February 11, 2004
It may sound like a bone-chilling way to spend a day, but fly-fishing in winter is perhaps the best time to land a lunker. The reason is simple: “There’s no question that a trout stream full of snow is beautiful in the wintertime, and not as many people are out there fishing, so it’s more serene and peaceful,” says Tim Heng, manager of Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
Fed by the steady and relatively warm temperatures of Ruedi Reservoir above Basalt, the Fryingpan River is an ideal place to try out this winter pasttime, Plus, the Fryingpan is a Gold Medal stretch of water – quite an honor considering that of the more than 9,000 miles of trout streams in Colorado, only 168 are so designated.
As for where exactly to lay your line, hiring a guide can help. Not only do they know what flies have the fish biting, they can help get you geared up with rod, reel and such wintertime necessities as neoprene waders and fingerless gloves.
Of course if you decide to go it alone, rest assured: There’s plenty of access and scenery – bald eagles and big horn sheep are common sights along the Fryingpan during winter – with your name on it. And when it comes to finding the trophy fish of your dream, it’s really up to good ol’ Mother Nature. And, fortunately, she’s on your side.
For fly-fishing information, call the White River National Forest, Sopris Ranger District at 927-3812; to hire a guide, call Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt at 927-3441, or Taylor Creek Fly Shop at 920-1128 in Aspen or 927-4374 in Basalt.