Description - In 1968, construction of the Ruedi Dam was completed in a high valley on the Fryingpan River. With the completion of the dam, 14 miles of tailwater trout fishery were born. Today this stretch of the river is considered to be some of the finest trout water in the West.
Copyright: Zander Higbie-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
The lower Frying Pan River, several miles upstream from its' confluence with the Roaring Fork
- The famous tail water fishing in the Fryingpan River was created in 1968 with the construction of the Ruedi Dam. The 14 miles of tail water trout fishery that lay below the dam are considered to be some of the finest trout fishing in the West.
The definition of a world-class trout fishery, the Fryingpan is in a spectacular red sandstone canyon, with steep timbered slopes, basalt outcrops and a strange, reddish-orange and mossy-green rock bottom.
A good paved road follows the river as it descends from the Ruedi Dam to the Roaring Fork with many pulloffs providing easy streamside fishing access for its entire length. The story is told that the Fryingpan River and valley were named after a lone frying pan left hanging in a tree after a band of Indians chased a group of early settlers from the valley. Today, the name Fryingpan is known to mean incredible fishing, spectacular scenery and a quality experience for all of its visitors.
Recreation - For many years the Fryingpan River was an ordinary river that was stocked with trout as fast as anglers could remove them. Then in 1979, the Colorado Division of Wildlife put special regulations into effect. Beginning with a two mile stretch of catch and release fishing immediately below the dam. Over the years the additional 12 miles of river was protected with special regulations. Today, any section of these 14 miles of river can produce a trophy fish. Special regulations, high water quality and controlled stream flows have combined to create a river of "Gold Medal" quality. This river contains some of the ultimate "dry fly" water in the country. This also means that this river is totally non-conducive to floating. But there is really no need for a boat as all the water can be accessed from the bank.
Blue Winged Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Green Drakes, Caddis, Midges and the Mysis, which makes this river famous, are the most common flies used for fishing this river. In the upper two miles of river huge "football" shaped trout feed on the Mysis shrimp, which come out of the dam because of their high protein content, and the Mysis is the most popular fly in this section for trying to trick one of these giants. These fish are highly educated but trying lures at night can bring big surprises. Remember that all fish here have to be returned healthy and alive.
Climate - The elevation of the Fryingpan River is approximately 7,000 feet. Persons coming from lower elevations should be aware that time is needed to adjust to the higher elevations.
Warm days and cool to freezing nights can be expected in the mountains during the summer. July and August are usually the warmest months. During this time afternoon thunderstorms are common. Be prepared for both warm and chilly weather, as well as for rain showers.
The Fryingpan river is popular for fishing year round. Due to the fact that it is a tail water fishery, it never becomes iced over. The water coming out from the dam is a consistent 40 degrees year round, which allows for year round flows.
The Fryingpan River winds its way through the Fryingpan Valley for 14 miles from the Ruedi Dam to Basalt and the confluence with the Roaring Fork River.
The Fryingpan River can be accessed by taking I-70 West out of Denver to Glenwood Springs. Then take Highway 82 East to the town of Basalt. The main road in Basalt is Two Rivers Road and the Fryingpan Road runs into it in the middle of town. It is a small town, and everyone knows how to point you in the direction of the river. The Fryingpan Road follows the river for 14 miles to its beginning at the Ruedi Dam. There are multiple pullouts along the road for access to the river.