08-05-2003, 02:16 PM
The Frying Pan River is set in a deep red rock canyon flowing out of Ruedi Res. The river is famous for its football shaped trout that grow fat eating Mysis shrimp. The shrimp were introduced into the reservoir to feed the salmon. In a twist similar to the introduction of the cane toad in Australia, the shrimp live on the bottom of the lake and the salmon cannot reach them. The shrimp get pumped out of the bottom of the dam into the so-called toilet bowl and the fish get huge. Some friends and I fished the Pan for four days over this last weekend. I found that the Pan should also be famous for its crowds. On Monday, which should be one of the slower days of the week, I had 5 other fishermen within 50 feet of me. To get away from the crowds we started on Friday 6 miles down from the dam at mile marker 8. We found fish rising to PMD and they ate gray RS-2s eagerly. Up stream we cam upon a heavy spinner fall in the evening and had abundant dry fly action with rusty spinners until dark. The fish took soft hackles for drowned spinners well into the night. Saturday we searched for and found the Green drake hatch around Mile 10. While not many fish rose, the ones that did could be caught on a drake cripple pattern in a size 12. Nymphing continued to be good. A stream sample showed large numbers of blood midges and the fish ate them up. Sunday we found ample room at the Gaging Station pool about a mile below the dam. The fish were much bigger both in length and girth. The PMD hatch was heavy from about 1 till 4. PMD cripples with a distinct red abdomen took lots of fish. That evening we hit the Roaring Fork as a change of pace for a few hours. I played a huge rainbow for at least five minutes in the fast current. I had the fish at hand a couple of time but she saw me and would bolt each time. Finally the hook was thrown and the battle over. Monday I fished within sight of the dam. The fish were bigger still and most were taken on Midges. Size 26 RS-2 in the film, 24 black beauties on the drift, and blood midges worked in the morning. Toward afternoon the PMD stuff worked as well. Before heading home I fished the Bowl. I hooked 6 and landed 3 footballs. Two of the fish that got away were never seen. The other fish that got off almost stopped my heart it was so big. All in all it was a good trip in spite of the crowds. It was no worse that the San Juan, Henry’s fork or the Green at prime time and in many ways a lot better.