On the Fly: April’s gifts | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: April’s gifts

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
Matt Ippoliti and a young client on the Fryingpan.
Photo courtesy of Taylor Creek

Tired of midge fishing for the past five months? April is a gift for winter-weary fly-fishers here in the valley.

Blue-winged olives are the harbinger of spring here, and there is some furious surface activity already underway on the lower Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. BWOs, or baetis, are on the scene in spring and fall, and the fish are keyed in on them almost exclusively at this point. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Just mentioning the word “caddis” causes most of us to shudder and salivate in anticipation of skating dries and exploding surface action. Tax day through Mother’s Day is the sweet spot for caddis fishing, even though they will be on the menu for the next five months. Be on the water midday and again at dusk to keep that rod bent. Most people say the Arkansas River has the best caddis fishing, but local guides know better.

Golden stoneflies are the giants amongst lilliputian bugs we normally deal with, and these aquatic double cheeseburgers are in the process of molting right now. Stoneflies are extremely vulnerable to trout when they shed their exoskeletons and are temporarily whitish-yellow in color, and it’s no secret that blonde stonefly nymphs are on the end of many fly fishers tippets right now.

April also brings pike and carp fishing back to the forefront, especially for guides’ day-off excursions. Most people jealously guard their secret spots, especially when it comes to carp, and for good reasons. Tricking these paranoid 10-, 20- and 30-pound omnivores isn’t easy, and can be just as challenging as stalking bonefish on Bahamian flats.

Before you know it, we will be talking about green drakes, pale morning duns and yellow sallies, and midging will seem like a distant memory. On those complex hatch summer days, you just may long for those simplified midge-only winter hatches! Be careful what you wish for.

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