Fryingpan River Report 9-23-17

Posted on 23 September 2017

September 23, 2017

FLOW: 286 cfs

WATER CLARITY: Clean, cold and perfect.

OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10 when cloudy or raining,6 out of 10 when it's bright.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drake dries and emergers, PMD dries, emergers and nymphs, BWO dries, emergers and nymphs, midges, mysis shrimp, cranefly larva (big and little) cranefly adults, green drake nymphs, small caddis.

THE LOW-DOWN : The upper Fryingpan has plenty of happy fish and insects these days.  The bridge detour in Glenwood Springs (which really isn't a big deal unless you're traveling during peak traffic periods) is certainly keeping the crowds light. The hot days of July and August are in the rear view mirror now, and we are enjoying cooler temperatures and plenty of cloud cover lately.  If you are lucky to get a warm and cloudy afternoon with a light rain shower, be prepared for one of the best dry fly days you've ever had.

Many of you know that you don't need a mile of water to enjoy excellent fishing on the Fryingpan.  For those who aren't well versed in "Fryingpan Tech," here are a few pointers that will improve your fishing day.

  • Fish your big drakes in the faster, rougher water, and PMDs and BWOs in the soft stuff.
  • You've got to move around.  Notice how most guides move to a new spot after they hook a few fish in a pool?
  • Head to the cloud cover if the mile you are fishing in is bright.  If it's a bluebird day, fish the shaded water.
  • Sight fishing is much more productive than "fishing the water."  If you're with a fishing friend, help each other find fish to cast at.
  • Downstream dry fly drifts are very important.  Fryingpan fish will not tolerate getting slapped on the head with your fly line and leader.
  • Think outside of the box- Cross the river and fish from the other side, do the work and walk to the many sections without ample parking areas, fish different water types if all of the pools are crowded, and don't be afraid to try your favorite fly or technique out there.

HATCHES: Green drakes, PMDs, BWOs, midges, craneflies and caddis


DRIES:  BDE Green Drake 10, AK's Old School Drake 12-14, Sparkledun Pink PMD 16-18, Melon Quill 16-18, CDC Comparadun BWO 20-22, Hackle Dun Baetis 20-22, Roy Palm’s Special Fryingpan Emerger 22, Colletts Para BWO 20-22, HOH CDC Thorax BWO 20-22, Befus Para Emerger 18-22, Pearl and Elk Caddis 18, Ethawing Caddis 18, Biot Wing Midge 20,22, HOH CDC Midge Adult 22-24, CDC Transitional Midge 22, Bill’s Midge Emerger 20-22

NYMPHS:  Split Case PMD 16-18, Juju PMD Nymph 16-18, 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:  Zuddler Conehead Olive 8, Lightning Bugger Black 4-8, Slumpbuster Natural 6-8

HINTS:  Choose the "worst" weather for your fishing day, especially if you are a dry fly nut.



FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: PMDs, Midges, BWO nymphs, emergers and adults, ants, hoppers, caddis,  cranefly larva and adults, sculpins, green drake and PMD nymphs, some golden stones here and there in the riffles and faster water. Green Drakes are heavier in the upper miles now.

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

THE LOW DOWN:  Golden stones are prolific in the more agitated water, and we are seeing plenty of PMDs, BWOs and caddis in the middle section.

If crowds bum you out, check out the middle and lower river. You'll be surprised how many beautiful spots are wide open as everyone hustles up to fish below the dam.  There are opportunities abound also for those willing to walk a ways from their vehicle- there are mile-long stretches of public to take advantage of if you are willing to walk. (Same with the upper river)

HATCHES: Pale Morning Duns (pink to yellow) 14-18, Midges 20-26, BWOs 18-22, Caddis 14-20, Craneflies (usually yellow) 14-18, Golden Stoneflies 8-10


DRIES: Sparkle Stacker PMD 16-18, Perfect PMD 16-18, Melon Quill 16-18, Ethawing Caddis 16-18, Pearl and Elk Caddis 16-18, Royal Stimulator 14-18, Sparkle Flag PMD 16-18, CDC Comparadun PMD 16-18, Befus Para Emerger BWO 18-20, CDC Wing BWO 18-22, Parachute Adams 16-20, Bill’s Midge Adult 20-22, Brooks Sprout Midge 18-20

NYMPHS: Slow Guy PMD Nymph 16-18, San Juan Worm 10, Spanflex Stone 8-10, Guide’s Choice Hares Ear 16-18, Tung Teaser 14-18, Flashwing Black (or gray) RS2 20-22, Electric Caddis 16-18, Zebra Midge Red 18-20, Black Beauty 20-22

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

HINTS: This section is often overlooked by those bee-lining it to the upper river, you just might find better hatches in the middle section! 



WATER CONDITIONS: Low and clear, it can get slightly discolored if there is significant rain in the Seven Castles area.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: PMDs, midges, caddis, Grass Hoppers, Ants, BWOs, golden stones, craneflies, sculpins, PMD nymphs

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10

THE SHORT AND SWEET: If you are looking for a section of the Fryingpan that isn't quite so technical, you will love the lower river closer to Basalt.  All hatches start on the lower river because of warmth and elevation, so be prepared to see better hatches closer to town this month than up below the dam.  Hatches near the dam are more consistent, but you have the chance to see anything from a size 8 golden stoneflies to size 30 midges, and absolutely everything in between.

As most of you already know, the lower river resembles a freestone compared to the classic mayfly water up above.  Don’t be afraid to fish hoppers, droppers, Czech nymphs  -whatever your confidence patterns and fishing styles might be, bring them to the table.

 HATCHES: Pale Morning Duns, Golden Stones, Midges, Caddis, BWOs, Craneflies


DRIES:  Sparkledun PMD 14-18, Split Flag PMD 16-18, Baby Boy Hopper 10-12, Yellow Humpy 14-18, Flag Adams 14-18, Elk Hair Caddis 14-18, Goddard Caddis 16-18, Chubby Chernobyl 10-12, Sparkledun BWO 18-20, Morgans Midge 18-22

NYMPHS:  San Juan Worm 10, Cat Poop Stone 8-10, Buckskin Caddis 14-18, Diamond Caddis 14-18, Ultra Bling RS2 Gray 18-20, Twenty Incher 14-16

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

HINTS:  Everything hatches first on the lower, due to elevation and warmth.  Caddis are strong on hot and bright days, and don’t forget this section is loaded with Golden Stones!

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