Fryingpan River Report 4-24-18

Posted on 24 April 2018

April 24, 2018

UPPER FRYINGPAN (Mile Marker 8 to Ruedi Reservoir)

FLOW: 63 cfs

WATER CLARITY: Clean, clear and ever-cold.

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWOs, midges, winter stones, mysis shrimp

THE LOW-DOWN : The word is that flows will remain around 150 CFS all summer long in order to bank water in Ruedi Reservoir considering snowpack conditions. That should make for some primo dry fly hatches but hopefully won't affect the health of the river.  Supposedly there will not be a spring/summer flush like we usually see where they crank it up well past 500 CFS for a few days.  The days of increased flows on the Fryingpan to protect endangered species on the lower Colorado are suspended, for now, unless conditions change over the coming weeks.

It's getting buggy on the upper Pan!  Hatches can be strong in bright sunlight now, and waves of midges from a plump size -18 down to -26 are being seen for two or three hours now, midday.  You might see a blue winged olive or two, but they are always late on the Pan versus the other waters here in the Valley.

We see plenty of little winter stones right now, but the fish don't seem to key in on them.  A few more weeks, and BWOs should be going strong.

Fishing this area requires stealth and utilizing slim and small flies versus all of those beaded, flashy and way-too-fat ones we all have in our boxes for freestones.  Peek at a guides nymph rig, regardless of season, and you will invariably see small pheasant tails, RS2s and the like, tied skinny and fished on fine, flourocarbon tippets.  Be sure to have a few mysis in your box, they can come through thick with no warning any day of the year, and are a constant food source.

When it comes to dry fly hatches, this is when our presentation fishery also becomes a match-the-hatch fishery.  Pay attention to the naturals, and you will notice waves of different bugs and in turn the fish switching to what they see the most of.  Maddening.

HATCHES: BWOs, midges, winter stones and mysis shrimp 


DRIES:  CDC  Comparadun BWO 20-22, Sparkledun BWO 20-22, 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:  Slumbuster 6-8, The One Sculpin 4-6, Tim's Autumn Splendor 4-6

HINTS:  Right now the hatches are stronger in Folkstead Spring and Old Faithful than right under the dam!

MIDDLE RIVER FRYINGPAN (Mile Markers 4 to 8)


FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWO nymphs and adults, caddis, midges, winter stones, golden stonefly nymphs, cranefly larva, PMD nymphs, green drake nymphs, sculpins

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

THE LOW DOWN: The middle river has been fishing pretty well.  Seven Castles Creek at Mile 4 has been pumping a little spring mud lately, but this is sporadic this time of year.  If you've never fished Big Hat near Mile 6, this little stretch of public has nice, riffly dry fly water in addition to a few deeper pools.

The public water around Mile 8 fishes well, and is now getting sunlight daily which has helped wake the bugs and fish up.  BWOs are thicker here than up at the dam, and we've seen a few early caddis drunkenly flying about on bright sunny days.  Unlike the upper river, you can fish some stonefly and green drake nymphs here with success, and be sure to throw a streamer when you come across the right water types.

HATCHES: BWOs 18-20, Midges 20-26, Caddis 14-20


DRIES: Parachute Adams 20-24, Perfect Baetis 20-22, Ethawing Caddis 14-16, Lawsons EZ Caddis 14-16, Skittering Zelon Midge 20-22, Bill’s Midge Adult 20-22, Brooks Sprout Midge 18-20

NYMPHS: Flashwing Black (or gray) RS2 20-22, Cat Poop Stone 10, Red or Lime Copper John 16-18, 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: Fish a whole mile of river, you'll fish many different water types and get shots at a lot of fish!

LOWER  FRYINGPAN (Basalt to Mile Marker 4)

WATER CONDITIONS: Clean and beautiful unless Seven Castles Creek is adding color at Mile 4.  

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: BWO nymphs and adults, caddis, golden stonefly nymphs, green drake nymphs, PMD nymphs, cranefly larva, sculpins, midges, hoppers, ants

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10

THE LOWDOWN: As we've preached for a long time, the lower river sees the earliest hatches.  The strongest BWO hatch on the Fryingpan is in Basalt, not under the dam.  Caddis are being seen in decent numbers, and the river is loaded with morsels like golden stonefly nymhs, huge free-crawling caddis larva and mayfly nymphs too.

We are already fishing hopper-dropper on the lower river with plenty of success, which is a bit more fun than drifting micro midges up top with all of the other anglers.

HATCHES: BWOs, caddis, midges


DRIES:  Flag Adams 18, Morgans Midge 18-22, Perfect Baetis 20-22, Collett's BWO 20-22, Pearl and Elk Caddis 14-18, Goddard Caddis 14-16, Hatching Midge 20-22, Sprout Midge 22-24, Craven's Charlie Boy Hopper 6-10, Chubby Chernobyl 8-12

NYMPHS:  Spanflex Stone 4-8, San Juan Worm 10, Twenty Incher 14-16, Red or Lime Copper John 14-18, Jerome Baetis 20-22, 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: A day on the lower river could change your whole attitude about the Fryingpan.  It feels like a freestone versus a tailwater, and the hatches are more diverse!

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