On the Fly: Fickle Fryingpan frustration | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Fickle Fryingpan frustration

Scott Spooner
On the Fly

I’ve never had a better time in my life getting frustrated. The hatch up the Fryingpan this week is nothing short of amazing if you love dissecting complex insect hatches with your fly rod. The kicker right now is that there are seven different insects coming off, all at once (or in waves), all in the same places. The Pan is offering up coinciding green drake, pale morning dun, blue wing olive, seratella, cranefly, midge and caddis hatches (as well as improving streamer fishing) these days, which makes for some head-scratching on the part of the angler. You can either accept it or get ticked off, the choice is yours.

While poking around in the river recently, every one of the aforementioned insects were in the air or on the water by later in the afternoon. I like big flies I don’t have to squint at, so the first thing to go on the end of the leader was a size 12 green drake Sparkle Dun. No love. A pink pale morning dun was offered next, then a yellow one, with the same result. After plying the water with caddis, midges and my favorite blue wing olive dries, I was on the verge of getting upset. I hadn’t had that much rejection since junior high.

Things were figured out after much trial and especially error. On this particular day, these fish were eating specific insects, changing their minds, and changing them back again. A perfect 10 foot drag-free drift with no fly line on the water was what they wanted, and particular fish were eating different insects than others. Observation skills are paramount during these complex hatch days, and you simply have to roll with the haymakers the trout and river might throw at you.

Personally, the periodic toughness of this sport is what keeps me addicted. Whether you are 9 or 90, you will always learn something new on the water if you’re willing to soak it in. I think I would have gotten bored with all this stuff years ago if this weren’t the case. On those days when you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, choose levity!

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