On the fly: Spring caddis hatch has sprung | AspenTimes.com

On the fly: Spring caddis hatch has sprung

Justin Moore
On the Fly

We are now midway through April, which means warmer temperatures, longer days, wildflowers and … caddis. This annual event, dubbed the "Mother's Day Hatch," has already begun. Most of you know how intense this hatch can be; for those who do not, you are in for a treat. Not only will you see them by the millions, but you will have them crawling all over your body. It's almost disorientating when they begin to erupt from the water's surface, flying up into the air and skittering up stream.

The caddis belong to the insect order trichoptera (hair wings), comprising of thousands of species across the Rocky Mountain West. They endure a standard insect life pattern: egg, larva, pupa, adult. The adults can live for several days to weeks, emerging to complete their life cycle and lay eggs. Temperature is the true trigger to this hatch; therefore, after this current cold spell, be on the lookout for a blizzard caddis hatch on both the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers.

As for when to be on the river, learning aspects of a caddis hatch will allow you to hook up on fish from mid-day throughout the evening. Hot, bright, sunny days prove to heighten the hatch, but nothing beats a good lightning round at twilight when the females return to lay eggs. The caddis will move upstream as the temps get warmer, but with warmer temperatures comes higher flows.

Technique is key when fishing this often overwhelming hatch. Unlike our pristine blue wing olives, who gracefully float downstream with little movement, caddis are constantly struggling to lift off. Bust out your dry shake and favorite floatant to keep your fly buoyant, and attempt to "skate" your offering with down and across-stream casts. The take on a caddis is far from delicate, if you give your fly the right movement be ready for an aggressive strike. Some of the best dry fly fishing of the year is here. Are you ready?

This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.

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