The season of bobbers and tiny midges is now in our rearview and if you know me, I couldn’t be happier. From here on out I try my best to avoid bobber fishing (indicator if you’re fancy). Are bobbers effective? Yes. Fun? That’s debatable. When I get the chance to throw an oversized dry fly, I tend not to hesitate. Something about the delicacy of casting a dry, giving the fly a bit of movement, and watching the eat is what gets the people (me) going. Why am I ranting about big dry flies? As most of the world already knows, the salmonfly hatch has been happening on the Colorado River. Unfortunately, by the time you read this “the hatch” might be winding down. The best parts of this hatch will last for about a week, but it’s possible to catch the tail-end as trout have a hard time turning away a big meal.
When I heard the big bugs were around, I gave our guide Davis Murane a ring to see if he was willing to spend a day hiking and tossing big dries. He said "oh hell yeah" and I wouldnt expect any other response. Davis was born and raised in Colorado and knows his way around this state very well. You'll either see him in the shop or on the water so be sure to say hi next time you're around. We weren't sure if we timed the hatch correctly but the only way to know is to go. Read along to find out how the day turned out for us...
Easy rigging for this hatch... Water conditions on the upper Colorado are unusually low and clear. This called for sizing down our tippet from 3x to 4x in order fool some of the pickier eaters.
Safe to say the hatch was on...
Strolling up to the good water. Our goal for the day was to fish the shallow riffles and rock gardens with a single dry. Skating a dry fly around structure is almost the top water version of fishing a streamer. You can strip it, skate it, slap it. The more action to the fly the better.
Laying it tight to the bank. On our walk up we spooked several fish feeding a foot or two off the bank. Naturually, that's where we started casting.
Aggressive little brown right off the bat.
Skating Reed's Rogue Chubby fly around the rock gardens.
Whammy! Hooked up to another canyon dweller.
Wrangling it around the rocks.
Quality scoop from our guy Davis.
Canyon browns never disappoint.
Davis found a promising riffle drop off.
I told Davis he has to catch a train trout. He did. This one was pushed up against the fast water. Due to the unusal low flows and warm water, we found a ton of fish in faster, oxygenated water.
A bow with a big appetite. Both the light and dark color salmonfly were producing throughout the day. At this point it didn't matter what we used. The fish were willing to eat anything skated on the surface.
Our time in the canyon was coming to an end. By this point Davis put about 30 fish in the net. Nothing huge was landed but does that really matter when you get the chance to throw a size 6 dry fly all day? Eh, not really.
Just one more... maybe two.
Going to be hard to top the 2021 salmonfly hatch. To say we had a good time would be an understatement.
Thanks for reading, until next year!