On the Fly: The calm before the hatch
May 15, 2014
Even though we are beginning to experience runoff on the Roaring Fork, that doesn't mean the fishing will suffer dramatically. Sure, there will be days you have to choose your battles out there, but these conditions can make the fish even more predictable when it comes to where they hang out and what they choose to eat.
The visibility recently has been challenging early in the day (especially after hot previous days), but you can watch it clear dramatically as time progresses. Afternoon floats have been fairly successful because of this, especially for those who live and die by the dry fly or streamer. We suggest floating it all the way to Carbondale right now, as the window is short and precise at this point. The guides have been mopping it up with their clients recently, with a few misfire days thrown in when the bugs have been too heavy or the river stopped cooperating.
Speaking of hatches, the caddis have been simply pouring off above and below the confluence with the Crystal River. A few recent outings have been both extremely productive (11 out of 10) or so thick bug-wise the fish couldn't see the forest for the flies. Because of the raw numbers of naturals on and near the surface, sometimes you need to move upstream to a spot where the fish are turned on but the blanket hatch hasn't quite happened yet.
There is a reason our Mother's Day hatch is renowned as well as downplayed by locals who want it all to themselves, and this is the time to get off your butt and stay out until dark. (You might as well train now for the twilight Roaring Fork green drakes soon to come!)
You simply can't dead drift this hatch with any real success. Pick those flies up, lay them down, and skate, skitter and bump them to reassure the trout after getting their attention. Nymph with worms, stoneflies and your favorite caddis nymphs and pupae until the surface bite materializes. In other words, go fishing.
There is a bit of a hiccup this week with the reappearance of winter, but it looks to be warming again nicely by this coming weekend. Be prepared to check out a few spots and move up and down the valley as needed, and the hatch will erupt when we finally get a sunny day.
"On the Fly" is provided weekly by the staff at Taylor Creek Fly Shop in Basalt.