About five years ago, in the middle of May, my wife and I were standing on the F Street Bridge in Salida, Co. That bridge just happens to span the Arkansas River at the end of Old Town. I had persuaded her to come with me to view the Caddis hatch in all it’s glory. Know that I also had to promise a couple of good dinners as well as some unlimited shopping in Salidas’ Old Town District.
Anyway, it was about 6:00 PM when we were on the bridge. Looking up river into the west sun, we viewed an absolute blizzard of Caddis flies over the river. The air was thick with them. They were so profuse that they were all over our clothing, in our hair and in our ears. My wife said that she was excited for me; but that she wanted a class of wine INDOORS.
We have caddis hatches all over Colorado, but I don’t think there are any that are more exciting than what happens on the Arkansas River. They begin in late April/Early May downstream and progress up the river. Do yourself a favor and go. Your first stop is to visit ArkAnglers Fly Shop. Caddis take the form of nymphs, emergers, adult males as well as females, dying caddis and dead but still floating caddis. And, I probably have missed a step along the way. The experts at ArkAnglers will set you straight as to what flies you should be using at various times of the day.
This bug phenomenon is sometimes called the Mothers Day Hatch. This year, Mothers Day was a little early; so, we have moved on to mid-May. If you hurry, you could still make the river work in the middle of the month. Be aware that the runoff is going to commence soon. That can blow the river apart so don’t tarry.
Lastly, if you buy your flies, be prepared to buy several patterns as what is needed changes hourly. Again, go see the fly shop previously mentioned. Enjoy the glory of the hatch!
Feature Image from RiverKeeper Flies