On the fly: Talkin’ caddis
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – Caddis, caddis, caddis. That’s the talk of the town for anglers throughout the Roaring Fork Valley right now.
There’s no doubt that the single biggest benefit of a low-water year is the superb early-season fishing that’s currently taking place. Our spring caddis hatch typically coincides with the front end of runoff, making this hatch often difficult to fish as water clarity becomes an issue.
As runoff continues, the caddis hatch will begin to quiet down. Thus, the smart angler will be on the water as much as possible until runoff forces one to go elsewhere. Keep in mind that about a foot to a foot and a half of water visibility is all that’s needed to have good fishing conditions.
The caddis hatch the past few days has been so heavy that people are calling it a hatch of biblical proportions. This is certainly one of the few hatches where I tell people that, if you’re squeamish about bugs, don’t go. The caddis will crawl in your nose, up your shorts, down your waders and into any other place you could possibly think of. I love it!
A word of advice: Wear a face sun mask like a Buff to avoid caddis crawling in your mouth, nose and ears.
On my most recent outings to the Colorado and the Roaring Fork, the fishing was phenomenal to say the least. ut, it didn’t start out that way. My friends and I started out fishing the typical deep runs and pools and caught just a small handful of fish. As soon as we moved into the faster pocket water we immediately began hooking fish after fish. For two solid hours we stroked fish after fish. The following day on the Roaring Fork confirmed our pattern: When fish are eating caddis, fish the fast water.
Shallow nymph rigs or dry/dropper/dropper rigs are best. Prior to the hatch, anglers will want to focus on caddis larva and pupa imitations fished behind flies like rubberleg stones, San Juan worms or prince nymphs. Through the hatch, high floating caddis dries like ethawing caddis, caddis variants or stimulators are best. Behind your dry fly, hang a soft hackle caddis or a small prince nymph about 12 to 18 inches below your dry and hold on. The takes can only be described as explosive or violent.
As Lefty Kreh would say, “The fishing is so good, you’ll think you were there yesterday.”
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