On the Fly: Rainy Fryingpan days | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Rainy Fryingpan days

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
The Fryingpan River on a soggy and buggy afternoon.
Courtesy of Scott Spooner

I first heard about rainy day dry fly-fishing on the Fryingpan back in the late 1990s, before I even knew where the river was. I was in Taylor Edrington’s Royal Gorge Anglers in Canon City headed to fish the Arkansas when I overheard the shop guys talking (more like whispering) about the PMD hatch they had just experienced up here in the Roaring Fork Valley. The next chance I got, I figured out where the Fryingpan was and headed up to Basalt.

I wasn’t lucky enough to get a rainy day on my first few jaunts here, but I’ve certainly enjoyed my fair share since moving here. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?

This past week of rainy weather was some of the best dry fly-fishing I’ve ever come across. I’m not sure why mayflies like to hatch in cloudy weather, but I am sure why the trout become so frenetic. Simply put, when it rains during a hatch, mayflies can’t dry their wings after emergence and are sitting ducks on the surface. They simply can’t fly off the water until their newly unfurled adult wings firm up and dry out.

Most locals tend to avoid the Fryingpan tailwater during the summertime, but you better believe they get up there when there are showers in the forecast. Luckily there are plenty of anglers who find rain an inconvenience, which usually opens up plenty of fishable water. Pale morning duns varying from pink to yellow were the main event this past week, with a few green drakes, small caddis, big and small crane flies, red quills and some blue-winged olives, as well.

The fish weren’t eating the large green drakes, but the swallows didn’t have any problem picking them off as they hatched. I think it takes a little time for the fish to remember if those large bugs are food. It won’t be long until we see trout swim 10 feet out of their feeding lane to snatch these big bugs.

I hope we have more “bad” weather on the horizon this summer. You’ll find me on the Fryingpan, fishing a single dry fly and thanking my lucky stars I heard Bill Edrington and Larry Kingrey speaking in hushed tones in their fly shop that day.

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