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The Frying Pan

The Frying Pan is a tailwater tributary to the Roaring Fork River. It’s origins start above Ruedi Reservoir as three tributaries – The North Fork, South Fork and Lime Creek but it’s primarily fished below the reservoir.

For better or for worse, the Frying Pan is known for it’s marquee stretch, “The Toilet Bowl” below Ruedi Reservoir but thankfully it’s appreciated for it’s entirety by locals and fisherman looking for more than “combat fishing”. The “Toilet Bowl” receives it’s notoriety from the massive fish found in it’s deep pool below the dam that grow to massive size thanks to the epic population of protein-packed mysis shrimp that funnel through the spillway into the Frying Pan. Fish forage on these morsels and gain heft at a surprising rate all four seasons of the year attracting people from all over looking for trophy fish photos. For the indiscriminate anglers, maybe those looking for fishing in solitude or those that appreciate the challenge of a technical fishery, focus on the other 6-8 miles below the dam. Those big fish are known to move around and can be caught in various other stretches of the river that you don’t have to fish with a headlamp or five feet from a stranger to catch. Big fish can be a nice surprise but many anglers come to the Frying Pan to test their prowess and ability to deftly match what these picky fish are keyed in on eating. As a tailwater fishery, flows are managed, the river remains cold year round and fish are practically entomologists in their own right. Sometimes it takes the exact¬† fly, perfect size and the right stage of emergence to even get a glance from one of these wary trout. Luckily you have help from Colorado Parks and Wildlife that has provided the Basalt area with great access and parking lots with maps at each location noting public and private lands. You also have the best local intel around from shops like Hookers in Glenwood Springs to point out the most conducive-to-catching areas and every rock, bend and eddy to try the flies you acquired from them. If there’s a river in Colorado to fish 7x tippet, this is it so make sure to bring your stealthy equipment; long leaders, small flies, light tippet, your most accurate rod and drag-sensitive reel. This is a great stream to test your mettle on nymphing without an indicator. For more information, questions and exact fly recommendations, give us a call or contact Hookers for up to date bug activity and spot recommendations.