Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Frying Pan River ~ A Gathering Of Friends

Just when I thought that my last fishing trip can't be outdone, another amazing one comes along.  My last few journeys have been unbelievable.  Good fish and good friends.  Everything that you could ask for.  And when Rod, "The Midgeman" and I started talking about the Frying Pan River in Colorado last year, I knew it would be a special time on the water.  The time went slow in waiting for it to approach because Rod had told me that he was going to help me with some technique work on the river.  So, I was anxious.  I'm always ready to "tweek" my bad habits and catch more fish!  And an opportunity to learn from one of the best too... Lucky me.

I would find myself driving on I-70 going East for six and a half hours.  And in pouring rain most of the way.  When I reached Basalt, Co., the heavens opened with a ray of sunshine beaming down upon me.   But, it would be short lived, as Day one would bring out the rain jackets and we would fish with a few sprinkles.   It was good to meet up with Josh from "Bigerrfish" for the first time, as I have followed his blog for the last couple of years and I know that this guy catches fish!  He's a great guy and so easy to learn from.  He would be teaching me how to bring the big guy in on 6x tippet the next day...  And the Midgeman would start assessing my casting, mending and the most important thing, my drift.   So it had begun...

After a couple of hours in the afternoon, we headed back to the motel for dinner.   A heavy discussion ensued about leaders, indicators and knots.  Ahh...the fireside chat of fly fishers...  Ha. I have had a few people teach me about rigging up my line.  But, this was a truly amazing leader and tippet set up that I was building for the next day.   If the Midgeman system worked for me, why not change things up?  I had nothing to lose.  And a whole lot to gain!  Like fish... = )

Day 2 would bring us all together with our small nymphs in hand.  More cold, more rain.  A lovely morning at 38 degrees...  But, we were all happy to be there.  And a few fish followed.  I had a few nice browns and I showed the Midgeman that I am dedicated to the sport by casting out about 200 times that day to a couple honery, fat rainbows that wouldn't have anything to do with my near perfect drift now.  Oh well.  Their bellies were full.  So, we moved on to where some trout would be more interested in feeding...the tail end of a riffle on a different section.  Hello, Mr. Rainbow!

It was break time for me to head back down the canyon and get a bite of lunch.  Now, I have a thing for finding new places to eat on my journeys.  And I certainly found one of the best places in Basalt.  Yes, "Dam Good Tacos"!!!  Sorry, Rod and Josh.  It really isn't a secret.

Pork taco with guac on the left and pastrami...yes you read it right... and a marinated red cabbage that was out of this world, topped with thousand island dressing.  I know...sounds weird.  But I LOVED IT!!!  (You can find the taco man here...)  Haha.  Gas up and get your tacos!!

The day would end at the "Toilet Bowl" of the Frying Pan.  The deep water under the spillway is very inviting to the fishermen who want to get hold of a biggun' on their line.  Big trout lie underneath with mouths wide open for the Mysis shrimp that come from the reservoir.  I was up for it.  Or was I?  I had no idea how I was going to catch one of these guys on 6x tippet...
I think that the picture tells the story here...  Ha!  I was soooo excited.  Josh was my hero as he gave me some instruction on how to keep this 20+ brown on my 6x tippet.  Whew!  This fish took me down deep in the bowl five times!  And almost to my backing on the reel.  It was an amazing time that night as the sun went down.  My cheering section behind me enjoyed it almost as much as me.  Rod was a little afraid though that I might be hooked on the dam and never go back to the rest of the river!   Ha.  It was a lot of fun though.   All I could do after putting Mr. Brown back into the water was to share a high five with Josh.  We did it! 
Now, I haven't introduced the Midgeman's wife, Lisa, yet.  What a wonderful mate he has.  I really enjoyed getting to know her on our canyon drives.  And she make a mean lasagna!  (Thanks for the invite!)  She braved the cold and damp and always kept a smile going.  A true delight to meet.

Day 3 would start at the Frying Pan "Toilet Bowl" with Steph, Dustin and Drake from "Antlers & Gills".  Yeah, Midgeman knew that I would be hooked.  The others decided to sleep a little longer than brave the 7:00 shiver... Ha.

 After a few hours, I headed back down to see what the rest were up to.  The weather finally gave us warmer temps and just a sky full of clouds without rain.  So, more fishing stories (and he has some) and more instruction from the "professor" as I tried to be a quick study and practice what was being taught.  I finally started to feel more at ease with my fishing.  "Tweeking" gave me a better drift.  And a better drift gives you more fish.   I doubled my catches each day from the previous day on this trip.  Really... What more can you ask for? 

Who are these guys?  They are fly fishermen that just go about their business... And took time out to share their knowledge with me.    Thank you, thank you!

We said our goodbyes, but knowing that we would meet again in the future on another adventure.   A special thanks to all for a great "gathering" time of friends and fishing.  It just doesn't get much better.

Rod put together a very nice video of the time together on the water.  Enjoy the vid and come on back for Sunday Tippets when I tell you what I did after everyone went home.
 I still had some time on the water!!



  1. Nice river.

    Nice meeting.

    Nice video.

    Days of fishing like that of the video become intimate.

    Regards from another side of the ocean.

    A fisherman to fly Spanish.

    1. Paco - Thanks for stopping by! Yes, when you share your fishing trips with good friends, it is extra special.

  2. Well writen Emily!... I enjoyed the time so much and seeing your smile after cooking your arm was a big highlight... The high fives meant we won!..
    LMFAO about the tacos I had no idea you grabbed some, and even got a shot of the sign.. Nice job there!

    1. Josh ~ Heehee... I always find the best places to eat. And there was a good story with that one! Couldn't pass it by... Thanks again, amigo!!

  3. Now I'm obsessed with the Pastramis. I have Sauerkraut and blueberry bagels; probably not the same...

    1. RF ~ I think that I would pass on the kraut and bagel, unless they come separately! I am a pastrami lover... on sandwiches, burgers, and now tacos!

  4. Great write up Emily! We all really enjoyed our time with you over there and I can't say I've ever seen anyone work harder at getting their presentations down as you did. I think you have this fly fishing thing in your veins! Lisa says Hi as well and we'll chat soon. Right now I'm taking a couple of days and just goofing off on the Tommy and a couple of smaller lakes over this way. I don't
    I don't think I've ever seen a mouth wider than your's was when the big guy rolled up on you in the Toilet Bowl. Just seeing you get into that fish would have been worth twice the drive!!!!

    1. Rod ~ I really didn't think that a fish could give me that much pull. But, it was a heck of a lot of fun bringing him in after the battle was won. Worth every penny of $4.00/gal gas. Well, I hope you get some fishing time this weekend as you were teaching a lot of the time on the
      Pan. You're the best...

  5. Well what can I say? When life hands you lemons you set up a lemonade stand! I couldn't make the trip and now I don't feel worthy. I'm hoping to get a trip to Utah so we can at least fish together. Maybe you need to plan another trip to Colorado late summer?

    1. Howard ~ I never let my lemons turn into limes. = ) I wasn't worthy either, believe me! But, no one cares how you fish. And if they can help you, it makes a stronger friendship. They are happy to help and see you improve and you have gratitude in your heart for what they have shared. It's all good. I think that you are the next one to make a trip! Ha

  6. RD
    This trip had me from the first sentence to the end. I have to say you were spending time with the best when it comes to fly fishing in Rod and Josh; both these guys know their business. The video was outstanding Rod put together. Thanks for sharing another great adventure!!

  7. Emily - What a great trip! I am massively jealous!