Sticks and Stones…

The current volcanic activity in Iceland is reminder to the human race about who is really in charge here. We might like to think we are in control, but every now and then Mother Nature has a way of effortlessly reasserting herself. A little closer to home, rain and low level snow melt are lately having as much of an impact on the humble fisherman as volcanic ash is on international travel and commerce.

Fishing at springtime is generally fraught with variables. Wind, fluctuating water temperatures and changeable weather can combine to make even the most sagacious of anglers eat humble pie. This year, heavy rain and a belated melt of low level snow have produced a greater degree of unpredictability than usual. Below Salida, Badger Creek has been busy emptying murky water into the Arkansas, giving the river the color of late May runoff , while a recent heavy and much welcome overnight rain brought a nice slug of murky water all the way  downstream from Granite.

Consequently, hatches have been sporadic, fishing a little unpredictable, and you have to make sure you bring your own fun along with you. Fortunately, with Mort and Will as fishing buddies, fun is seldom in short supply, even if I spend more time snagging sticks, hooking rocks and tangling in trees than catching fish. Right now, with the variable conditions, it is more important than ever to: 1) have an adequate supply of beer on board, and 2) keep an eye on water temperature as it changes throughout the day. Cooler temps in the morning mean more midge activity, with blue wings and caddis becoming more active as the day advances and the sun warms the water.

Of course, hatching bugs and feeding fish don’t necessarily go together. I have yet to see consistent dry fly activity, with the fish still preferring to take their food sub surface when they are in the mood. For me lately, pheasant tails and olive caddis pupae have been the best producers, with micro olive mayflies worth a cast or two also.

If you can believe the ten day weather forecast, this warming trend should continue, with hopefully more consistent hatches and predictable feeding patterns. Nevertheless, in the meantime take along a sense of humor, keep changing your flies around, and be thankful you are not stranded in an airport departure lounge somewhere.

For up to the minute fishing conditions, click here.

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