Tag: caddisflies

Preview: Spring On The Arkansas River

Everyone around these parts is hankerin’ for some Arkansas River caddis action. The Salida Citizen offers a preview:

The fish that we did catch seemed to be concentrated heavily in the feed lanes and foam lines, rather than up in the pockets and riffles. Further down river, it seems to be the same story, with reports of caddis hatching en masse around the Canon City area as far upriver as Parkdale. While it is spectacular to be in the middle of the hatch, it is usually the case that the more bugs there are on the water, the more fishermen there are thrashing the water trying their best to imitate them. For this reason, I usually like to avoid the hatch proper. It may lead to catching less fish, but makes for a more relaxing time, which is what its all about, after all.

Hayden Mellsop also noted that the intermittent spurts of trout frolic are what beer and coolers are for. I don’t generally drink on the river, and you can call me a girly-man for it if you like. I’m oft described as anal-retentive and in need of significant amounts of psychotherapy analytical and methodical while fly fishing, and boozing it up mixes with my wading skills like tractor trailers full of fresh cow manure and icy mountain back roads. Ugly.

Further, I consider fly fishing serious business, and must pick a bone regarding the whole bit about relaxation as a result. I hit the water, fly rod in hand, with one goal in mind: wholesale slaughtering (a.k.a. dishing out mass helpings of embarrassment at your expense). Stay in your hole when you see me coming, because the moment you leave I’m known for hopping in and picking the joint apart. I’ll tell you what flies I used after you take a dozen plus picture of ME having the time of MY life. This is how I roll.

Right about now your probably wondering why this Gracie character is talking so much smack before a trip…”the guy is always the epitome of reservedness, is he not?” Well I’m headed Salida way in a few short hours, and plan on spending the weekend showing the finned denizens of the Arkansas River who rules the roost. There will be case upon case of [cheap domestic] beer chilling back at the ranch, and at the end of each day I’m expecting my compadres to gather around me seeking whatever tidbits that may come out of my trap they can use to improve upon their success. And handing me tasty golden beverage after tasty golden beverage, so I don’t have to interrupt the knowledge transfer for a trip to the fridge.

In other words, I’m setting the stage for a weekend of a hootin’ and a hollerin’. In reality, I stand a good chance of getting skunked.

MG signing off (to pack my bags)

Wednesday Lunch at the Brown Trout School: Caddisflies

Yes, I played hooky yesterday…literally

The weather was supposed to be perfect, and the flows were top notch. There was a full to waxing moon. It’s mid-June, meaning there should be plenty of bugs around. I felt lucky, so I ditched my class and visited the Brown Trout School instead.

catch-releaseThe morning started off as usual, with a Thermos full of coffee and a stress-free morning drive over the Continental Divide. I hit the water about 8am, and started tossing streamers – by 9:30 or so the air was warming up, but I was feeling pretty cold with the rod (i.e I was getting skunked). Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before the caterers started bringing in the lunch carts – I saw a caddisfly scoot by, and soon thereafter all the kids must have heard the cafeteria bell. It never turned into a rising fish melee, but it was pretty easy to figure out what the students wanted – all you had to do was slap the back of your neck, clench your fist, and then look in the palm of your hand. It’s nothing new for this time of year, but it’s always a hoot to be on the river when the Trichoptera are doing their dance.

The flies worth carrying were…uh…[I’m tired of saying it – read the title again if you’re still lost]. More specifically, I threw green and blue Copper Johns, blue/green IKOs, white beadhead nymphs, and copper on black zebra midges until the sun was beating on my head. Thereafter, I milled around waiting for a cloud to come by – then I’d toss a #16/#18 tan or gray elk hair dry on the quiet water behind any and every protruding boulder in sight. Tally for the day wound up a respectable eighteen or so (with an approximately 60/40 split between down and dry), and I lost nearly as many to pulled hooks (as well as two to outright snapped rigs after the fish hauled ass into rock gardens). All but a couple that got sent to the dean’s office were between 12 and 19 inches in length.

Moreso, I’m quite happy that I didn’t forget that I didn’t forget to put my camera in my vest, and spent at least an hour of the day snapping photos. I’m somewhat hesitant to grab more than a quick shot of this or that fish lying in net and in water, and have even been known to cringe at the sight of someone laying a fish on a bank next to a rod for photos. But I got lucky again – one pistol I hooked decided the river bottom was the safest place to be just long enough for me to unlatch the net on my back – then he darted back to the surface and straight into said net, immediately spitting out the fly. I figured he didn’t put up much of a fight, so I laid him up on a rock for digital posterity’s sake. When I stuck him back in the water, he bolted away just like I imagined he would.

Not a bad outing, even for senior skip day, although by the way my Blackberry lit up like a Christmas tree when I got back in cell range, I suspect I’ll be paying for it at least through Saturday.

Still fighting – schoolyard bully looked like he took it on the chin last week too