Posted By shefisher

We are in the midst of the famous Arkansas River so-called "Mother's Day Caddis Hatch." Truth is, it's usually over with, or nearly so, by the second Sunday in May. Spring in Colorado is an exciting ride. You never know from day to day whether it will rain, snow, sleet, hail, shine. Sometimes all will occur within a single day. The only constant is the wind. You know it will start, it's only a matter of when and how strong.

This past Monday was one of those "little bit of everything" days. A new friend came out for a morning guided trip with me. The morning's two big decisions were jacket or not, dry flies or nymphs. Answer to both questions was "Yes" Lots of switching back and forth as the conditions changed. Hmm, kind of like adapting to life.

Ark Brown Trout flyfishcafe.comFishing started fast, then slowed, then was close to spectacular. In fact, we were having so much fun that after the official end of the trip, we went fishing together elsewhere on the river. By the end of the day, we had not only had crazy-good fishing but had become quite good friends. What better day could there be?

Then came the next day. Bureau of Reclamation had been releasing some water from a side reservoir system upriver. That late-day release increased and, combined with some low elevation rain and snowmelt runoff, had turned the river into a higher, roily, dirty challenge. Fishing was tough. Caddis were few and fish were hunkered down. A few fish were caught from the occasional aerated side pockets, but diligence, patience and low expectations were the rule of the day. Quite a contrast to the day before.

Same river, same bugs, same fish – different experience altogether. Adapt. Roll with the punches. Changing the conditions is out of your control; accept it for what it is. Appreciate each day for what it is and make the best of it. Today is the only “today” you are going to have.

Just like real life.

Posted By shefisher

caddis flyThe caddis "blizzard" is on. The Arkansas River (Colorado) is renowned for its "Mother's Day" caddis hatch, though it begins in the lower stretches as early as Tax Day. Be in the right place mid- to late- afternoon to see the air filled with the aquatic-spawned adult moths and crazy splashing fish rising to gorge themselves on same. It's worth seeing even if you don't fish. This festival continues until the maturing bugs run out or snow runoff washes it down. It is an amazing entomylogical event.



Posted By shefisher

The fishing season has started in earnest now. River flows and weather may vary, but the bugs are moving and the fish are starting to get more interested. That keeps me busy, so this will be 3 reports in one.


CWF-NFR409 Bow
Report 1: Last Saturday, I was one of a half dozen instructor-guides who taught 3 sessions in a day-long flyfishing clinic for women. It was held at a rustic-deluxe dude ranch with 2 miles of a beautifully sculpted Rocky Mountain stream full of fat hog rainbow trout. It was a perfect midge and BWO kind of day - fog and occasional snow flurries. By the afternoon session most ladies were more interested in fishing than instruction, so the fish got a sampling of sticker-infested insects.


Report 2: Yesterday, we 2 went north of the nearest town to get away from the murky water and caddis-seeking crowds further south. We found lots of hungry browns and a couple nice rainbows willing to dance with our flies. The water was clear, and we had the place completely to ourselves. That is an increasingly rare pleasure these days, one we greatly appreciated. The afternoon was capped off by a nice BWO hatch. It won't be long until the predominant hatch will be rafts, kayaks and their touristy passengers on much of this river.


ArkRiver Brown 409

Report 3: Today, 4 of us set off to the south in search of the leading wave of emerging Brachycentrus caddis. The caddis were there, daring us to inhale, but the fish seemed oblivious to it all. It's interesting to me that trout will get so keyed in on the slender, delicate BWO mayfly that they will completely ignore the first day or 2 of the much more substantial meal that caddis flies offer. Maybe habits die hard, even with fish. At any rate, the twitching, skittering caddis finally drew some attention, causing their own demise while giving the flyfishers great pleasure in fooling a few finned ones with imitations of form and flitter.


The news of caddis spreads more rapidly than the hatch itself, populating the river with urban anglers in search of dry fly fishing nirvana. It's good for me that the next several days take me out of the combat zone to guiding on private water.


More news after the impending caddis chaos.




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