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Fryingpan River Report
September 14, 2014
WATER CLARITY: Clear with ideal flows.
OVERALL RATING: 9 out of 10 September is a longstanding favorite month of ours. It's all about summer fishing and hatches with fall crowds (or lack thereof).
THE SHORT AND SWEET: Hatches are consisting of green drakes, PMDs, BWOs, caddis and midges.
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Green Drakes, PMDs, BWOs, Midges, Caddis, Mysis Shrimp
IN DEPTH REVIEW: The hatch we all look forward to is officially on our doorstep here in the Roaring Fork Valley.... Green Drakes! We are seeing the strongest hatches mid-day, especially on cloudy or rainy days, from mile marker 10 on up to the dam. It pays to be a junior entomologist these days on the Fryingpan due to the compound hatchesOn the flip side of the coin, we always say that a good drift beats the right fly nine times out of ten on the Fryingpan.
The trout on the Fryingpan see their share of flies in the course of their day, especially on the upper. The flipside of this conundrum is that they keep on eating, and usually right at your feet while you provide an eddy for them to hang out in. One of the best pieces of advice (among many) we can offer is to not get "cement shoes" on this river. Simply put, you need to pound a lot of water over the course of your day to remain succesful. Most of us rarely spend more than 15 minutes on a piece of water, and if the fish aren't happy (or the bugs aren't hatching) we are moving on. Regardless, if you see hundreds of trout in the pool you're plying, if they're not happy, keep moving.
The days on the Fryingpan are typically starting (and ending) with very decent midge hatches. You need midge dry fly patterns that are dark as well as light in color, in sizes 22 and 24. As the summer progresses, our fish become less interested in chasing down lilliputian insects and focus primarily on the larger mayflies, but for now midges are still the preferred appetizers and after-dinner mints. Midday is mayfly time, and we are seeing drakes, PMDs and BWOs, usually smack-dab in the middle of the day. Drakes are best fished in sizes 10 and 12, and be sure to flip and flop that big bug to reassure the trout. The baetis are small and dark bodied, and our PMDs vary from pink to yellow hues (16's and 18's) for adults and rust bodies for the nymphs. Dry-dropper rigs are best fished during the front-end of the hatches.
The tech for dry fly fishing the Fryingpan (and this will pay off on your home waters too) is to incorporate a downstream presentation to the fish.Our trout simply despise fly lines slapping the water anywhere near them, and when they see the fly first (instead of fly line, then leader, then tippet, then ultimately the fly) a strike usually follows. As always, fine flourocarbon tippets are simply a must, so be sure to carry the 6 and 7x year-round.
On the nymphing side of things, small, skinny and dark BWO nymphs always fish well, and you can incorporate those rusty PMD nymphs, drake nymphs, mysis shrimp and various midges as well. Nymph rigs should be shallow and light.
The moral of the story is this- Cover a ton of water. We have all had one of those lucky days when we've never needed to move, but those days are few and far between. You and a friend can be fishing 100 yards apart, with you seeing a whole lot of nothing while your friend is in a blanketing hatch. Moving around pays for ducking out of the wind too, and the blueprint for success is to ply those flies in as many areas as possible.
DRIES: BDE Green Drake 10-12, Stott's KGB Drake 12, H and L Variant 10-12, Umpqua Green Drake 10-12, Flag Dun PMD 16-18, Melon Quill 16-18, Foam Emerger BWO 20-22, Perfect Baetis 20-22, CDC Comparadun BWO 20-22, TC Sparkledun BWO 20-22, TC Bill's Midge Emerger, Skittering Zelon Midges, Morgan's Para. Midge, CDC Spent Midge, and Griffiths Gnats
NYMPHS: 20 Incher 10-12, Poxyback Drake Nymph 10-12, Gilled Drake Nymph 10-12, TC Black Poxyback Baetis, Chocolate Thunder, Jujubaetis, PTs, BTS Baetis, Stott's Mellow Yellow PMD Nymph 16-18, Juju PMD 16-18, Split Case PMD 16-18, TC Red Midge Larva, Disco Midge, TC Stott's Night Rider Midge, RS2s, Flashdance Midges, Biot Midge, Rojo's, Black Beauty Emerger, TC Tim's Mysis, TC Sands' Epoxy Mysis
STREAMERS: TC Autumn Splendors, TC Stingin' Sculpins, Slumpies
HINTS: Pay attention and read the rise form to catch numbers of fish near or on the surface.
MIDDLE RIVER FRYINGPAN
WATER CONDITIONS: Clear
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Serratellas 18-20, Green Drakes 10-12, PMDs 16-18, Midges 20-24, BWOs 20-22, Caddis 16-18 and size 8-10 October Caddis
OVERALL RATING: 8 out of 10
THE SHORT AND SWEET: The middle section of the Fryingpan generally sees far, far less pressure than the upper miles, and this can play to your advantage. The middle river also offers plenty of places to duck out of the ever-present wind.
IN DEPTH REVIEW: Some people (ok most people) skip this section of river in their quest to go hog-hunting in the upper mile, but big fish and often better hatches are found in the middle section, too. Some of the top spots to hit are Seven Castles, Big Hat, Forest Service #1 and the ever-popular Eagle Pool. Stop by the shop with your map and we will show you all of these spots plus a few more. This section holds the infamous Seratella, a flightless tiny mayfly that has been baffling anglers here in the valley for years. These bugs, only found on the Fryingpan, are still a month away or more, but keep your eyes peeled. This week we are seeing Green Drakes, BWOs and PMDs in decent numbers, with a few caddis, stones and even a few craneflies too. Hatches are typically similar to the upper river, meaning midges early and late with mayflies and sporadic caddis hatching mid-day. Caddis need to be fished here like everywhere else, skated, bumped, picked up and laid back down to reassure the fish and get them interested in your offering.
DRIES: TC Serratella 20, Foam Emerger BWO (Serratella) 20, Yellow Stimi 16, Yellow Humpy 16-18, X2 Caddis 16-18, Orange Stimi 8-12
NYMPHS: Z-Wing Caddis 16-18, Electric Caddis 16-18
STREAMERS: Same as upper river
HINTS: If you want to fish through the toughest hatch on the planet, we invite you to fish our serratella hatch! Stop by and ask us about this incredible hatch.
WATER CONDITIONS: Back in action and fishing well with perfect water quality, assuming it's not raining.
FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: PMDs 16-18, Baetis 20-24, Caddis 16-18, Midges 20-24, Serratellas 18-20
OVERALL RATING: 7out of 10.
THE SHORT AND SWEET: Are you the angler that doesn't want to see anyone (or at least just a few others) all day? This is your section. Hatches get rolling down on the lower river before the upper due to warmer temperatures, and we are already seeing good numbers of caddis, PMDs and baetis.
IN DEPTH REVIEW: The fish in the upper miles do trend towards being larger, but they also tend to be much, much more selective. The fish closer to town face far less angler pressure and tend to be opportunistic feeders, meaning you can get away with larger tippet and larger flies, in general. The baetis and PMD hatch has been rock-solid with increasing numbers of caddis.
As mentioned above, the lower Fryingpan will always offer up the first hatches of the year because of its lower elevation and warmer temperatures.
The lower river isn't as "easy" as the upper when it comes to access, so be prepared to billy-goat around here and there on steep hills, big boulders, and so on. (This is another reason for light angling pressure) A wading staff can save your day and keep you from going ass-over-tea kettle getting down to the water. The lower river has it all; riffles, deep pools, long runs and plenty of plunge pools and pocket water. Dry-dropper rigs are ideal when conditions are favorable, as well as various Czech nymphing and Tenkara setups.
Don't be fooled by thinking all of these fish are on the small side, as there are plenty of fish over five pounds to be found down low. You just might catch your biggest Fryingpan fish ever in this water, and they usually catch you with your pants down and daydreaming when they smash your fly. Be ready for anything and everything.
DRIES: TC Sparkledun Baetis 20-22, Perfect Baetis 20-22, Collett's Parachute BWO 18-22, Ripcord Caddis 16-18, Renegade 16-18, EC Caddis 16-18, PMD Sparkledun, PMD No Hackle, CDC PMD Sparkledun
NYMPHS: Cat Poop Stone 8-10, Spanflex Stone 6-8, Twenty Incher 10-12, Beaded Tungsten Prince Nymph 18, Tungsten Ready Baetis 20-22, RS2 20-22, Sands' STD Dark 20-22, Barr's Graphic Caddis 16-18, Barr's Cased Caddis 16-18, Guide's Choice Hare's Ear 16-18
STREAMERS: Sands' Stingin' Sculpin 6-8, Slumpbuster 6-8, Sculpzilla 6-8, Crystal Wooly Bugger 8-10
HINTS: Cover a lot of water, some spots will be barren and others loaded up with willing fish.
Link to the USGS Real Time Flow Chart for the Frying Pan River