One of the advantages to living on the lower Fryingpan River is that most people drive right by on their frenzied way to the top mile.
I often feel that mile one through four is my own private stretch, and over the last few years I’ve gotten to know every rock, downed tree and especially the trout.
These fish are noticeably less paranoid than their cousins in the upper reaches, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy, either.
The lower Pan is similar to the Colorado River in that it offers up the earliest and latest hatches of the year due to its lower elevation.
It is warmer closer to town than up at mile twelve, and already I am seeing caddis, blue-winged olives and even a few giant stoneflies flapping about.
This isn’t the case below the dam yet.
The lower river continues to fish well through summer, especially if you love casting grasshopper patterns like I do, and this stretch is ideal for playing around with European-style nymphing and tenkara, also.
Big boulders, plunge pools, riffles and runs abound on this stretch of river, which lends itself to these new and experimental styles of presenting flies to trout.
It is true that the fish aren’t as big as the mysis-fed slabs in the upper, but there are trade-offs that make these fish more of a joy to stalk.
The lack of crowds, the willingness of the fish to eat the fly, the “trick shot” casting opportunities, and the abundant wildlife are just a few of these trade-offs.
If the cars and throngs of wader-clad prospectors start bumming you out in the upper miles of the Fryingpan this summer, do yourself a favor and check out the water closer to town.
I am perfectly willing to share my stretch of “private” water with you!
— This column is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.