Note: This report is a part of the FlyCast Lite reporting program and is updated seasonally or in the event of substantial changes that alter fly fishing tactics. FlyCast Lite reports are intended to give anglers a high level overview on seasonal conditions and general fishing tactics.
The Frying Pan, below Ruedi Reservoir, is in good shape and is fishing well. Flows have been fairly stable, water clarity is good and the water is cold. Trout here are fairly selective, especially when clarity is high and during periods of extended sun exposure. As such, sight fishing, yarn indicators, light tippet and proper presentation are imperative to success. Trout are predominantly holding in the deep and slow pools and runs, but have been prone to spread out and rise to the surface upon hatch activity. As far as hatches go, midges are making a regular appearance and are present sporadically throughout the day. Otherwise, the BWO hatch has been fairly consistent and strong, particularly in the late morning and afternoon. While dry fly fishing can be technical here, with a little persistence and patience you should see decent results. Otherwise, nymphing with comparatively bigger lead flies in the searcher/attractor variety followed by one or more midge or baetis will do most of the heavy lifting. When nymphing, depth will be crucial. By and large, you’ll want to ensure plenty of weight so as to reach those bottom dwellers hugging the riverbed. However, don’t hesitate to fish the mid to upper columns, especially as the hatch materializes. Lastly, smaller streamers and hopper droppers are both viable options as well. A streamer can be effective shortly after a little rain and when water clarity is slightly impaired.
The Fryingpan, often referred to as the “Pan”, originates east of Aspen in the Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness and flows northwest to Ruedi Reservoir. Below Reudi, which was dammed in the late 60’s, the river flows west another 14 miles before converging with the Roaring Fork in Basalt. This tailwater section was given Gold Medal status and is arguably the most heavily fished as it holds some of the state’s biggest trout. For the sake of this FlyCast report, the tailwater section below Ruedi will be the focus of this report. Here you’ll find a plethora of beefy browns and rainbows as well as some cutthroats and brookies.
This incredible tailwater offers year round fishing and is particularly productive during the summer and fall as it experiences a variety of prolific hatches and amazing dry fly fishing. The green drake hatch, which occurs in the late summer/early fall, is highly sought after, but does attract a fair amount of anglers. As such, be prepared for crowded water. Otherwise, you’ll find midges year round as well as Caddis and BWOs in the summer and fall. Unlike many tailwaters in Colorado, Reudi Reservoir releases a plethora of mysis shrimp into the Frying Pan. As a result, mysis shrimp are a major part of the trout’s diet. While it is friendly to anglers of all skill sets, tailwaters in general can be fickle, requiring you to be at the top of your game. Trout here see countless imitation flies on a daily basis and will look the other way if your presentation and flies aren’t just right. Traditional nymphing produces the most consistent results. However, unlike many tailwaters in Colorado, Ruedi releases a plethora of mysis shrimp from the dam.
In general, when fishing a tailwater like the Frying Pan, the closer to the dam you get the better as food sources are more abundant and so are the trout. That being said, this is no secret and you’ll find yourself among a number of other anglers dead set on landing their personal best trout. If the water directly below the dam is too crowded, don’t be afraid to explore further southeast toward Thomasville and Norrie or further toward Basalt.