The Fryingpan and Roaring Fork Rivers feature remarkably consistent winter activity and in some instances offer opportunities not present during the more traditional trout fishing seasons. Not only are the numbers of fish taken greater during the winter, the average size of these trout is also considerably larger than during the summer months, especially on the Frying Pan below Ruedi Dam. During the early 1980's a lake-dwelling shrimp was stocked by Colorado's division of Wildlife in order to provide a year round food source for Kokanee Salmon in Ruedi. While the planting of these small lacustrine crustaceans had little if any effect on the fish in the lake, a subsequent retrofitting of the dam's release mechanism has had tremendous influence on the trout population in the river below the reservoir.
The addition of power-generating turbines has allowed these Mysis shrimp to be released from the cold depths of the lake uninjured and in one piece. This phenomenon occurs year round, but especially when lake levels are low during the late fall and winter months. The shrimp, which can be as large as a size 12, are present in numbers that defy the imagination and provide a food source to the rainbows, browns, cutthroats and brookies below the reservoir that allows for growth to sizes usually not associated with trout streams in this country. Trout in excess of 10 pounds are taken regularly and one rainbow a few winters ago actually weighed slightly more than 23 pounds!
Uncrowded conditions and low flows provide the opportunity to actually sight fish to what may well be the largest trout most anglers will see in a lifetime. Daily midge hatches also occur on both rivers in our valley in addition to on the Colorado below Glenwood Springs. Slower runs and pools can produce consistent dry fly fishing on overcast days on all area streams. Many local anglers prefer the winter fishing in this temperate part of the Rockies to any other time of the year. Join a guide from Taylor Creek to find out why.