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Fryingpan River Report
November 22, 2015
FLOW: 73 cfs - This is expected to be our winter flow.
WATER CLARITY: Gin clear and perfect
OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10 but gaining in strength thanks to lowered flows. Crowds have thinned out significantly, especially with Aspen Mtn opening to skiing this weekend.
THE SHORT AND SWEET: Fishing is rockin' up the Pan! Few crowds, good numbers of risers, and better than good late fall fishing. Sure, the flies are small and the tippets are light but that's just standard fare here. It's all BWOs and midges in the way of hatches now.
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Midges, Mysis, Sculpin, Huevos
IN DEPTH REVIEW: Early mornings have been good for the big fish/mysis shrimp type guys. Get out early while the fish are still sharkin' around in the Bowl, Flats and Bend Pool with mysis. Once the sun is beating down by late mornings, the fish are out of there and push back into the depths.
Nymphing with small and dark baetis nymphs as lead/point flies with midge larva droppers is the name of the game in the later morning hours. By midday, swap out your midge droppers for baetis emerger patterns (gray). Dry fly junkies should be focusing their efforts from 11am-3pm (give or take an hour). The heaviest hatches have been seen from mile markers 6-12. Light tippets of 7x fluoro and downstream drifts are beneficial. As the hatches fade, one can go back to nymphing the deeper seams and pools or rockhop, cover water and chuck some streamers (my preference - especially at this time of year). We're fond of using small, heavy, neutral colored streamers on the Pan (save your triple-articulated, double-hook wet socks for Alaska!).
Education - To be clear, we're not against fishing egg patterns - we simply just don't fish them on or over beds. If you've ever fished the Flats during the winter over the past five years or so, you know exactly what we're talking about as 20 dudes line up shoulder to shoulder and whack fish after fish off of their spawning beds. We realize that we had a BIG hand in creating this epidemic, but also realize that we can learn from our mistakes in giving more guidance to those that are uneducated in fishing ethics. In addition, there are also winter spawning rainbows on the Pan too, mixed right in there with those spawning browns! Please exercise caution out there and give these fish a wide berth.
On another subject, if you'd like to do something good that will actually benefit the river, keep your daily bag limit of two brown trout under fourteen inches. That's right! There's simply way too many small brown trout in this river which is EXACTLY why these restrictions have been set in place that way. In this day and age of catch and release, it's hard to convince people that they're actually doing the river some good by bonking those small browns. And yes, mysis shrimp fed fish eat very, very well. Who's up for a warm shore lunch on a cold day?
DRIES: TC Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, Collett's Para BWO 20-22, Befus BWO Emerger 20-22, CDC Transitional Midge 20-22, Bills Midge Emerger 20-22, CDC Spent Midge 20-22, CDC Midge Adult 24
NYMPHS: BTS Baetis 20-22, PTs 20-24, Tung Hoover Baetis 20-22, Gray RS2 20-22, Gray Soft Hackle Baetis 20-22, Biot Baetis 20-22, Bling Midge Gray 20-22, Pandemic BWO 20-22, Chocolate Thunder 20-22, various Mysis Shrimp 16-18
STREAMERS: Slumpies, Clousers, Sliders, TC Autumn Splendors, TC Stingin' Sculpins
HINTS: Dress in layers. The weather can be all over the place at this time of year. Be ready for rain, snow or shirt sleeve weather!
MIDDLE RIVER FRYINGPAN
WATER CONDITIONS: Crystal clear
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Midges, Caddis, Ants
OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10 simply due to less pressure and equally good fishing compared to the upper river.
THE SHORT AND SWEET: Except for the mysis shrimp fishing up high, the same conditions apply down here.
IN DEPTH REVIEW: Some of the better areas along the middle river would include: Big Hat, Eagle Pool, Money Pit and Rosie's.
DRIES: Same as the upper river
NYMPHS: Same as the upper river less mysis shrimp, flavs and PMDs.
STREAMERS: Same as upper river
HINTS: The middle river has more shade than the upper river - are you streamer and dry fly junkies paying attention?
WATER CONDITIONS: Clear and ideal.
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, Midges, Sculpins, Huevos
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 out of 10.
THE SHORT AND SWEET: Don't be a sissy. This is the "locals" stretch of the Fryingpan! Why? It offers solitude, good fishing and right now - better fishing! A few larger browns from the Roaring Fork push into this section of river to spawn. Though we don't condone fishing to actively spawning fish, there's nothing wrong with fishing an egg or tossing a streamer around (not on beds/redds) to entice these hyper-aggressive brown trout. In fact, you can even keep two brown trout less than 14" inches - and we encourage you to do so. There's an over abundance of small brown trout on the river and you'd be helping the fishery by actually keeping a few for the "Frying Pan".
IN DEPTH REVIEW: The fish are more opportunistic along this stretch of river. This is insanely good water to fish dry/dropper fish. Small hoppers and caddis are making for good dries, while tungsten PTs, Princes and baetis patterns being great dropper patterns. Keep in mind, one MUST cover water down here to stay into fish (this isn't the upper river). In addition, the streamer bite has been better than decent also.
DRIES: Same as the middle and upper river
NYMPHS: Tungsten PT, Tungsten Prince, Tung Hoover Baetis 20, Freestone Emerger 20, Biot Baetis 20-22, RS2's in black and gray 20-22, Buckskins 16-18, TC Flashtail Hot Egg 14-18
STREAMERS: Same as above
HINTS: Overcast days are yielding the best conditions. If it's bright and sunny outside, take shade in the Canyon or along any other shaded area.
Link to the USGS Real Time Flow Chart for the Frying Pan River