Basalt, CO. February 4, 2013.
Once upon a time a couple miners who were filling up their pockets with gold nuggets near the Elk Mountains near Aspen and Basalt.
One said to the other, “Hey man, is this the place they were talkin’ about them purty fish?”
The other guy said, “It don’t much matter ’cause if we don’t get our butts outta here, we gonna find our scalps left behind.”
They packed up camp as quickly as they could and headed to the lower part of the drainage only to find that they ran into a full on encampment of Indians.
The second miner’s comment in this midst of arrows flying at them was, “Well, I reckon we just jumped from the frying pan into the fire!” And so the river got its name.
This river is known for its leviathans up in what is called the “Toilet Bowl!” This area is just below the Ruedi Reservoir, where mysis shrimp were introducted amongst other entomological goodies.
I have fished the Pan once before and caught my biggest fish – about a 26-inch Brown Trout. The story is that when I realized how large the fish was and that I only had a midge and a 5x tippet on the line, I was sure I couldn’t bring in the fish and I was determined to see that fish close up. I shoved my rod at my guide and asked him to do – although he didn’t think he could either. He did get the fish over to the bank of the river but it turned out our net was too small to handle the fish… so off I made my way back to the truck on very slippery rocks to get the largest net Harry had on hand and was able to get it down to the river on time to net the fish and take a measurement.
So I don’t know what this week will bring for me in the Frying Pan Valley but I do know I will be fishing with some great folks and enjoying a fabulous fishery in beautiful Western Colorado.