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River: Roaring Fork River - Middle

Spring Break 2014: The Pan and the Fork with Dad

Post By: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 3/11/2014 7:05:21 PM     Points: 6196    
What's up good people of Fishexplorer? A few days ago I asked nicely for you all to spoon feed me some info about area rivers for a trip I was taking with my Dad. You all responded with some very helpful information, and I'm very grateful for all of it. It's part of what makes this site so great. Now you will be rewarded with a long-winded report.

Day 1 3/9/14: My dad and I arrived in Basalt around 11 am. We went in to Taylor Creek Fly shop to get the good word on area fishing, and pick up a map and a few flies. After a quick lunch we hit the Fork just downstream of Basalt. Fishing started off pretty hot for stocker hofer 'bows, but I didn't travel all the way to Basalt to catch a bunch of stockers. Happily, by 3pm the big wild browns started to move and I hooked up on a few 16-18 inch fish out of a deep run, but all managed to take me downstream and shake the hook. Most were eating small midge emergers like a sz. 22 black or gray Rs2 or a sz. 20 mercury black beauty. After a while (and a tippet change to 5x) I landed one nice bow and a number of smaller browns.

The action cooled off by 5 pm, so my dad and I headed downstream to try to hit some of the deeper pools on the lower river. We fished until about 7 with no more action. After a delicious pizza from White House Pizza in Basalt, we headed to Hanging Lake Inn in Glenwood Springs to rest and recharge.

Day 2: The second day started off with a trip up the canyon to the Toilet Bowl on the Fryingpan. We got in a staring contest with the many 5 lb. bows and browns in the bowl, and I'm sorry to report that the fish won. My dad got 1 and I managed to go 3 for 4, but none of the fish were of the proportions that make the bowl famous. We left the bowl with the idea of hitting some of the pools and canyon holes on the way down, but just about every pullout and hole was already occupied.

To be honest, after three trips up the canyon I'm not too impressed with the fryingpan. It's crowded, shallow, clogged with private property, and with the exception of the upper river, the fish are predominantly small. I feel like I have to work twice as hard for fish on the Pan than on the Fork, and to me that's not very much fun. If you disagree, I'd be happy to go up again and have you prove me wrong.

So we left the Pan and spent the rest of the afternoon (after about 1 pm) on a stretch of river just upstream of Basalt. We had a blast picking pockets and fishing deep runs in the slightly chalky water. We didn't see another soul all day, and the fishing was fantastic (at least for me). A sz. 10 tan pat's rubberlegs followed by a sz. 18 prince killed them, I brought about a dozen to hand and lost at least twice that many, including a real brute of a rainbow (prob 20") that I followed downstream about 200 meters before it broke me off. My dad also hooked a nice brown on a prince but it broke off. I need to get some better tippet (or a better reel, my current Cabela's fly reel has no drag to speak of).

Once the sun dipped behind the canyon walls the action shut off. We headed downstream to a super-deep run we scouted the day before. We decided that this was perfect spinning water, so we left the sissy sticks in the car and started chucking metal and plastic. We were rewarded with some huge hits, and my dad landed one decent brown on a Red/gold Trout HD.

As we left we were rewarded with incredible views of Mt. Sopris illuminated by the setting sun. It was a fantastic weekend with my Dad and a great way to kick off a spring break that should also include vampire shift walleye, more tailwater trout, and maybe even some metropolitan bass. Thanks for the read, enjoy the pics!

1. Day 1 Bow
2. Day 2 Toiletbowl brown (hahaha)
3. Day 2 Fork Brown (look at the size of the head and fins, he's old!)
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 3/11/2014 7:09:41 PM     Points: 6196

Typical Bow (No fin nubbins, possibly wild?)
Typical Brown (love the merged spots near the middle of the fish)
Fish's eye view (no wonder they like attractor patterns in the Fork)
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 3/11/2014 7:12:21 PM     Points: 6196
Last bit

Nice brown, Dad!
 Reply by: catfishking      Posted: 3/11/2014 7:21:09 PM     Points: 17
 Reply by: lewdog      Posted: 3/11/2014 7:30:04 PM     Points: 3940
Thanks for the pics and story.. sounds like you had a good trip. Oh I liked the part. Sissy sticks ..funny.
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 3/12/2014 8:29:45 PM     Points: 6196
^thanks fellas
 Reply by: Mustard Seed      Posted: 3/12/2014 11:33:38 PM     Points: 3
You should've gotten some tips from the guys at Taylor Creek Fly Shop. They're a cut above the rest when it comes to fishing those areas. The Pan is an amazing fishery, you just gotta know what you're doing. Bug selection is only half the game up there. Running 5x tippet isn't the smartest thing to do either when you're fishing gin clear water. At least you enjoyed the trip. Sorry, but I disagree with you on the Pan.
 Reply by: Dangly      Posted: 3/13/2014 4:30:59 AM     Points: 238
savor these times with your dad, and remember to thank him often for teaching you how to fish, sounds like a great time.
 Reply by: Velofisher      Posted: 3/13/2014 8:37:42 AM     Points: 0
Thanks for the great report and pics and good job on getting out there with your Dad! You'll come to find that time spent together is invaluable.
 Reply by: brookieflyfisher      Posted: 3/13/2014 4:06:40 PM     Points: 6196
Mustard Seed, your points are totally valid. The Taylor Creek guys gave us great advice, and we followed it. We were using 6x and 7x on the Pan with midge and mysis patterns (of course only used the mysis in the bowl). It's not like we got no action, either, we just had more fun on the Fork.

I guess it's more of a difference in preference. Give me a big, deep, wild river (Manistee, Flathead, Clark's Fork, Roaring Fork), some 3-5x, some big stones and I'm happy.
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