Fly fishing

Column on the fly: April showers? Hours of fishing power

April means a lot to fly fishermen. For the most part, it rings during the good-weather fishing season, as the first waves of blue-winged olives and caddis arrive with those April showers. If you’ve ever experienced one of our blizzard caddy traps on the Colorado or Roaring Fork rivers, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a real “breathe through your teeth” hatch, with bugs crawling in your nose and between your eyes and polarized lenses. And it all starts now.

Afternoons and early evenings can be magical as adult females return to the water to lay their eggs on the surface of the water. Good models to carry are Missing Links, Pearl and Elks and the E / C Caddis. Suggested caddis nymphs are the Z-Wing, the sweet hackle hare ears, and the ever popular Prince’s pearly nymph. Remember this: Sunny days should favor caddis, while cloudy days result in heavier mayflies.

Blue-winged olives, or baetis, are our valley’s most prolific mayflies, even though they get the second bill behind our famous green drake hatch. BWOs are already hatching in good numbers along the Lower Roaring Fork to Basalt, and your best bet to catch that trap is in the afternoon. Wear a few different patterns and figure out which fly the fish wants that day. We strongly suggest Perfect Baetis, No-Hackle BWOs, Parachute Adams and Roy’s Fryingpan Emergers in sizes 20-22.

BWOs will be slightly larger on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers (size 18-20) and are smaller on the Fryingpan (size 20-22). Many of us fish for a dry fly followed by an emerging or nymph, as many naturals get caught in or under the film. The preferred transmitters for the Fryingpan are black Mayhems, Chocolate Thunders and RS2, in addition to Roy Palm’s Biot Baetis, Sparklewing RS2 and Jerome Baetis for the fork and Colorado. These outbreaks are directly related to water and air temperatures, and with April’s warming trends, fishing action is only getting better.

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

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