May 2nd, 2020 Game on!
We are seeing one of the best caddis fly hatches in years! The flows and temperatures are ideal for this to continue for a week or more.
Current river conditions:
Flows have been slowly rising each day with this incredible weather that we have been having in the Upper Arkansas River Valley. This is driving some early snow melt. Temps cool off a bit next week which should slow down some of the run off. Even though clarity is compromised at times, it is still fishing well.
Where to fish:
If caddis are what you are looking for I would focus on Hecla and downstream. They are moving upstream, but seem to be slow to move upstream of Browns Canyon Nation Monument. This could change. If you're planning to fish upstream of Browns, look for Blue Wing Olive hatches on those cloudy days. Chaffee County is closed to tourist, so if you do not reside in Chaffee County please wait to fish here until this public order has been lifted. We will keep you posted
One of Colorado's most beloved hatches is the Mother's Day Caddis Fly hatch here on the Arkansas River. The hatch is here early this year and it is in full swing! A few years back a large early flush of water was sent down the river right as the caddis hatch was kicking off. This reduced the number of caddis in the river and has taken years to recover. Their numbers are on the rise and this years flows are helping them to flourish! BWO's are also coming off in large numbers when conditions are right. Partly cloudy days are what you look for to have success with the BWO's.
What to fish:
You will have success with many different tactics right now, I actually can't think of one that would not work. Double dry, hopper dropper, nymph rig or streamer set up will all put fish in the net when used at the right time.
My go to right now would be a double dry, you might land more fish on a nymph rig but why not fool some fish on the top. Nothing fancy here lead with an Elk Hair Caddis or an Element Foam Caddis size 14 to 16 in tan or brown. Follow behind that with 12 inches of tippet and BWO Parachute Dry size 16. This combination should fool most rising fish. If fish are not rising drop a Caddis Lime Tungsten nymph or a Caddis Sparkle Olive Bead Head. If you find yourself with higher than expected flows and cloudy water try throwing a streamer up next the bank something like a Sex Dungeon in black or a Sculpzilla Conehead in olive, natural or black. Many different combinations will work and you don't have to get fancy, a good old hare's ear or prince nymph can be all you need.
Check flows and look for places and time of day that is seeing the flows drop and you will find clear water and fish feeding more actively. Flows are up right now, but we should see them come down early to mid next week. So come and get it while you can. If you are looking to book a guided trip give us a call (719) 221-1164 and stop by to check out UpRiver Fly Shop, located in downtown BV inside of CKS Main Street. Our full service shop has all the flies and gear you need to get out on the water.