The caddis are coming

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
A strong caddis hatch.
Taylor Creek Fly Shops

The lower Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers are starting to make the switch from blue winged olives to caddis hatches. The first few days of the hatch are always interesting; it takes the fish a minute to remember what the heck caddis are. They are starting to recall now, and are looking up and eating adults after weeks of snacking on caddis larvae.

Last week’s refusals on big dry flies will turn in to this week’s ferocious takedowns. Running double dries is a deadly combination, and if you have trouble with one fish on the end of your line, try fighting two at once. The Roaring Fork is absolutely crawling with caddis larvae, and it’s time for caddis to start their annual rituals of hatching, mating, laying eggs and dying. Sex and death, as John Geirach says.

There are a few techniques that are crucial to your fishing time, starting with having plenty of floatant. Your line, leader, tippet and fly must float well, or you will be missing fish all day. Sunken dry flies usually don’t cut it with finicky trout, and caddis fishing requires high and dry presentations on your part. Imparting motion to your dry flies from the second they light upon the water until you go to recast is practically a must. Real caddis don’t just sit there and wait to get eaten, they are struggling to launch or at least make it to shore before trouble comes in the form of a hungry fish. Move them, skate them and “bump” them all the way through your drift.

Lastly, across and downstream casts make this much easier to do on your part. This technique has trickled into most of my dry fly fishing, whether it’s caddis, blue wings, pale morning duns, green drakes and even midges. Repositioning or twitching your flies is much easier when they’re downstream versus upstream. Be sure to get on the water on our upcoming hot and bright days, then get back to the water at dusk to catch the egg layer caddis frenzy. It’s time — are you ready?

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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