Time: 12:30PM – 5:00PM
Location: Around the island below rectangular rock and then upstream to the stair step riffles above MM12.
Fish Landed: 10
Fortunately the paving project was complete, and I faced no stoppages on my return trip around Ruedi Reservoir. I drove directly to the pullout above Deadfall Pool where I parked upon my arrival on Wednesday, and I grabbed my lunch and munched it streamside while observing the water, but I was not seeing any mayfly activity. Friday was slightly warmer than Thursday, and the sky was bright blue with minimal cloud cover.
When I began fishing, I walked up the road and angled down a steep path to where it intersected with the smaller left braid around a long slender island. I crossed to the bottom of the island and began working my way up along the island side of the right braid. As I did this, I landed three small browns that were attracted to the salvation nymph. Even these small browns were equal to or greater in size than the fish I landed on the Upper Frying Pan.
When I reached rectangular rock pool I experienced refusals to the Chernobyl ant in a pocket at the tail, so I switched to a large green drake comparadun with a maroon thread rib. One twelve inch brown slurped the green drake at the bottom of the seam along the strong center current, but this proved to be a fleeting success as several refusals ensued. I now began seeing blue winged olives riding the surface film and fluttering up in the air above the water. This spurred me to remove the green drake, and I replaced it with a small size 20 CDC olive comparadun. Unfortunately for me, this fly was ignored as the BWO hatch intensified.
As I pondered the situation, I glanced behind me, and a guide and two clients had arrived just below the tail of the pool. I decided to hold my ground since the hatch had only recently begun, and they eventually disappeared. I considered trying a different CDC olive with a sparser wing since mine appeared a bit bushy compared to the naturals, but instead I elected to try a strike indicator set up with a salvation nymph on top and a RS2 as the bottom fly. I hypothesized that most of the fish were grabbing nymphs and emergers since the number of rising fish did not appear to correlate with the number of mayflies present in the air. The move to nymphs paid off fairly quickly with a 13 inch brown and fish number nine on the day including the four from the upper Frying Pan River.
Unfortunately the medium sized brown was the only taker of the nymph offerings despite my numerous solid drifts through the heart of the run. I also added some twitches and various movement during the drift, but this did not spur any takes, so I abandoned the large pool and worked the nice pockets above and beyond the tip of the island. I managed a temporary hook up with one fish in a deep pocket, but then I suffered through a dry spell despite some very attractive water that I knew held fish based on past experience.
As I was considering a new plan of attack, I noticed two or three mayflies emerging from a small run next to me, and then a couple of rises followed. The mayflies were smaller than the green drakes that rose sporadically earlier in the afternoon, and they displayed a light green coloration. I decided these were flavs so I tied on one of the two light olive green size 14 comparaduns that I stored in my box. I created these flies last winter after Jeff Shafer and I encountered a late afternoon hatch of flavs.
Bam! The new fly produced two fish in a short amount of time as a 12 inch rainbow and a 13 inch brown trout became acquainted with my net. I was excited with this turn of events, but the emergence only seemed to last for ten minutes and then the rises ceased. I decided to explore the left channel on the north side of the island in the hopes that the flavs were still emerging in the slower moving pool, so I climbed the bank to the road and walked to the bottom of the long shallow pool. I began making long prospecting casts to the smooth water with the light green comparadun, but my strategy was exposed as flawed.
Perhaps flavs emerge in faster water? I suggest this because I did manage to land two small browns in some short pockets at the top of the island. The shadows were now extending over much of the river in the narrow stretch above the island, and the brief hatch seemed to be history, so I decided to return to the pool toy, hares ear, and pheasant tail as I prospected the narrow slots along the bank between the island and MM12. This tactic yielded a couple refusals, and then I arrived at the large deep riffle at MM12. Amazingly there were no fishermen at this popular spot, so I made some casts along the inner current seam with no luck, and then moved to the eddy on the downstream side of the large rock that juts into the river between MM12 and the cascading riffle area.
I sprawled on the large rock and made a few casts to the eddy on the downstream side. On the fifth such cast, I allowed the pool toy to stall deep in the nook, and after 20 seconds it dipped, and I set the hook. Instantly a fish rocketed into the heavy current and snapped off the two nymphs. This episode was either a big fish or a foul hooked fish, but I can only speculate.
I turned around and began to fish in the nice long riffle next to the road below a deadfall and continued this for another half hour. There were quite a few rising fish that drew my attention, and I guessed that they were snatching dapping caddis from the surface. Quite a few small caddis buzzed about erratically and occasionally touched the surface of the river. I clipped off the dry/dropper arrangement and tied on a size 16 gray deer hair caddis, and after quite a bit of fruitless casting to numerous sighted fish, I seduced one rainbow into eating my fly. That was the last fish of the day as the shadows began to creep over all sections of the river.
My largest fish on Friday was 13 inches so the day was disappointing both in numbers and size. It was truly a subpar day for the Frying Pan River. The hatch was brief and consisted mostly of tiny blue winged olives with very little evidence of pale morning duns or green drakes other than the brief flurry of flav action. I packed up my gear and returned to the campsite where I found Jane perched on her camp rocking chair while basking in the sun. It was time to take a break from fishing for a few days.