Frying Pan River – 9/15/2011

Time: 1:00PM – 5:30PM

Location: Area between mile marker 12 and dirt road that crosses the river below the dam

Fish Landed: 11

Frying Pan River 09/15/2011 Photo Album

Amy was visiting us for a week so we planned a family camping trip for Thursday – Sunday. We chose Ruedi Reservoir as our destination as this would give me a chance to fish in the Frying Pan River, and there are several hiking trails in the area that we enjoy.

I packed the Santa Fe and took off by 8:45AM on Thursday morning. After stopping for gas along I70 and lunch in Glenwood Springs, I arrived along the upper Frying Pan River and was on the water fishing by 1PM. On my drive it began to rain in Glenwood Canyon and continued off and on until I parked along the river. When I began fishing it was raining quite hard and this would continue until around 4PM when the clouds broke and the sun appeared in partly cloudy skies.

I had tied six new green drake comparaduns on Wednesday evening before dinner and I was eager to give them a try. I modeled them after one that I purchased on the Conejos River; however, they were sparser as I did not add the dense hackle behind the wing that characterized the purchased model. I did however use crinkled moose mane for the tail and matched the abdominal color and ribbing exactly as well as the size of the fly. I searched through my fishing bag for the green fly box where I stored the new green drakes. Alas it wasn’t there. I’d left it behind on my fly tying desk in the loft. Next I looked for my four piece Sage 4 weight rod, my favorite rod for the Frying Pan. Apparently that continued to reside in my garage. Fortunately I had my Loomis five weight and Scott six weight, so I could still fish.

I parked fairly high up on the upper Frying Pan River near the road that crosses the river and provides parking for fishing right below the dam. I walked down the road quite a ways until I encountered another fisherman and slid down the bank in the rain 50 yards upstream. The flows were at 300, and this is somewhat high for this fairly narrow stream bed. This meant the holding spots for trout were fewer than at lower flows.

Nice Rainbow from Frying Pan River on Thursday

I began fishing with a Chernobyl ant and beadhead hares ear and caught a nice rainbow on the Chernobyl in short order. As I worked upstream a lack of action caused me to switch to nymphing with a beadhead pheasant tail and RS2. I managed to catch a brown on the RS2 before all manner of hardship descended upon me. First I wrapped the flies around the tip of a long branch that arched out over the river. It was impossible to retrieve these flies, so I broke them all off. The leader separated at the last knot attached to the tapered leader, and I’d broken it off enough times that the end diameter was getting quite thick.

Against my better judgment because of my eagerness to fish, I tied on new sections of tippet to the tapered leader and then added split shot, indicator, and two flies. In short order I got hung up on a stick or rocks and when I gently jerked the rod to free them, the entire set of flies broke off again at the first knot. Now I decided I needed to replace the entire tapered leader. During the process of unraveling the tapered leader, I created a bird’s nest again through impatience. I probably spent at least an hour messing with my leader and knot tying and not fishing.

Frying Pan Brown Trout

I eventually worked through this and landed three medium sized fish on the nymphs; one on the pheasant tail and two on the RS2. It became apparent why the RS2 was producing as I began to observe BWO’s mixed with a few PMD’s. This occurred around 3PM, and I switched over to a CDC BWO and landed three on this fly in the pouring rain. Even under dry conditions it takes me awhile to dry the CDC wing and fluff it up, but during the steady rain this became an even more difficult chore.

Another Fine Rainbow from Frying Pan

The rain ended at around 4PM and this created a brief flurry of PMD emergence. I switched to the gray comparadun (money fly) and landed two above the car. When I ran out of decent stream to fish above the car, I walked back down the road to the open riffle area above mile marker 12 and by this time most of the fishermen had quit for the day so space was available. I landed a twelve inch rainbow in this area on a gray caddis.

Looking Upstream Near Dam

On the day I landed eleven trout and the largest was perhaps thirteen inches, but I caught three or four of these.

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