One Week Away; Fly Fishing the Arkansas River

Among my various addictions is Fly Fishing, and among the greatest satisfactions of that addiction is a trip to the Arkansas River in Colorado for the famed Caddis Fly Hatch. Having moved away I can only pass on my memoirs in hopes that others will venture forth and enjoy one of natures true wonders.

There are many resources to aid the intrepid outdoors-man on this quest. Here’s my basic rig for this excursion. A nine foot fly rod in five weight, with a six weight, weight forward line. I use a number four or five tapered leader coupled with about eighteen inches of shock tippet one size smaller. Waders are a plus but really are just not necessary to have fun catching trout along this stretch of river in most places. So, if you are just starting out as a fly fisher don’t stay home for lack of gear! I use a surgeons knot to connect the two. It is strong, and easily tied stream side.

As of late there have been many new fly patterns developed, and some may show promise. However, I find that many, if not most of them are designed to catch fishermen rather than fish. Those brilliant sparkly creations appear to spook fish more than anything else from my observations. Stick with tried and true patterns such as the Elk Hair Caddis .  Size’s sixteen and eighteen will be the big producers, and in a few weeks size fourteen gray patterns are real producers about two miles down stream from the prison near Salida.

In my experience there is really no need to hit the water at sunrise, as the real action most often is in the afternoon. For some reason cloud cover plays a big part. It doesn’t matter if the clouds are coming or going overhead, changing conditions get the trout rising. Cast upstream at about a fifty degree angle allowing the fly to drift toward swirls and rocks. Bouncing the fly off of a rock face in a not so delicate presentation is also effective for taking normally well educated, spooky trout.

Should a sudden, and hopefully short chill put the brakes on the Caddis hatch, pull out those Colorado stand-by’s that seem to work year round, BWO’s and Midges! Most of all, enjoy being in one of those majestic places that we are blessed with!

Resources close to the Denver metropolitan area.

Discount Anglers on South Sante Fe is a “best buy” if your pocket book resembles mine!

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