On the Fly: Football season on Aspen-area rivers

Wyatt Dallenbach
On the Fly
Wyatt Dallenbach displays a nice rainbow trout caught out of the Fryingpan River.
Scott Spooner/Special to The Aspen Times

Rumors of a recently spotted 30-inch rainbow inspired us to head up the Fryingpan River last week.

I was sitting on Scott’s porch up at my Grandad Wally’s ranch, both of us enjoying the spring air fragrant with the scent of fresh lilac. The night was slowly starting to overtake the day when the gravel crunched under Justin’s tires as he entered the driveway.

Our slow-driving chauffeur (I’m a Dallenbach; I like to go fast) took us up the Pan, with Mother Nature in full chlorophyll bloom as we admired the abundant and vibrant greens. A short collection of left and right moves of the wheel and we arrived at the pull-off. Walking to the water, our hopes were high with anticipation of wetting the first line of the afternoon.

There was no sign of the supposed big fish.

The guys were determined to fish a large streamer that afternoon, and I had never fished in that fashion before. We saw plenty of other worthy fish to cast at, and just as my teachers instructed, I let the streamer glide deeply through the water. As the stripping and twitching of the fly commenced, a football of a rainbow emerged from her hiding spot, stalking my fly. Sizing my offering up, the rainbow chased it across the river, almost to my feet. She couldn’t resist and inhaled the fly with reckless abandon. The barbless hook slid in, the line went tight and a rowdy fight began.

After a few thrilling and heart-stopping minutes, I had a picture with my multi-colored trophy. I let her slip out of my hands and into the cold water to recover and grow. Maybe not 30 inches, but a beauty nonetheless.

I think I’m only going to fish streamers all summer long!

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.