparadun of size 18 and then 16 behind the green drake, and once again the trout continued to rise but ignored my offerings.
As I focused on a downstream rising trout, I thought I saw a green drake natural, as it danced above the surface. The wind buffeted the large mayfly causing it to touch the surface repeatedly, as it attempted to get airborne. Did my fly need to look more active? I tied a Harrop hair wing green drake to my line behind the parachute green drake and fished a double dry. Finally I managed to hook and land a greedy eleven inch cutbow on a downstream drift, as the greedy eater grabbed one of the green drake imitations. I thought perhaps I was on to something, but after I released my first tailwater fish of the day, I returned to a state of frustration.
I finally decided to surrender to the picky eaters, and I crossed to the roadside bank once again. However, before stepping on land, I paused at the tail of the nice riffle where I began, and I thought I spotted a very subtle sipping rise in the tiny nook at the tail of the riffle tight to the bank. It took four casts to get a drift of the two flies over the spot, where I thought I saw the fish, but suddenly a nose appeared, and it sipped the parachute green drake. I set the hook, and a fight commenced, but the top fly slipped free and the trailing green drake foul hooked the battler. Eventually before I could land the brown trout, it broke free and escaped. The vision of the sipping take remains in my head, even though the brown trout was not among my fish count.
I walked along the shoulder to a point where I could once again angle to the river, where it formed two braids that split around a long narrow island. I progressed along the left braid observing for rises, but none were forthcoming, so I crossed below another angler above the upstream tip of the island, and I negotiated my way through some tight willows to cube rock pool. A huge rock in the shape of a cube occupies the top of the pool thus the name. I explored the near side of the strong center current with a multitude of casts, and only managed to generate three looks. It was maddening to attract the attention of decent trout without being able to close the deal.
I slowly waded back to the top of the island with the intention of moving to another section of the river, but as I was about to cross the north braid below the other angler, I decided to make a few casts to a nice deep but short pocket that spanned the braid. On the fifth drift I noticed that a trout emerged from a position at the lip of the pocket. By now I reverted to the size 16 cinnamon comparadun behind the green drake, and I began to forego casting, as I dragged the two flies to the top of the pocket and then allowed them to drift back to the lip. Eventually I simply lifted the flies and let them flutter in the wind and then allowed them to touch down repeatedly at the lip of the pocket. After quite a few such actions, a large mouth appeared, and the comparadun disappeared. The fight was on, and I managed to land the best fish of the trip, a fifteen inch cutbow. Needless to say catching this fish under difficult conditions was very gratifying.
I decided to move on at this point. As I drove along the stream during my approach, I noticed a few open pullouts above the wide parking area that is generally filled with guide vehicles. I pulled into one of these. The river narrows in this area, and I was uncertain that low velocity holding spots existed at the higher than normal flows. For the next hour I migrated upstream along the left bank, and I managed to land a nice thirteen inch brown trout from a narrow slot and some slack water next to the bank. By four o’clock I was burned out, and whitewater chutes were all that remained ahead of me, so I climbed the steep bank and returned to the car and called it a day.
Wednesday afternoon was very challenging. The 290 CFS flows reduced the number of prime fishing spots for the abundant quantity of fishermen. The chill and wind had an impact on the hatches, and I never saw the “profuse” emergences described by the salesperson at Taylor Creek Fly Shop. I should have remained on the upper Frying Pan River, but I did manage to finesse a fine fifteen inch cutbow from an obscure lie. For this I was grateful. I am amazed at the fishing pressure that the Frying Pan tailwater absorbs.
Fish Landed: 3