The Flats on the Frying Pan and Spawning Beds
Tailwater dynamics mess with the spawning cycles of many fish. At the Frying Pan redds can be seen on the flats almost year around if the flows are low, and fish shooting milk and eggs is very common. So I had a chat with some of the guys working at Taylor Creek Fly Shop is Basalt, CO. One of the guides said "that if it were up to him he would close the flats to fishing." I think after a lengthy discussion the ethical rules that apply to the flats and any river with actively spawning fish is as follows:
1. Do not cast to fish on redds
2. Try not to walk on any redds, including while playing a monster fish.
3. Fish the deeper slots where spawning doesn't occur, and fish are more likely to be feeding.
A Lesson on Mysis Shrimp
Mysis shrimp were first introduced into freshwater reservoirs to feed fish in the reservoirs, specifically Kokanee Salmon. In colorado the big three reservoirs where mysis shrimp were introduced were Ruedi, Taylor Park, and Dillon. Biologists never thought the shrimp would be a major food source for the fish in these tailwaters, and is an unexpected success story. From my knowledge in both Taylor Park and Ruedi the mysis shrimp have not damaged the reservoir ecosystems too badly, however Dillon is another story. Mysis Shrimp are glass like crustaceans and migrate vertically in the water column daily. They migrate up at night, and down during the day. Also they outcompete many fish fry to food sources such as a variety of zooplankton, and never really become a food source for the larger fish since the migration makes them unavailable to the fish.
However, everyday mysis shrimp are flushed out of the dams and into the tailwaters below. These high protein crustaceans are easy prey to trout since they supposably cannot survive in moving water, and some of the largest fish in the state congregate in the Blue River in Silverthorne, the Frying Pan River below Ruedi, and the Taylor River C&R below Taylor Reservoir. The mysis diet give great red coloration to both the rainbows and browns. When the Shrimp die, they change from a clear glass like color to a white color. So why aren't all mysis patterns fished in these tailwaters white? Will Sands, from Taylor Creek Fly Shop created the Sand's Epoxy Mysis pattern, which mimics a clear living mysis, not a dead mysis. He told me that if you seine these tailwater many of these shrimp have not turned white yet, especially when flows are high and many shrimp are released from the dam. When Will fishes mysis patterns he will usually rig two patterns the point fly being a white pattern and the dropper being a clear pattern, to find out what version the fish are keying in on that particular day.
Great Mysis patterns:
Sand's Epoxy Mysis
Charlie's (Craven) Mysis
Mayer's (Landon) Mysis