If you’re literally waiting for Mother’s Day to fish the Mother’s Day caddis hatch on the Arkansas River, you should go ahead and make other plans. Make those brunch reservations to spend time with the woman that brought you into this world. My point? Do not wait! The hatch is happening now – as in, right now. Go!
As of today (April 24), the hatch has not reached as far up as Howard. It works its way up the Ark from Canon City to Salida as the temperatures rise. The water has to reach about 55 degrees on a consistent basis for the most prolific hatches. Juan Ramirez, one of our guides, suggests fishing the entire hatch cycle – from larva to adult – especially if you start the day nymphing. And he says be ready for the hatch to explode in the early afternoon.
There’s nothing like seeing all the action with those adults flitting and fluttering on the surface.
Between the Lone Pine pull-out and Cotopaxi has been on fire. I fished several sections of the river yesterday and had great luck between Lone Pine and the Loma Linda motel / campground between 11:00 and 1:00. Fish #4 was the largest, a nice 16” brown who hit and ran for it. Later in the afternoon, I fished below the bridge at Texas Creek and caught a half a dozen browns ranging in size from 12-14” in the 45 minutes I was there. On my way home, I even fished for a few minutes downstream from Five Points and ended the day with a feisty 12” brown on the second cast there. (You can see a map of The Ark here.)
Fish are rising where you would expect them to be – along the bank and behind the large boulders further out. Upstream casts behind some structure or into some seams produced those hard strikes right when the fly hits the water. Be ready – first cast and every cast for some hard takes. As always on the Ark, be careful and attentive when you are wading. This is a rugged freestone river, and you can come up on a deep hole in a matter of two steps.
Patterns? Anything caddis. Taylor Edrington at Royal Gorge Anglers recommended black bodied caddis patterns, and it was good advice. I used a black foam-bodied caddis and it was so effective, I had to switch it out because it got hammered so hard that the foam was disintegrating. No matter. The next brachys pattern I put on was equally productive. Swing by the Covey and we’ll get your fly box ready for a great day.
So, go! Make those brunch plans and spend May 10th with Mom, but go fish the Ark now.
301 Fly Tying with Greg Blessing: Colorado Guide flies, Part 1
Fy Tying with Juan Ramirez. Caddis