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Since I'm planning on fishing the Arkansas later this month for the caddis hatch and since I've never fished this river before I drove over today to check things out and even fish a bit. I stopped at the Arkanglers shop in town and met a couple of really nice guys who sold me some flies and offered some good advice about the current conditions. The river flow is healthy, not too bad, with visibility of a little less than two feet or so. The skies were clear, temps in the low 50's and the wind was pretty gusty (very gusty at times) on the river. I fished a 18 bead head flashback pheasant tail above an emerger and caught two browns of about 11-12 inches fairly quickly then things slowed down and caught nothing else in the three hours I fished. Both fish were caught in fast current below large rocks about 20 feet off shore. The Arkanglers fellows said the caddis hatch was nowhere near at present and my plans on being there later this month sounded pretty good to them. A fisherman from Oklahoma I spoke with on the river had been here for some days and said this year the weather was pretty cold and windy compared to previous years' trips at this same week. I was really impressed with the Arkansas and am looking forward to some dry fly fishing on this river later this season.
 

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EdwardS said:
The Arkanglers fellows said the caddis hatch was nowhere near at present and my plans on being there later this month sounded pretty good to them.
Funny I was told the caddis hatch is starting already but because of the winds it hasnt blown up yet.
Here is an email I got from Greg Felt of ArkAnglers, go to their site and sign up for the newsletter he sends out some pretty good information on the Arkansas.

The Arkansas River sits on the cusp of the annual brachycentrus caddis hatch. We have had reports of intermittent mild hatches from Canon City upstream as far as Texas Creek but high winds over the weekend seem to have kept the emergence from exploding into the phenomenon we have come to expect. As winds drop today and the days that follow, this hatch should gather steam on the lower river bringing fish and fishermen to the surface of the Arkansas for one of the great Rocky Mountain Rites of Spring.



Current flows on the river are 150 cfs in the Hayden Meadows area, 266 at Granite, 300 in Buena Vista, 350 in Browns Canyon, and 390 at Wellsville and Parkdale. These are good levels for floating below Salida, yet very approachable from a wading standpoint. Water quality has been clear on the upper river above Buena Vista and a bit murkier below Salida, though visibility there is at least two feet.



The caddis require a mid-day water temperature of about 54 degrees in order to generate a hatch. We are seeing these conditions in the Parkdale area at this time and continued warm weather will allow upstream water temperatures to ease up toward this level over the next month. We anticipate active caddis in Salida at about the end of April and in Buena Vista around May 10th. In the interim, blue wing olive mayflies continue to hatch in good numbers on cloudy days from Texas Creek on upstream with fair to good nymphing on brighter days. Trailing a blue wing olive emerger behind a nymph or dry fly rig (depending on what conditions dictate) is one of the most effective ways to approach the Arkansas right now. On a Saturday float trip in howling winds, 80% of the fish caught were on an unweighted Barr Emerger fished behind beadhead nymphs.



ArkAnglers has great availability now through the 27th for guided wade trips on our private water and we have openings for the 23rd -27th and May 3rd forward on our float fishing schedule. Strangely enough, Saturday May 6th has the best float availability of any day in the next three weeks. Please call us at 719-539-4223 or visit us at www.arkanglers.com for reservations or daily updates on conditions and hatches.
 

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I dont really pay to much attention to what people at the fly shop say or post on there board. I swear alot of the times they try to throw people off. Am I the only person who notices this ?
 

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fish or die said:
I dont really pay to much attention to what people at the fly shop say or post on there board. I swear alot of the times they try to throw people off. Am I the only person who notices this ?
I would say as this isnt very true, while it may happen once in a while a company will get a bad rep and lose alot of business doing this.... with how competative the fishing market is they need all the customers they can get.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
"Funny I was told the caddis hatch is starting already but because of the winds it hasnt blown up yet.
Here is an email I got from Greg Felt of ArkAnglers, go to their site and sign up for the newsletter he sends out some pretty good information on the Arkansas."

I meant the hatch was nowhere near Salida at this point. The Arkangler fellow did say the clear skies and windy days seemed to be holding things down at present. I've heard there are some caddis showing up downstream.
 

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fish or die said:
I dont really pay to much attention to what people at the fly shop say or post on there board. I swear alot of the times they try to throw people off.  Am I the only person who notices this ?
I hit the ArkAnglers quite a bit during the year for accurate fishing reports. Those guys, Greg and Rod Patch, are up front and very helpful. Dave at the Pueblo Ark Anglers is also an awsome guy who always has good info on the river.
There have been a few minor caddis hatches on the downstream end of the Ark, but nothing like what we have in store for later in April and early May. The only drawback for that time of year is that with the wind and hot temps we've been experiencing down here, you may find an early run off with lots of blown out water.
With the minor hatches going on the warmer days now, I would suggest hitting the river as soon as possible to avoid any runoff complications. There are enough caddis popping right now to keep the fish interested and emergers are absolutely deadly on those fish.
Fish a two fly rig, with a size 16 bhpt on top and a 16-18 bh pupae on bottom. You may want to use a split shot to get the rig down deeper, or go with a tungsten bead on your flies. My favorite color for this year so far has been lime green on the pupae.
You'll find a lot of fish in the feeding lanes during the morning when the sun is out. Anywhere you find deep water runs with a gravel dumper or two feeding into it, you'll find fish.
Oh, another hint, when fishing that rig with a strike indicator, watch that indicator closely! A lot of my bigger fish have come when the indicator just did something strange - changed direction or paused. Those fish have a knack for spitting a fly really fast, so be ready for a hook set from the moment the fly hits the water.
 
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