The fryingpan river is one of the most famous famous fisheries in the west, and for very good reason. It is located in basalt, which is near glenwood springs. It is about 180 miles west of denver and takes about 3 hours to reach, but the fishing is worth the drive. The most popular area to fish the fryingpan is in the lower river belw ruedi dam. The river can get extremely crowded at all times of the year because it is a tailwater, which stays ice free for most of the winter. I have only fished the fryingpan once, and it was packed with other anglers even on a weekday.
The river below ruedi dam is most congested with anglers, and the further down the river you go there will be fewer anglers; but the fishing also becomes not as good. Directly below the dam is a hole called the “toilet bowl,” which is a a deep small pond right at the outlet of the reservoir. This spot will almost certainly have an angler in it from morning till night, and the only way to fish it is to wait your turn. There are monsterous rainbows over ten pounds that are caught regularly from the toliet bowl. The best way to fish this hole is with mysis shrimps, and lots of weight. You don’t neccessarily need an indicator, just lob the flies up into the moving water and stay in contact with them just as you do short line nymphing.
The fryingpan fishes much like other tailwaters in colorado with good midge and mayfly hatches in march and april as wel as in the fall. But the major hatch that brings alot of anglers are the green drake mayflies which come in mid july. Fishing both nymphs and dry flies can be productive depending on where the hatch is at. A size 12 olive hares ear or green-wired copper john work well for nymphs. I fished the river in early august just on the tailend of the hatch, though i caught a few on green drake imitations. The key difference that makes the fryingpan different than other tailwaters is how pressured the fish are. You can’t skimp on any of your tactics and expect to catch fish. Using 6x tippet is the only way to go, and flourocarbon would probobly be even better. If you can get away without an idicator, it will increase your chances as well because they often times spook fish. It may be much further from denver than other popular rivers, but the fryingpan is worth experiencing at least once. They rainbows are big and are brilliantly colored much like cheeseman canyon rainbows. Plus you will also have a chance at browns, cutthroats, and brook trout.