Winter fishing on the Fryingpan is nice and hot |

Winter fishing on the Fryingpan is nice and hot

Baron Zahuranec
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Baron Zahuranec

The past few weeks have produced some pretty nice days on the Fryingpan River. Most of my luck has come within a few hundred yards downstream of the dam, down to the bridge that is plowed high with snow.

Working in the newspaper business affords me some good days to have off from work. I’m not the typical Saturday-Sunday weekend person, I have Monday and Tuesday to go play in the snow or water.

This is the beginning of everyone’s work week, and it’s the beginning of mine, too. I just happen to take my weekend at the head of the week, not the end. I really have “week-starts” not ends, the way I look at it.

Working evenings is also a plus. Whenever I get the urge to fish, I’m able to go. This schedule is real nice in the winter. I’m able to keep up with my trout fishing and skiing needs.

Anyway, I’m about to admit something that all the fly fishing purists will scoff at. I don’t know if there has been a single time over the last couple of outings where I haven’t started fishing with my fly rod. That’s nothing to scoff at, but this is: I’m catching almost all my fish on spinning tackle after I put the fly rod away.

I’m not sure why I can’t zero in on what flies the trout are eating. I know they’re proposing out of the water, and sometime execute full-fledged launches into the air, for the emerging midges. So I know what they’re eating.

I have almost two boxes devoted to small flies: scuds, blue winged olives, tricos, midges and the like. I just tied some little size 22 black midge emergers ” what I thought the trout would be all over, but they weren’t.

If I had a midge dry fly on, I’d see a few noses come up and investigate, but no takers. Fish could be rising all around, some mere feet away and visible the whole time, but I haven’t been able to find the Holy Grail of flies in January. Maybe February will be different.

As for what has been working, they’ve been around forever: Panther Martin and Mepps spinners and little silver spoons. In the year and a half that I’ve fished below the dam, I don’t think I’ve seen another angler using a spinning rod.

I was out with one of my friends, Chuck, and he was tossing the venerable gold Rapala. There’s only a short window of time when the sun is on the water below the reservoir, and that’s the time I’ve found to be most productive, but that hasn’t proved to be the case lately.

In the shade, the trout were all over that Rapala. Chuck caught a half-dozen or so, all nice size. No, better than that. Three of them were bigger than 16 inches and one was pushing 18.

For someone who’s only become more adept at trout fishing in the last year, those are some fantastic fish. Especially for winter when you’re constantly chipping ice out of your rod guides.

This is what I’m getting at: So many people fly fish in this area, why not take the spinning rod out? It’s a great way to show the trout something different.

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