Fryingpan River Report 12-23-17

Posted on 23 December 2017

December 23, 2017


FLOW: 88 cfs

WATER CLARITY: Low and clear

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, mysis shrimp


Yes, the rumors are true, fishing in the Toilet Bowl is now officially prohibited (and technically always has been).  Eagle County Sheriffs are actively contacting all anglers they encounter in the Toilet Bowl and informing them (and local fly shops) that fishing is not permitted within 100 feet of the dam structure.  The entirety of the public accesses outside of the Toilet Bowl on the Fryingpan are open to fishing.  Some anglers aren't too happy about this, but the majority feel this is terrific for the fishery.  The reason for the sudden enforcement is for safety, first and foremost.  Don't risk a ticket and stay tuned for a vastly improved fishery in the years to come.

Winter conditions are finally here in the Roaring Fork Valley, and the Fryingpan River has perfect flows. The cooling trend has shortened up the hatch periods, but we are still seeing plenty of bugs aloft and on the water in the afternoons.  We are mostly throwing nymphs in the mornings and focusing on the dry fly activity into the afternoons.

The upper river is loaded with tiny mayfly nymphs, mysis shrimp and midge larva, so bring along your mysis, pheasant tails and RS2s to play around with until the hatch gets rolling!  Mysis shrimp are always a food factor in the upper reaches, and if you see risers in the morning, they're probably focused on small dark and light midge adults.

Please be aware of spawning trout, and avoid stepping and casting onto redds. From now until the end of Spring, fish will be attempting to spawn. Please give the browns and rainbows a wide berth.

HATCHES: Midges and mysis shrimp at the very top.


DRIES:  Roy Palm’s Special Fryingpan Emerger 22, Befus Para Emerger 18-22, Biot Wing Midge 20,22, HOH CDC Midge Adult 22-24, CDC Transitional Midge 22, Bill’s Midge Emerger 20-22

NYMPHS:  Chocolate Thunder 20-22, Split Case BWO 20-22, Epoxyback Baetis 20-22, Tungsten Hoover Baetis 20-22, Bat Wing Emerger BWO 20, Bling Midge 20-22, Flashdance Midge 20-22, TC Candy Cane Midge 22, Tim's Mysis 16-18, Will's Epoxy Mysis 16-20

STREAMERS:  Sands' Stingin Sculpin 8, Articulated Goldie 4, SlumpBuster Natural 8

HINTS:  The weather is not a big factor on the upper Fryingpan, as the water temperature is the same every day of the year!


WATER CONDITIONS: A little icy on the edges in stretches that don't receive sunlight.


OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

THE LOW DOWN: Stronger hatches seem to be happening up high on the Pan, but that is not a universal truth. 

Don't overlook the improving streamer fishing, especially in the afternoons.  Small and natural flies work best, and play around with your retrieve until the fish start to react positively.

HATCHES: Midges 20-26


DRIES: Parachute Adams 20-24, Skittering Zelon Midge 20-22, Bill’s Midge Adult 20-22, Brooks Sprout Midge 18-20

NYMPHS: Flashwing Black (or gray) RS2 20-22, Zebra Midge Red 18-20, Black Beauty 20-22, Top Secret Midge 20-22

STREAMERS:  Skully Bugger Rust/White 4, Bonefish Deep Minnow 6-8, Bread n Butter Bugger 6-8

HINTS: Move around and cover a lot of water.  There are plenty of wide-open miles in the middle Fryingpan that don't get a ton of pressure because of the walking distances involved.


WATER CONDITIONS: Clean and beautiful, a few icy spots in the shady zones.


OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10

THE LOWDOWN: As we always say, it's warmer closer to town, so it can sometimes be a bit "buggier."  Be sure to cover a lot of water.



DRIES:  Flag Adams 18, Morgans Midge 18-22, Perfect Baetis 20-22, Collett's BWO 20-22

NYMPHS:  RIP Midge 20-22, Medallion Midge 20-22, Ultra Bling RS2 Gray 18-20, Desert Storm Midge 20-22

STREAMERS:  Slumpbuster Black 6-8, Wooly Bugger Olive 4-8, Autumn Splendor 4-8

HINTS: As most anglers seem to prefer the elbow to elbow fishing up under the dam, enjoy a little solitude down low!

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