Colorado River Salmonfly Hatch Update – June 5, 2014
June 05th, 2014
Yesterday, Wednesday June 4, was the second day since the start of a noticeable emergence. We had two boats on the water and here is what we found.
There are a reasonable amount of adult Pteronarcys on the river. If you look, you will find them in the bushes and later in the day there were a hand full flying. Both boats were able to get fish on nymph patterns, both for Salmonflies as well as beaded searching patterns but, were un-able to get any fish to rise to adult Salmonfly patterns. In fact, the few fish that did rise appeared to be taking the adult Caddis that are present.
It is still a little too early to say how this will play out. It is indeed a big water year and that can have a huge impact on every hatch, not just this particular one. There are many things to take into account with this. Most notably accessibility. With just about four times the normal volume of water for this time of year, the river is a totally different animal than you may be used to seeing. Entire islands are under water and new islands have emerged where there were none. In many places the river is so far out of it’s banks that you may have to wade across 40 feet of submerged willows to find the main channel, only to find that too deep and fast to be holding fish.
Due to this, it will be necessary to focus on manageable spots to fish. Look for seams and the quiet water adjacent to them, in spots where it is reasonably certain to be a normal channel of the river, thus less likely to have submerged willows. Below islands, in the sheltered water, can also offer good opportunities for finding laid up fish feeding on nymphs. Along with large back eddies with a moving current.
As for the hatch and what to expect. It’s still hard to tell at this point. On low water years the hatch comes all at once in a large emergence over a relatively short period of time and early on the calendar. The big water years tend to be much later before they start, with a longer running occurrence to spread the bugs out so that it never seems like a large hatch. The only thing we can recommend is be persistent. If this is day 3 of the hatch, there is a reasonable chance that there may be greater numbers of adult bugs present, as well now possibly some egg layers returning to the water creating a situation for fish to be looking to the surface.
We will continue to have guides on the river every day through this hatch and keep our information current. Feel free to call with any questions you may have.