Mother’s day is here, and what an amazing day it is! We get to celebrate the women who gave us life, helped shape who we are and supply us with a never ending stream of love. But, as luck would have it, it’s also the namesake of the prolific “Mother’s Day Caddis” hatch on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers.
Though it’s called the “Mother’s Day” hatch, this incredible event typically begins before Mother’s Day when water temperatures start to rise in the spring. This change in water temperature triggers intense Caddisfly hatches and the trout gorge themselves from late April through the month of May. All of this activity provides anglers with the opportunity to take advantage of this feeding frenzy and have some excellent dry fly fishing!
Caddis are a staple food source for trout throughout the spring, summer and early fall, but what makes the Mother’s Day Caddis hatch so fun is that it’s our first real opportunity of the year to do some action packed dry fly fishing. Like any hatch, timing and location are paramount to success, so don’t expect it to be lights out everywhere all at once. Generally, activity starts lower down on the Colorado River, and moves upstream and into the Roaring Fork as temperatures increase throughout the watershed. But, with a little patience and persistence you can fill your net with brown and rainbow trout!
There are a wide range of Caddisflies that inhabit our rivers, but during an active hatch classic dry flies like a size 14-16 Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis, or Missing Link Caddis will all produce great results! Take some time to identify a pod of feeding fish, and note the bugs coming off of the water. Match your fly selection as closely as possible to the size and color of the Caddis you see coming off of the water.
But, Caddis dries aren’t the only thing on the menu during the spring! Bring a few different pre-rigged set ups to maximize your time fishing and dial in what’s working best. If you only see fish feeding occasionally on the surface, try fishing a dry dropper set up. Lead with a Dry Fly that floats well (small Stimulators or larger Elk Hair Caddis are good choices) and drop a Guide’s Choice or CDC Hare’s Ear, Sparkle Caddis or Dirty Bird nymph off of the back. If that isn’t producing, try a nymph set up with Stonefly, Caddis and Baetis nymph patterns to see if your luck improves!
There is a lot to celebrate this Mother’s Day, and it certainly isn’t about the fishing, it’s about all of the incredible mothers out there! But, if your mom likes to fish, get her out on the river to celebrate. The fish are feeling the love too! Don’t be afraid to reach out if you have any questions about fishing this hatch, we’re always here to help!
Written by Cian McGillicuddy, Photos by Anna Stonehouse