Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Caddis Hatch article for Taos News

                April 1st officially marks the beginning of the New Mexico fishing season.   You can purchase your 2011 fishing license at any license vendor including, you guessed it, Taos Fly Shop.  Though we have had some decent early season fishing this month, April looks much more promising.
                April fishing tends to showcase the best and worst of northern New Mexico fly fishing.  It is a month filled with hits and misses and “you shoulda been here yesterday’s.”  The Rio Grande’s epic caddis hatch occurs in April, though early run-off and bad spring weather often spoils it.  Many years I see the biggest fish caught in April, though these brilliant moments in fly fishing are usually clouded by tough days spent battling spring winds.
                This April seems to be shaping up well for us fisherman.  We have not had much snow in the mountains and there is virtually no snow at low elevations and south-facing slopes.    These factors should mean that early run-off will not disrupt the Caddis hatch, which usually peaks around Tax day.
                The first few days of the Caddis hatch are the most intense.  The bugs start hatching on the lower river and the hatch moves upstream into the end of April.  At first, catching fish on a fly is nearly impossible.  There are so many real insects on the water, that your fly has little chance of finding the mouth of feeding trout.  Also, the volume of food is so high at the beginning of the hatch that the fish only need to feed a few minutes a day, making your window of good fishing very small.  Staying just in front of, or behind, the thickest part of the hatch will yield the best results.
                This is where the hard working fisherman can benefit.  Timing is everything during the hatch, and the guy or gal who spends every evening on the water will be more likely to find themselves at just the right stretch of river, at just the right time. If you wait to hear about it from a fishing buddy, fly shop, or newspaper, chances are you will be too late!
                The best time of day to fish the hatch is in the evening, after the sun falls below the canyon wall and the water is shaded.  Only then do the wary trout feel comfortable feeding in shallow water close to shore.  Most Caddis imitations work well though I have a few favorites including the Goddard Caddis and Bloom’s Parachute Caddis.  Fishing these two patterns together-about 24” apart- can be deadly.  Fishing these flies on a “dead drift” works great but sometime the trout will prefer the flies to be skated on the surface of the water.  This is easily accomplished by lifting your rod tip during the drift at a slow steady pace.  If done correctly, the fly will make a “V” shaped wake behind it.
                So dig the fishing gear out of the garage and dust off your fly rod.  If you are willing to battle the spring elements and put your time in, you will be rewarded!

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