The Frying Pan is intangible. Surrounded by beautiful scenery and clear cool water, one could be forgiven for forgetting that trout even reside here. The river captivates your spirit and refreshes your mind. Wading in the stream, dwarfed on either side by mountains, you are reminded of how small we each are and how insignificant our daily grievances are compared to the majesty of nature. People may use trout fishing as an excuse to fish the Frying Pan, but the real draw to this place has to be its meditative quality. Albert Einstein once remarked, "Look into nature, and then you will understand everything better." Any length of stay on the Pan will reward one with a greater perspective on the what really matters and what is to be treasured in life.
A quintessential trout river, the Pan boasts not only stunning scenery but the chance for trophy rainbow and brown trout. You will see giants, I promise. Catching them on the other hand is up to you as these guys are very particular as I found out. Only at French Creek in the driftless have I ever encountered pickier trout. The first four hours I spent here were full of apprehension as I watch trout after trout rise to my fly, only to reject them in the final moments. They aren't spookish necessarily, too many people fish the river for that, but they are selective and if you do not have what they want, at the right depth, good luck.
With a hatch beginning to come off the water I started with some usual suspects: parachute adams and renegades--no luck. Finally, a kind gentleman across the water asked what I was using, after a brief discussion where he disclosed that he was a guide for Taylor Creek Fly shop, he recommended a yellow PMD. Game on! Almost every other cast resulted in either a fish taking the fly or at minimum popping it out of the water. I didn't catch any giants but all the fish were breathtaking in color and vigor. I hardly even stopped to take pictures. It was only when my girlfriend arrived, that she began to take pictures for me of my quarry. What a blast it was, and it marks the first time I have ever fished a river for trout and been able to exclusively use dry flies.
After a brief lunch, we headed into town to buy some more PMD's as I only had one with me. Then to my absolute delight, Jane decided she wanted to learn how to fly fish. After a paltry shotgun lesson on fly casting on the water she was on her own. I will admit I am far from being an accomplished casting instructor but honestly she did great. Credit solely to her on this. She was able to generally put the fly where it needed to be, make minor modifications, and even had two fish hit the fly. She didn't land one but to say I was proud would be an understatement. Unfortunately, around this time the hatch began to die down and we went in pursuit of new and less congested water further downstream.
We didn't bag any more fish at our last location but the sunsetting on the mountains offered a breathtaking backdrop to an already incredible canvas. One day on the Frying Pan was too short a time to experience this wonderful river, it takes time to learn any new body of water and that is especially true for one like this with such finicky fish. That being said I left not with regret that I couldn't stay another day but with a grateful heart that I was able to be and partake in truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever fished.