On my third day on the Frying Pan I fell into my routine of catching the morning midge hatch up in the flat below Ruedi Dam. On the previous days I found success with zebra midges, RS2s and DMC (embroidery floss) midge patterns. There was a ton of shucks floating on the surface from the hatching midges, including some midges still trapped in their shuck. The adults were large, a size 18 black body midge, with a gray wing. I captured a few wriggling larvae to inspect them closer. The larvae were big, much bigger than the size 20-22 midges I caught fish on the previous days. I decided to upsize to a size 18 blackfly larva pattern I fish back East in the Winter months. The pattern I tie features stripped peacock herl wound around the hook shank, and 3 coats of Sally’s Double Duty (nail polish) for durability. The pattern has a natural rib with the dark edges of the peacock strip, translucency from the nail polish, and has one bulbous end tapering to a thin end. I rigged one size 18 and one size 22 blackfly larva behind a tiny split shot, under a thingamabobber. The flat riffle ranged in depth from thigh deep to ankle deep, so spotting fish was easy. Once the action began I had as many as twenty to thirty fish visibly rising or flashing in front of me. The majority of trout I’d estimate between nine and sixteen inches, but the occasional larger trout could be seen holding in deeper water. I landed two rainbows over eighteen inches, as well as a bunch of browns and bows between eleven and sixteen inches. The switch to a larger midge pattern lead to the best two hours of fishing all week, but I had a difficult time filming while standing in the middle of a wide river, trying to hold out a chunky fish for the camera. A number of anglers (8-10) were fishing above, below, across or behind me, so at times I couldn’t move back to shore without walking through someone’s drift. The hatch stopped right at Noon, and I left with everyone else for lunch.
In the afternoon I was close to completing my goal of fishing all the public access points along the road paralleling the river. I knew I’d never know them intimately, but felt that each area had obviously different characteristics. On the previous days I fished through some rough water, and tough wading, but on the third day I found some nice long riffles and shallow pocket water. I rigged my nymph/caddis combo and fished up into the first few miles below the dam. There was a lot more pressure in these areas, so I walked the road to leap around the anglers and guides. It was interesting as I progressed up river, my patterns became less effective. Trout were rising in backeddies and slow pools to small size 20 baetis, and I started switching out nymphs. I got a few fish on trico nymphs, bwo nymphs and small pheasant tails, but the fish were keyed into something about the real nymphs I was missing. The evening midge hatch hit just when I got back down river to my car, so I fished some dries for my last evening on the river. The latest video post features some shots of the flats below the dam, and some of the fish I caught on day three on the Frying Pan River.