On the fly: The caddis hatch!
Vail CO, Colorado
ROARING FORK VALLEY ” The caddis hatch ” an eagerly awaited event for this angler if only so she can tie on a fly pattern that she can actually see ” has begun in earnest on the Colorado and lower Roaring Fork rivers.
A dry caddis was also working well as an indicator on the Fryingpan River last weekend, with a small black midge trailing. The caddis actually enticed a few strikes.
While snow and rain Tuesday put a damper on the fishing for all but the hardiest anglers, skies are expected to begin clearing Wednesday and relatively pleasant weather is forecast into the coming weekend.
“I think that this next several days should be very good fishing,” predicted Tim Heng at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.
The Roaring Fork, muddied Tuesday by flows from Snowmass Creek and the Crystal River, should start to clear after the precipitation moves out. That, along with the caddis hatch, make for some promising conditions, according to Heng.
On the middle Fork, between Basalt and Carbondale, he recommends blue-wing olive patterns.
Heng suggested a dark, size 16 or 18 caddis dry fly on the lower Fork, below Carbondale, and the electric caddis, buckskin caddis and LaFontaine sparkle pupa if the trout aren’t taking dries.
Drew Reid at Roaring Fork Anglers in Glenwood Springs recommended the western coachman and LaFontaine as emerger patterns, and a No. 14 or 16 dark-body caddis on the lower Fork and the Colorado. The dry-fly fishing is best in the mid- to late afternoon, he said.
On the upper Fork, above Old Snowmass, a blue wing olive hatch has been producing some dry-fly action at about 1 to 2 p.m., according to Chris Lemons at Aspen Flyfishing. A few caddis are starting to flit about in the upper valley, as well.
“Up here, the fish aren’t really keyed into that yet,” Lemons said.
On the Fryingpan, blue-wing olive dries, small pheasant tail nymphs and BWO emerger patterns are still the best bet, according to Heng.
In general, all but the upper reaches of the Roaring Fork tend to be muddy in the morning, but clear up by afternoon. Just a week or two of spring fishing may remain, before warm temperatures produce the annual runoff torrent on both the Fork and Colorado.
The dam-controlled Pan is also likely to see water levels rise, as Ruedi Reservoir fills, but doesn’t experience the blowout that can last most of May and into June on the other rivers.
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