On the Fly: Big changes in the coming weeks

Ready for the big change-up? After a winter of squinting at your midge box, you can start to think about spring bugs like blue-winged olives and caddis. Down on the middle-to-lower Roaring Fork and Colorado River, BWOs have been strong for a few weeks now, and the caddis will be starting up next week, as well. High and bright sun in the forecast brings the best caddis hatches; cloudy days yield better mayfly hatches like springtime BWOs.

Twilight is an excellent time to fish caddis if you have to work all day, as the females return to the water to oviposit (lay eggs). We will be in the early stages of good caddis fishing next week, so you have time to get prepared. Remember, we fish caddis differently than mayfly hatches — you’ve got to skitter and skate those dry flies!

A Colorado River brown trout.
Courtesy of Scott Spooner

Midges are still important, especially on the ever-icy waters of the famed Fryingpan River. These bugs run the gamut, from a “huge” size-18 down to as small as you’re willing to tie on. Small winter stoneflies are everywhere on the upper river, the streamer game has been strong, and we should see dependable numbers of BWOs up there soon. Don’t overlook the lower reaches of the Fryingpan this time of year; it’s always warmer and oftentimes even buggier!

Don’t fret if you see some off-color water here and there. These are normal changes for this time of year and we typically don’t start to experience real runoff until mid-May. Dirty water should clue you in on trying some bigger flies like golden stones and caddis larva — and, you guessed it, worms! Some of our lower-elevation lakes are losing their ice caps now, and there is some spring warm water fishing on deck, too. In other words, it doesn’t matter where you go fish, just go!

This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or

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