Sunday, August 7, 2011


After living in Colorado for six years you would think that I would have hit up one of the most popular rivers in the area.  Then again, there are a lot of rivers.  Boulder Creek, Big T, St. Vrain, Colorado, Ark, S. Platte, Blue, South Boulder Creek, among others.  I visited all of those while I was living there.  But the Gold medal waters of the Frying Pan I never did.  It's a bit of a drive from the Denver metro area, but not prohibitively so.

Finally I took a trip with some friends to hit up the Pan a week ago.  We did some research and made some plans in the weeks coming up to the trip.  The idea was to fish the Pan both below and above the reservoir.  Directly below the res gets horrifically busy, but further down things lighten up, and reports told us almost no one fishes above the res.

We picked out a campground up about 40 minutes from the res. with the headwaters of the Pan running through it.  On Google Earth there was what appeared to be an open meadow with a snaky part of the river that could be fun to fish.  I also picked out a high mountain lake to hike to and fish, but that's all I'm going to say about it because it was a total bust.  Just forget about it.  That part never happened.

We started out Thursday afternoon and after a nice fun 4 hour drive made it to the river.  The sun was setting but we were hoping for some action on the drake dries.  We parked the car and walked down the bank to check out the river.  In the short section of river we could see there were at least a dozen fish rising.  So we ran back to the car at a dead sprint and rigged up our rids as quickly as possible.  There was precious little daylight left but we started tossing the big ugly dries in the water and immediately started getting bites.  We only fished for 30 minutes or so, but both Brady and I managed to catch a few fish and lost quite a few more.  Chad (the newbie) opted not to fish since we couldn't really see and he had never fished dries before.  It was a great start to the trip though!

Next it was off to the campsite to set up camp after dark, which is always fun.  Upon our arrival we discovered that leaving Brady in charge of picking the campsite was a mistake.  He picked the worst site in the entire campground without one square foot of flat ground.  We were able to move the second day thank God.

We fished below the reservoir the next day.  The newbie, Chad, caught first and Brady followed up.  They kept catching while I kept casting.  Eventually I started to figure things out.  The fishing wasn't out of this world and no one caught anything huge, but between the three of us it seemed like someone had one on every 10 minute.  No doubles if memory serves me right.

In the afternoon the second group of people showed up and things began to devolve.  More beer, but we did continue fishing while a couple people went up to camp to start setting up camp and begin cooking.  And a little later the rest of us moved up to camp.  From there things got better or worse depending on your perspective.  At some point Jonathan managed to light his entire white gas stove and canister on fire!  It didn't blow but threatened to do so.

We got to bed a little later than hoped and thus woke up a little later too.  From there we decided to spend the morning fishing up from camp into the snaky area shown above.  Once we figured out that fishing the really flat areas was too hard because the fish were really spooky we started catching more.  We only fished for an hour or two before breakfast.
After breakfast, the afternoon is all dark.  I have no idea what happened.  I may have been drugged or something.  Later that evening we went down below the res again to meet up with everyone else.  Fish were caught, beers were drunk, so were some of us.

The next morning we fished below the res again.  We seemed to gravitate toward the same area every day too.  Not too close to the res where people were shoulder to shoulder, but not that far either.  We fished the morning until the other guys had to head back to work the next day.  Suckers.

The rest of the trip is a bit of a blur.  But overall, it was a blast.  It was the perfect mix of tailwater fishing with the potential for big fish and high mountain fishing.  We discovered that I'm best at high mountain fishing where you have to fish hole to hole.  The fish aren't picky and I'm not sure why the other guys couldn't catch there.  Brady was best at catching fish after dark on dries.  How he did it, I really don't know.  He couldn't see a thing but could still catch.  Even the newbie Chad, who was on his 3rd fishing trip ever, found a hole where he could catch ten fish a day.

Enjoy the pictures...

And wait for the upcoming video...


  1. Glad you finally got to fish it! Looks like it was a great, great time!

  2. It wasn't my best day on the river, but probably the best all around trip i've ever taken. worth the drive.