Driftless Trout Anglers

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Bucket List - Frying Pan, Basalt, CO Options
MikeJuran
#1 Posted : Wednesday, May 11, 2016 3:41:41 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 2/13/2012
Posts: 1,016
Location: Chaseburg, WI
Leaving Saturday for biz in Colorado....leaving day early so I can fish with a friend's son on the Frying Pan ... most of the other rivers are rising to blow-out conditions with run-off, but Frying Pan is tail water that is fishable most any time. Due to short nature of fishing time, hiring a guide out of Taylor Creek .... Hope to post pics when I get back.

This river has been on my bucket list for as long as I have been fishing ....

mj
Fly Me A River
huenneks
#2 Posted : Wednesday, May 11, 2016 4:32:57 PM
Rank: Midge


Joined: 8/27/2014
Posts: 5
Stop in at Taylor Creek in Basalt and pickup some Mysis. If you want to target some pigs, go up right below the damn's discharge (the "toilet bowl"). Tie on a mysis shrimp tandem rig, long leader w/5x and a lot of weight. You really need to get your flies down fast here. I've done best at first light.
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DanE
#3 Posted : Wednesday, May 11, 2016 5:02:30 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 9/18/2014
Posts: 1,231
Location: Prairie Du Sac, WI
huenneks wrote:
Stop in at Taylor Creek in Basalt and pickup some Mysis. If you want to target some pigs, go up right below the damn's discharge (the "toilet bowl"). Tie on a mysis shrimp tandem rig, long leader w/5x and a lot of weight. You really need to get your flies down fast here. I've done best at first light.


Nice fish! It's like a football with fins.
NE IA Drifter
#4 Posted : Thursday, May 12, 2016 1:17:28 AM
Rank: Caddis Fly


Joined: 7/10/2013
Posts: 149
Location: Decorah
I was there a few weeks ago. Such a beautiful little river. The toilet bowl will have you in awe. Giant trout everywhere! Below the flats is great too, when we were there we were on q beautiful run with Browns lighted up in the clear water by the sun sipping bwos after what seemed like forever my buddy finally caught one as 2 of his friends started competing for the fake meal. Be sure to let us know how it goes!
MikeJuran
#5 Posted : Thursday, May 12, 2016 5:58:17 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 2/13/2012
Posts: 1,016
Location: Chaseburg, WI
huenneks wrote:
Stop in at Taylor Creek in Basalt and pickup some Mysis. If you want to target some pigs, go up right below the damn's discharge (the "toilet bowl"). Tie on a mysis shrimp tandem rig, long leader w/5x and a lot of weight. You really need to get your flies down fast here. I've done best at first light.


thanks for the tip on mysis, saw that as one of their major food sources ... i get to denver at 10 am, so will try to get to Basalt asap and fish on my own for few hours that evening .... then let the guide take over on Sunday.

As Dan said, that fish is a huge football ....

Pics forthcoming unless we don't do well ... then its because I dropped my iphone in the water and lost all the pictures ...

mj
Fly Me A River
MikeJuran
#6 Posted : Monday, May 16, 2016 1:44:39 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 2/13/2012
Posts: 1,016
Location: Chaseburg, WI
huenneks wrote:
Stop in at Taylor Creek in Basalt and pickup some Mysis. If you want to target some pigs, go up right below the damn's discharge (the "toilet bowl"). Tie on a mysis shrimp tandem rig, long leader w/5x and a lot of weight. You really need to get your flies down fast here. I've done best at first light.


No time for full report, working in Loveland for next four days, but couldn't help but make time for two pics .... mysis were the trick! ... 5 lb bow and 4 lb brown were biggests of day, lots of fish, all day long .... trout fishing heaven. Fish been gorging on shrimp and are incredibly fat. Full report when I have time next week.



Fly Me A River
William Schlafer
#7 Posted : Monday, May 16, 2016 3:40:09 PM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 7/25/2011
Posts: 2,711
Location: Sussex Wisconsin
Amazing colors on that Rainbow! Nasty looking red chin.

Well done!


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
William Schlafer
#8 Posted : Tuesday, May 17, 2016 3:25:09 PM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 7/25/2011
Posts: 2,711
Location: Sussex Wisconsin
I've been doing a little electronic sightseeing of the Frying Pan River via Google Maps Street View. What a spectacular looking mountain stream!




It looked like nearly every pull-out or parking spot along the adjacent roadway had a least a couple of vehicles. Must be a popular river. I could even see a few fly fishermen working the stream in some of the images.

A bit off the subject, but I noticed that the Frying Pan is not far from Woody Creek, the (former) home of gonzo author Hunter S. Thompson. I always wanted to visit Woody Creek Tavern a favorite hangout of his.


HST once ran for County Sheriff as the "freak power" candidate. During the campaign, Thompson shaved his head in order to be able to refer to the incumbent Republican Carrol D. Whitmire, who had a crew cut, as "my long-haired opponent." What a character. RIP Hunter.


-Bill
“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
MikeJuran
#9 Posted : Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:18:30 PM
Rank: Dragon Fly


Joined: 2/13/2012
Posts: 1,016
Location: Chaseburg, WI
William Schlafer wrote:
I've been doing a little electronic sightseeing of the Frying Pan River via Google Maps Street View. What a spectacular looking mountain stream!

It looked like nearly every pull-out or parking spot along the adjacent roadway had a least a couple of vehicles. Must be a popular river. I could even see a few fly fishermen working the stream in some of the images.



-Bill

Bill, the place is frickin awesome .... sometimes you have expectations and most times they are never met cause the expecations are too high .... As others who posted that fished here, this place is a must to try ..... read on, i got done with that stupid work thing early and rather than update notes and prepare for tomorrow, decided that DTA posting is more important.

Frying Pan - Basalt CO May 2016

Spent a number of hours before the trip researching Basalt and the Frying Pan river there. It is a famous fishery, and I was worried about wall to wall fisherman. I have fished Deckers west of Co Springs with a guide and we lucked out on getting a good spot, but easily could have missed that slot and done alot more driving. There are several fly shops in the area with Frying Pan Anglers and Taylor Creek Fly Shop being the top two in town. By luck, I stayed at the Basalt Mountain Inn ($99 in in quaint basalt) and the fly shop, when I was out for a walk was across the street and next to a good bar/grill. I talked with a number of fly shops before coming here trying to find something to fish. It was difficult as the runoff is in full force everywhere on the Front Range and many of the streams like Roaring Fork (also accessible from Basalt), Eagle and several other 'gold medal streams' were all chocolate and raging. Frying Pan is tailwater fishery, so the only fluctation comes with draw downs on the resevoir to accommodate the run off. Low flow is 70 CPS, the week before my arrival was about 185, when we fished it was 245 and it can go as high as 700ish. I hired a guide from Taylor Creek (Chris Kish), 21 year veteran guide that fishes everything in the area.

Some people waste hours trying to fish new water. This experience with Chris replicated many other guide trips. We caught ALOT of fish, and others that were there were catching a fish here and there. We consistently hooked up and at times in the morning had double hookups where Chris was always trying to figure out who had the heaviest fish that he needed to attend to. Sunday morning, Seth (son of a friend of mine) and I caught 30 trout between us, all browns and a few rainbows out of a deep run donwstream of the 'Toilet Bowl' referred to previously. (discharge that dumps into deep plunge and short flat section before falling into short rapids and long flats).

Downstream from the flats is this long deep pool.



We fished rigs setup by the guide, three flys including two mysis imitations (hand tied by Chris out of yarn) and some sort of baetis imitation nymph, all three size 20 or smaller. I believe the reason we were catching so many more fish is that Chris had the lengths of tapered leader sections exactly dialed in to run at right depths. All the other guys where fishing mysis shrimp patterns as well, but we outfished them 10 to 1 because of Chris's setups.

This is chris helping Seth (Red rain gear) land a 3 pound brown. You can see the toilet bowl in the far background where the water releases from the resevoir above.



This was me losing the biggest brown of the day cause Chris (net) was across stream with Seth netting a 3 lb rainbow. I estimate this fish to be 5 lb brown .....



This was a hefty brown from that morning. None of our fish were less than 15" and all of them werre strong and fat. So the 30 trout of the morning were all heavy and a load to catch.



Chris provided lunch as part of the guide deal and we then went up and looked at all the people fishing the toilet bow. We saw tons of fish in the toilet bowl, but didn't see any of them catch a fish. Chris commented that if there was a spot open how easy pickin's it would be to pull a couple of the 8 pounders out....he said the guys fishing there just didn't know how to get the fly to those trout. He wandered us downstream to the rapids below the bowl, had us trek across below the rapids and wander up on the left side of the rapids. Chris pointed and said see that 6lb rainbow there? Neither Seth nor I saw what Chris said. Although it was rapids it was only 1-4 feet deep thru the rapids but they were blowing by. After detailed instructions on how to high stick a shrimp thru there in front of the trout he saw and an education on what would happen WHEN the trout would hit (not IF), Chris handed me the rod (after tuning lengths etc) and I missed the flip upstream a bit and went passed the trout he saw and immediately hooked up with a trout Chris also had seen. A mere 4 lbs. Seth and I had heartbeats racing and high fives flying after sticking that trout and landing it with Chris's verbal guidance of how to work the trout downstream out of the rapids. We pulled that trout and several other 'sited' fish. Here's one of them.



Chris moved us down stream and back across and up the right hand side of the rapids. He again found several fish, but was sure he had a 5lb sited. This one I could see myself only a mere 4 feet from us behind a rock waiting for a meal. Chris changed his instructions and was adamant about setting the hook and IMMEDIATELY letting go of the the reel and fly line and let the trout run and use the reel drag. This pig was 5lbs and a beast of a fight. Again with heavy guide instruction, I worked him downstream and let him run numerous times until were were able to get his head up and get him in the net. This fish (as Bill alluded to) had awesome colors. Even his underside was streaked in red/orange. Chris said the trout are genetically fucked up and he suspected various strains of rainbows/cuts were in the stream. He wasn't excited about that as he said the original strain is obviously gone.



The mysis are not natural either. They were stocked in the reservoir to feed salmon/trout, but that experiment failed cause in the lake, the shrimp were invisible to the salmon most of the time except certain light times. An the times the shrimp rose were not the times salmon were feeding. the benefit is, when the raise and lower the flow, shrimp by the millions get released downstream. hence the fat trout. Chris said browns 4 weeks ago where not that heavy, but with the increased flow changes sevral times, the fish have been gorging on shrimp.

If you fish here you need to learn the 'moss toss' as Chriss referred to it. The rocks are loaded with slimy green moss. The fish will not, per Chris, touch a shrimp fly if it has even one strand of the moss. So pulling your rig in all the way close to the strike indicator (he used ballons), you slap and drag your flies upstream in a manner thats like slapping the water as fast as you can to rid flies of the moss. And it works.

I have so many pics i will not bore you all with. but we had a wild thunderstorm blow thru, kicking everyone (except us) out of the canyon. We waited on shore for 10 minutes, the skies cleared and temps went from the upper 40s to 60s. We wandered back to the morning pool and we nailed fish after fish. This is the final fish Seth took about a 3-4 brown. The kid was ecstatic .... He told me this was a day he will never forget. At the bar later that day, I told him when he's older and in a different phase of life, do the same thing for a younger angler.




And unlike Deckers, there were other anglers, but we didn't struggle for a spot. Chris said that when then raise the flow alot of guys (wishing to dry fly fish) don't come out. Their loss. Chris also said to come back in September and do the dry fly action here. He said the drake action is unbelieveable and that the river is really known more for its dry fly action everywhere (not just below outlet). If you do go here and can afford it, hire the local experts. I crossed this off my bucket list (althought I might return), and it was a bucket list item that actually met my expectations (exceeded them actually). Over 50 fish on the day total ....

it is so hard to go to work knowing these monsters exist. Chris said the day before a german woman who had NEVER fly fished landed an 8 lb rainbow (cause girls listen better than men per Chris). He personally knows there have been several 20lb plus fish in this area in the first 1/4 below the dam.

sorry for the long post, but it was an experience to remember.

mj


Fly Me A River
trapper
#10 Posted : Wednesday, May 18, 2016 1:11:44 AM
Rank: Super Fly


Joined: 3/24/2010
Posts: 2,070
Location: West Fork
Great report, lets fish
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