Basalt Colorado fly fishing with Cameron Cipponeri

While there may still be some fishing tomorrow–cutthroat in Maroon Bells/Aspen area, private water here on the Frying Pan, or further upstream where we’ve fished twice–we have had a good and interesting three days of fishing.

Day one was supposed to be a full day float on the Roaring Fork.  But recent rains…yes, I know, what a shock!…made the better option to full day wade the Frying Pan first with Cameron Cipponeri of Frying Pan Anglers–the speaker at the club meeting in April.  What a great guy and a very good guide.  Sadly I am the most experienced of the three anglers with one guy being a fairly recent interestee in flyfishing.  So he needed and got lots of one on one time with Cameron.  We all managed to catch some nice fish.  I probably caught 12-15 fish.  A nice 15-16″ rainbow.  But the “one that got away” was really big.  I managed to hook it in a small pool Cameron pointed out.  He said to try that pool for a bit then left to help the other two that were 30 and 40 yards downstream.  (We have been spread apart several times because all other waters usually fished by those in Denver and Vail have been blown out, so they have to travel here to fish.) Within a few minutes I got the big’un to take a BWO on my 4wt Sage ZXL (Great rod rec, JD!).  I fought the fish in the 30 feet of river around me for 4-5 minutes while hollering downstream for them to send Cameron up with the net.  That’s when the real fight started.  That fish began making runs nearly into backing–once barely into it–downriver.  I had to start stumbling downriver.  That fish and I covered 40 or 50 yards of river before it wrapped on a stick…within arms reach of Cameron with the net.  Gone.  I was devastated.  I had fought that fish for almost ten minutes only to lose it at the guide’s net.  In his defense he had to run upstream about 20 yards after hearing my dilemma relayed by the middle fisher.  He saw it up close and declared it to be in excess of 24″.

Day two was a 14 mile float on the Roaring Fork.  Again Cameron took on the least experienced fisher while Rick Conner and I fished with Eddie Deison–who also guides at Matlacha, FL (Bonus find!).  I had apparently impressed upon him how much I enjoy streamer fishing because with the exception of only two short episodes of nymphing like the others did all day, I threw streamers on my 6wt all day.  Thought my arm and right shoulder were going to fail.  I wasn’t chucking and ducking like on the PM, but the weight of those two ridiculous (but mostly effective) streamers was something.  One of them is best described as a black multi, plastic beaded zonker strip bugger with a spinner blade at the front.  I probably only caught a dozen fish all day–no real notables.  Rick only caught two Kissel-fish–uh, I mean whitefish–all day.  The “newbie” managed three or four, I think.  Lots of fishers again due to flooded waters elsewhere.

Today we half day waded with Cameron on the Pan.  The weather started off chilly but real nice…then got colder and windier.  Despite that we managed to catch fish.  I pretty much stayed with dries (Drake and BWO mostly) all afternoon and managed 8-10 fish…maybe a few more.  Then we finished the day further downriver playing around with rising behemoths (18″-36″, no kidding) just above Bass Pro Johnny Morris’ private section.  The wind was hellish.  I managed to land only four or so there, but no big’uns.  I did hook two or three, but yipped my way out of landing them.  Rob S, I caught a few 14-15″-ers on the little Hardy 3wt even.
While it did rain lightly and briefly a little today, the wind was the monster…until dinnertime.  It began to SNOW.  It actually lightened up and quit as we drove back into Basalt for dinner.  Since our steak minded appetite could not be satisfied in Basalt, we drove another 25 minutes to Aspen.  It began to snow pretty good on the way there and a few flurries on and off while we were eating at Jimmy’s ($ome famou$ place).  But five minutes into the return trip about 8:30 local, it turned into a full fledged snowstorm…a la Duck Lake!  We drove back all but the first five minutes in a blizzard…road coating, hypnotic driving big flakes…at 20-25 mph.  Crazy.  So our plans for tomorrow depend on what we find in the morning after tonight’s 32 degree freeze warning with rain/snow in the forecast.

I highly recommend staying here at Taylor Creek Cabins.  And I would probably put Cameron in the top five guides I have used.  He kept needlessly apologizing for the conditions which kept us out of the “real experience.”  But I am completely satisfied with what we’ve had.  Lots of fish, big fish, fish on dries.  Just a really good trip even if tomorrow is a bust.

I don’t have many photos–only a few on my iPhone which I have not hooked up and transferred.  Wifi here at the cabin but not good enough for the iPhone to transmit and no cell service until you get close to town.  We’ll send Tom some later that Larry took.

Tyson Reed
AFFC Membership Chairman

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