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Trouts Journal

West Slope Retreat Follow Up: Frying Pan/Roaring Fork

Ivan Orsic / Jan 25, 2015

Knowing I had a three day weekend ahead of me, which happened to coincide with many other Americans because of MLK Day, I decided to escape get out of Denver. My destination was Basalt, CO to visit my good buddy Scott Spooner of Taylor Creek Fly Shops. While driving up I-70 on Sunday afternoon and listening to the NFC Championship game, I could not get over the fact that it was mid January and the temperature was in the 50’s. My spirits were high to say the least.

Day 1: Sunday afternoon consisted of fishing the Roaring Fork River near Basalt. Finding fish was easy, where you found one, it seemed you found a hundred. All of my fish that day came out of deep runs or pools, and they never looked twice at eating a 6mm mottled orange bead.

Day 2: Monday morning I ventured up the Frying Pan to find the Flats down to Baetis Bridge elbow-to-elbow with anglers enjoying the holiday. Upon seeing the crowds, I decided to head back down a few miles and find some water with a few less dudes. Thankfully, I was able to find some open water and had some really sweet sight fishing shots all morning. Since my dog is terrible at taking pictures of my fish, he decided to give a couple of them a lick instead. That afternoon I headed back down to the Roaring Fork, to fish a stretch upstream of Basalt. I found fish in the same type of water as the day before and thankfully; they continued to have a taste for a couple properly weighted huevos suspended under a thingamabobber.

Day 3: Tuesday was the last day of my trip and by far the most fun. Rich Hastings, a guide for Taylor Creek Fly Shop, offered to float me down the Lower Roaring Fork and pull out at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood. The fishing in the morning was slow and the river was still cold from the night before. When we stopped for lunch, Rich’s girlfriend Shannon met up with us on the river and joined us for the rest of the float. Before lunch we had exactly zero fish to the bag, but now that we had Lady Luck in the boat, I immediately hooked up with a nice Brown. As the day warmed up, so did the fishing. Fish loved taking small Winter Stones, Midges, small Baetis, and of course the 8-10mm Egg. At 3 o’clock it was like the fish all stepped into a bar at Happy Hour and gorged themselves getting ready for a cold night. Rich and Shannon at one point both had a double, and multiple other fish saw the bottom of the landing net.

Thanks again to Scott Spooner for putting me up for a few days and Rich for an awesome float. Rich Hastings will be guiding float trips all year for Taylor Creek Fly Shop. If you happen to be in the town of Basalt and are looking to book a guided trip, I highly recommend being in this guys boat.

Photo Credit: Shannon Outing shannonoutingphotography.com

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