Secrets of fishing the Pan |

Secrets of fishing the Pan

Cameron Scott/Special to the Post Independent
Photo by Cameron Scott |

Tim Heng recently crystallized the simple answer we shop fly shop guys have for perplexed anglers fishing the Fryingpan for the first — or the hundredth — time and are struggling to catch fish.

“You can’t just show up here unprepared and expect these fish to treat you like a local.”

What he says is true, and was spoken with a twinkle in his eye, but I would like to offer up some of the advice that we give after we all have a good laugh.

Keep out of the water when possible.

I know we spend more than a car payment for waders, but we don’t always need to march right in.

Fine fluorocarbon tippets are a game-changer and present the fly invisibly without reflecting glare from the sun.

Hatches are an enigma on the Fryingpan.

They don’t always occur during banker’s hours and can erupt in one spot while others stay quiet.

Moving around is simply essential when the latter is the case.

Watch anglers who are obviously catching their fair share.

They move slowly, rarely cast when targeting a specific trout, and offer their flies in a quiet manner.

These fishermen and women give every fish in the river a good look at their offerings, and trout rarely pass up an easy meal right on their noses.

Hiring a guide is not a shameful thing, even if you live right on the river.

When Tim goes back to Christmas Island to chase bonefish on endless flats, he takes a local guide because he simply wants to maximize his potential in a magical place.

The upper mile of river below Ruedi Reservoir lures most anglers like a siren at sea.

They drive right past the rest of these gorgeous, trout-laden waters without a second thought.

My best fish last summer was caught and released four miles from town.

Lastly, I suggest taking a deep breath and taking a moment to absorb where you are and what you are doing.

It sure beats workin’.

— 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

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