Colorado Fly fishing doesn't get any better or more beutiful than when you roll in to Basalt Colorado and hit the FryingPan!
Basalt is famous for two rivers, two for the price of one: THE FRYINGPAN AND THE ROARING FORK RIVER.
Basalt Colorado is home of about 3.000 lucky residents, some great restaurants, a couple of hotels, and some really hungry trout.
On a sunny Sunday in August, I visited my favorite Colorado fly fishing nirvana - the FryingPan River. The Frying Pan holds a special place in my heart as the river that cinched my love affair with fly fishing. The water is very clear and teaming with food. You don’t have to wade out very deep to get to the big ones and the surrounding scenery is breath-taking.
A few years ago now I was led to a primo spot just below the dam and instructed to cast to the bank. I could actually see the fish lined up on that bank and had my eye on a rainbow with a nice red flare. I was just mastering my dry cast and still struggling with my drift when I saw that fish see my bug. He was a minimum of 18 inches and thick – and I clearly saw him turn to take a look at my fly. The excited pulse that must have streamed through my line apparently generated just enough vibration to excite his pavlovian instinct and he struck – hard!
Someone yelled, “Rod tip up!” and the battle was on. I’ll never forget the game of give and take – how it felt to have such raw power sequestered at the end of my line. When I actually wrangled that fish into the net I had giddy tears leaking down my flushed face. Fish on! And my passion has only grown since. That is the experience I wish for every angler on the planet. To ‘do that dance’ on a God soaked river and come up with the prize – that’s just good living.
Colorado Fly fishing in Rocky Mountain rivers started this day up by the dam. The closer you get to the dam, the bigger the fish can be and I learned so much watching the guide,
We quickly caught half a dozen fat 'stockers' on Drakes and then stopped to eat our sandwiches – I don’t like fishing hungry. Gifford the guide eyed the water from our tail-gate perch on the side road high above the river. He spotted a nice sized rainbow between some rocks and couldn’t resist casting to it without leaving the comfort of his road-side rest-stop.
This would pose a challenge to most anglers as the road rose above the river by about 20 paces and was further separated by a hedge of leafy undergrowth higher than your head. This obstacle required Gifford to strip out several yards of line and get an enormous double-haul cast going overhead before launching over the trees and hitting the sweet spot between the rocks. This was such a magnificent maneuver to witness - and he did catch the fish!
read the water. At the beginning of the day I had a hard time spotting the fish he pointed to. By the end of the day - I was pointing fish out to him! We simply stood in one place and gazed in to the relatively clear waters of the Frying pan. The fish were stacked up and there was so much food in the water! Three or four different hatches going on at once and you could watch the drakes emerge and the fat fish eating their fill.
When we moved back to the water, Gifford spotted, “the pig”. This rainbow had to have been about 24 inches long and 5 pounds. It would lie stealthily between some rocks and every 30 seconds or so it would move up and to the left to suck in a nymph. When it moved it looked like it could barely support its own weight and it’s “jewelry” would shine in the sun; red gills and white stripes on the tail and nose.
Gif tied on a drake and a dropper with several weights and a small indicator. The technique was to roll cast above your target, let the bugs sink nearly to the bottom, then hold it exactly at that height while you tend it down stream and in sight of the fish. We both took turns making this hog move towards our offering but he never attacked.
However, using this technique I netted this beauty!