Frying Pan River

The Frying Pan is world-famous, and for good reason. The monster rainbows that live in it have to be seen to be believed, which is often easier said than done. Even though you can often spot the trout in the crystal clear waters, they are wise to the ways of fishermen, and you’ll need a perfect drift to fool these elusive creatures. Persevere, however, and you’ll likely be rewarded with some of the biggest and most beautiful trout you’ve ever laid eyes on.

This river has two sections, with Ruedi Reservoir in the middle. The lower part is where the trophy fish live, and where almost everyone who comes to visit will fish. The upper stretch fishes like a classic high-mountain stream and offers much more seclusion than you’ll find on the lower river.

Because the lower river is a tail water, it is fishable year round, even when other local rivers are blown out with spring runoff. It’s also possible to fish here in the winter. There are a variety of hatches on this river, with the most common being mayflies and caddis.

One excellent piece of advice is that the area around the dam, where the really big fish live, can get quite crowded. Don’t forget there are 14 miles of water on the lower stretch, and if you find a spot away from other folks, you’re likely to find good fishing there as well.