Working full time in the fly shop and guiding leaves me one day a week if I’m lucky to go fishing, so when that day comes, it doesn’t much matter what the weather or water conditions are like, I’m still going to wet a line. Every day it seems people are coming in the shop smiling and reminiscing on what a great time they had catching fish on caddis in the gorgeous spring weather. Of course the day I had this week to fish, the temperature drops 30 degrees and it rains, effectively halting the hatch, but what am I going to do, sit inside and pout? That would be a waste of precious fishing hours, and besides, foul weather does a fine job of clearing the competition out of my favorite holes. For me there’s even something strangely satisfying about fishing in the rain, but I can’t decide if the ability to enjoy fishing in all weather conditions is a blessing or a curse. Sometimes it puts me in a fisherman’s paradise, sometimes I end up cold and wet. It’s not an acquired trait, it just comes naturally, I simply must fish, dammit.
Caddis continue to pop on sunny afternoons, with the bulk of the hatch slowly moving upriver. Watch the water release charts to avoid the occasional pulse of one unit or so that usually comes in dirty. Flows from 650-850cfs have been consistent and fishing well with #14-16 Princes, Copper Johns, various caddis pupa, and #18 Root Beer midges, Super midges, and Zebra midges. Sight fishing a caddis dry to a rising brown is the most fun challenge around at the moment. Try a #16 EC caddis or Elk Hair with a small green soft hackle trailing behind, and let ‘er swing at the end of your drift. If the browns are not rising, get some weighted flies down to the bottom near mid-river ledges.
Consistently low water is fishing well with midges, scuds, and soft hackles fished gently (small indicators, no split shot) in the slow pools. Try Root Beer and Zebra midges, Hunchback scuds and micro scuds, and Wotton’s sowbugs. Setting the flies and indicator down lightly on the water with as little splash as possible is key in the flat, calm water. Takes are often very subtle, with indicators barely twitching or dipping under the surface. Sight fishing a San Juan worm with no weight or indicator is also great fun if light allows good visibility.