Mayflies and Sheep and Eagles – Oh My!

Frying Pan (Map)

Basalt, CO. February 5, 2013.  As those of you who have been following this blog know, my journey is about so much more than catching fish. The true angler has a deeply held desire to experience nature in a holistic way – understanding and appreciating how everything works together.


My day on the Fryingpan was one of those days when I was focused on so much more than fishing e.g. uncovering the emerging mayfly nymphs that are a staple food for the trout, watching eagles look for the lunch.

Rainbow on the Pan


Thanks to a great guide,  I was still able to roundup a few fish including another beautiful Rainbow Trout that was one heck of a healthy-looking fish.


Bighorn Sheep

The  Bighorn Sheep were a bonus. In this case, there was a family of eight with seven ewes and one ram. They were meandering around Neil Diamond’s place (true that!) and seemed oblivious to the cars going up the two-lane road that follows the river and ends at the Ruedi Reservoir. I wrote yesterday about the “Toilet Bowl” just below the dam, but we fished in other places – near the Guaging Station Pool, the Mean Joe Green Pool and the Boens Bridge.

There are several methods to learn and use when fly-fishing including “dry-fly” fishing and “nymph” fishing. Yesterday we did both. I have to say that because I have done so much winter fishing, I have mostly nymph fished so it was fun to use a dry fly for a while. You can follow my links, but the gist of the methods involves imitating flies that you would find on the top of the water (dry flies) and those that you find under the water like nymphs, larvae, pupae (nymph fishing.)

Mayfly Nymphs

You would be amazed at the insect life on our rivers even in February in temperatures around freezing. Yes! The temperature was balmy yesterday in the high 30’s (quite a comparison to the fishing last week on the Gunnison at around 0 degrees!)

Another bonus yesterday was a short jaunt over to the Roaring Fork River near the confluence of that river and Fryingpan. Because the Fryingpan is blocked by a high bluff, there are many parts of the river that get very little sun except during the midday hours, so we decided to take advantage of the sunny day, which you can do on the Roaring Fork and fish there for a little bit in the morning. I’m coming back to the Roaring Fork for a week in April and will see whether or not it will be fishable due to run-off or not. Oh! The luxury of just letting life be what it is and going with it.

14 thoughts on “Mayflies and Sheep and Eagles – Oh My!

  1. I am so looking forward to our adventure in Green River, but first Detroit area to see Amy, Lizzie and Megan for her 9th birthday.

  2. Hi Shelley,
    What a great combination of events on this day outside. Beautiful photos! I could feel the sun’s warmth from your description. Linda

  3. Saw an eagle while walking to work this morning! It is such a joy to share the world with wild animals (most of the time–when not cleaning up the mess bears can make!)


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