Fryingpan River

Tip of the week 

Fryingpan River Report

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June 20, 2016


FLOW: 115 cfs - Low and clear for the forseeable future

WATER CLARITY: Clear with low water levels currently. They're filling up Ruedi Reservoir, so the outflow is much less than the inflow from the upper Fryingpan at the inlet.

OVERALL RATING: Currently 7 out of 10

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Look for the midge hatch to begin around 10:30/11am. Just as the midge hatch begins to fade around 1/2pm, the pale morning duns and blue wing olives will begin to hatch and come on. Lately, the baetis (BWO) and pale morning dun (PMD) hatch has been about an hour or two in duration. Despite it being a fairly short lived hatch, the midges make a reappearance just as the mayflies fizzle out. Successful nymph patterns have included any small and dark baetis nymphs as a lead/point fly (PTs, BTS Baetis, Chocolate Thunder etc) with various midge larva or emergers (RS2s, Biot Midges, Blings etc) as dropper flies.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Mysis, PMDs, Baetis, Midges, Caddis, Green Drake Nymphs, Sculpins

IN DEPTH REVIEW: As stated above, PMDs are starting to arrive on the scene! You'll find a good mix of small BWOs (baetis), caddis and midges also. Flows have dropped significantly, making the Fryingpan one of the lowest and clearest rivers in the state. There's not much concern of the water getting too warm, thanks to the constant 40 degree temperature water flowing from Ruedi. The drop in flows have spurred the first waves of PMDs.

With the low and clear conditions, treat this section of river like you would during winter months. This means long dry fly leaders, fine flourocarbon leaders, and downstream dry fly presentations. When you are getting refusals, downsize, downsize, downsize. This doesn't mean you can't fish a larger fly, but when in doubt, downsize your tippet and fly.

It always pays to stick and move on the Pan, don't get those cement shoes if you want to catch a bunch of fish. The Fryingpan can be buggy in one section and quiet in the next, so move around when you need to. This is especially the case if your fishing is slow. Hop in the car, walk around the next bend, keep moving.


DRIES: TC Fryingpan Emerger 20-22, TC Para Quill BWO 20-22, No Hackle BWO 20-22, AK's Melon Quill 16-18, Perfect PMD 16-18, CDC Transitional Midge 20-22, Bills Midge Emerger 20-22, Bills Midge Adult 22-24. HOH CDC Spent Midge 22, HOH CDC Midge Adult 24

NYMPHS: BTS Baetis 20-22, PTs 20-24, Tung Hoover Baetis 20-22, Chocolate Thunder 20-22, RS2's 20-22, Juju PMD 16-18, PMD Halfback 16-18, Biot Midge Emerger 20-22, Bling Midge 20-22, TC Red Midge Larva 22, TC Epoxy Mysis 18

STREAMERS: Slumpies, Clousers, Sliders, TC Autumn Splendors, Sculpzilla

HINTS: Stay out of the river altogether when possible to increase your stealth factor.



FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: PMDs, Midges, Baetis, Caddis, a few Golden Stones

OVERALL RATING: 6 out of 10

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Same conditions as stated above. Nymph fishers can often times get away with 5X and 6X tippets down here. Dry fly anglers should still be using the requisite 6X and 7X. Lighter pressure compared to the upper river.

IN DEPTH REVIEW: Same as above. Don't get sucked into the line of thinking that all the big fish (or fish) live right below the dam. For most of us, this is the sweet-spot along the river; great fishing and hatches coupled with less pressure. Like the upper river, hatches are consisting of mostly midges, small caddis, scattered PMDs and BWOs, all of which are hatching midday into the early evening hours. Look for the best fishing to take place beyond 11am, as this water is a bit colder than immediately below the dam out of the gates during early mornings. The nymph fishing has consisted of PTs, RS2s and variations thereof in sizes 18-24. Big Hat, Eagle Pool and Rosie's are all great options in terms of access. It's summertime conditions now, so don't forget those drake nymphs either.


DRIES: Same as the upper river

NYMPHS: Same as the upper river - add in: Cat Poops 8-10, 20 Inchers 14-16, Electric Caddis Olive 16, Prince 18-20, Red Copper John 16-18

STREAMERS: Same as upper river

HINTS: Carrying a dry fly drying towel and use Frog's Fanny floatant for the best success when dry fly fishing.


WATER CONDITIONS: Same as above, low and clear.

FOOD SOURCES PRESENT: Midges, PMDs, Baetis, Stoneflies, Caddis, Drake Nymphs

OVERALL RATING: 7 out of 10 in general with the dry fly fishing in select areas peaking around a solid 8 out of 10.

THE SHORT AND SWEET: Welcome to summertime in the Rockies! Gone are spring fishing conditions as midges, caddis, a few PMDs and baetis are hatching daily now. If solitude outweighs high fish counts for you - this is your spot!

IN DEPTH REVIEW: Same bugs and hatch times as the middle and upper river. In fact, some of the best dry fly fishing on the entire river is being seen in this stretch (Town, Red Cliff, Seven Castles) right now. If you're like us and enjoy fishing tiny dries on flat water slicks to notoriously "picky" fish, you'll be right at home here. Don't be surprised if you see a few risers pushing the 20" inch plus mark!


DRIES: Same as above - with a few more caddis and winter stones being seen. Bare in mind that the fish are still figuring out that the caddis and stonefly adults are food sources; it's still much more midge and beatis oriented.

NYMPHS: Same as above - add in: Cat Turds 8-10, 20 Inchers 14-16, Electric Caddis 16, Buckskins 16-18, Z-Wing Caddis 16-18, Copper John 16-20, Prince 16-20

STREAMERS: Slumpies, Spendors, Clousers, Sculpzillas

HINTS: Fish down here!!! The results will more than likely surprise you.... A LOT! Let the masses fish the day use area below the dam.

Link to the USGS Real Time Flow Chart for the Frying Pan River

Seven-day forecast 

Overcast will yield better hatches and numbers of rising fish. Flows are expected to remain at this flow through the winter.

Must Have Flies 
Adams 16-22 Buy from
Sparkle Dun 20-22 Buy from
RS2 20-22 Buy from
Sparkle Dun Pink 16-18 Buy from
Rojo Midge 20-22 Buy from
Griffith's Gnat 20-22 Buy from
Taylor Creek-Basalt

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