This last week it turned bitterly cold. We had temperatures consistently below freezing. At night the temperatures dropped to -15 and -20 degrees. As a consequence the Frying Pan had substantial freezing for the first time this year. However the high water flow kept the middle of the river relatively free of anchor ice. When the sun came up there was a lot of ice floating down stream indicating it had not adhered to the bottom.
Towards the end of the week the coldest temperatures had passed but it remains cold. At present the gauge in the Fork near Basalt is iced up and we can't get a reading on the flow. That did not happen last year! A few intrepid souls have been out fishing and have reported reasonable results but it is cold! The next few days should be a little warmer than last week however by the end of the week it may get a little colder again. However hopefully it won't reach the low temperatures we have seen. The days are getting shorter and the Pan looks dark at it narrow sections.
On a sad note we announce the passing of Pat Richards during the week. Pat had been with us 16 months and will be sorely missed. He loved his fly fishing and had spent many years saltwater fishing along the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. He took every opportunity to get on the Frying Pan having lived mid river off and onover the last 15 years. Those of you who came into the shop would have recalled his helpful and knowledgeable disposition. Nothing was too much for him in assisting customers. May he rest in Peace.
Current Flow: below the Dam 93cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
The fish are in full winter mode, but the higher water is excellent and despite the freezing temperatures has kept the middle of the river freer of anchor ice than has occurred in the past when winter water flow was lower. It is now midges, midges and maybe a few eggs.
Recommended Flies: The water is very clear and is now at its proposed winter flow so make sure you are using light tippet – 7x. There is midge activity when the sun warms things a little although there has not been much activity in the snowy conditions. As the sun gets lower, in the narrow Frying Pan Valley your principal goal will be to find where the sun gets on to the water. Spot the fish feeding as they will not move far laterally to take midges. Try midge larva and pupa before the hatch starts. When the fish begin to feed under the surface, try small emergers; olive biot emergers, size #18 - #22 and black special emergers #18 - #22. Small copper johns are working well. On the surface, use midge dries with emergers in the film as a dropper. The fish are still on the redds although the spawning season has passed its peak already, so egg patterns will work well.
The river is very clear and the water level is fluctuating a little but is in the mid 300s. It is running at about 100cfs higher than the same time last year indicating how much more moisture is about. However at the moment it has been so cold that the gauge is frozen at Basalt.
Recommended Flies: Use the same flies as the Pan (See our report for the Frying Pan). Generally try midge patterns - larva, pupa and emergers. For variety try very small baetis nymph patterns. Copper johns always work well now, the smaller the better. Black and olive beadhead streamers are also working. Also egg patterns. But keep clear of the redds.
The water color remains good as the falling level is aided by the colder weather. The fishing is good. Try midges, BWO's streamers and 20 inchers. Also try any nymphs #20 and smaller contemplating both midges and BWO's.
Recommended Flies: midges, both dries and emergers; pheasant tails #16, 18; BWO's #18,20; small copper johns; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; bead head prince nymph red #12 - 16; egg patterns #10 - #18; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller.