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3 Flies for the Week: April 22

3 Flies for the Week: April 22

I’m sure everyone knows this by now, but the water is on the rise! We’re most definitely in the first stages of runoff in most areas of the state. This is not a bad thing though, higher flows bring a lot of food down and the fish will absolutely take advantage. Keep in mind, with the higher flows brings dirtier water so there is some adjustment needed to catch fish right now. In rivers affected by runoff, fish will congregate closer to the banks to get a relief from the heavy flows, but also be the closest to the food sources being knocked around.

Worms will be getting knocked loose in the river, as well as being poured in from their terrestrial environment. Stoneflies will often move during runoff to stage for their hatch. The majority of aquatic insects have some way to swim in the water, and will oftentimes try to swim to the slower water closer to the bank in the event that they become displaced from their hiding spot. Without talking too much more about this, it’s easy to say there’s a good reason to fish close to shore.

This might lead to incredibly shallow nymph rigs with bright and big flies on, but it’s great when timed correctly. Fishing in the middle of runoff isn’t necessarily the best time to be out there. But, times like RIGHT NOW offer phenomenal fishing opportunities, as will the back end of runoff. If you don’t like fishing junk flies, then this probably isn’t your time to be on a freestone. Some of our favorite rigs will include flashy perdigons, rubber legs, worms, eggs, hot-beaded nymphs, and other bugs that would scare the daylight out of fish in clear water. With that being said, let’s talk about some flies for this week!

#1: Jig Perdigon - Peacock/Chartreuse sz16 3.3mm

Perdigons are one of our most productive flies for us year-round and for good reason. They provide a great presentation due to their thin body and heavy bead. Even though they are rather flashy, the presentation overcomes their goofy looks. The old saying, “it’s not the fly, it’s how you present it” is more than true and this fly is a perfect representation of that statement. It’s bold and rather ugly, but it catches. Like I mentioned last week, a lot of jig flies aren’t really made to represent anything. Rather, they’re a suggestive fly that just looks buggy. Personally, I don’t get too hung up on matching the hatch in dirty water, nor do I stress about the color of perdigon I’m fishing. None of the colors look realistic, so fish any of them! I just picked this one to have one fly. I love fishing bright pink, purple, olive, black, red, gray, anything. Just grab a few and give them a go. Even in non-runoff conditions these flies work incredibly well. When I was guiding the South Platte a few years ago, one of my most successful flies for my clients was a perdigon. 

#2: Depth Charge Jig Worm - Hot Pink sz10 3.3mm

Another week, another worm. I cannot emphasize this enough, worms are one of the best spring flies. I don’t want to go into too much depth with worms again, but I did want to present another worm variation that we have success with. In case you can’t tell, this fly has two tungsten beads in it. It is meant to plummet down to the bottom and be in front of those fish’s faces. Additionally, this fly presents much differently than other worm flies because of its flashy middle section. Not that worms are necessarily flashy, but having extra drawing power in colored water goes a long way! 

#3: Feeding Caddis - sz16

Unlike the other two options that are bright and bold, this pattern is very natural and realistic. I put this fly on here this week because with the high water there are a ton of caddis being knocked around. Not only are they getting pushed around, but so are the areas they live. Weed patches and sticks are favorite holding spots for caddis, and they’re both very susceptible to being swept away by higher flows. Fish are eating caddis left and right currently, even if they aren’t actively hatching. Additionally, fishing something natural like the feeding caddis is a great idea right now because you don’t need to be fishing an entire rainbow rig that’s all bright flies. Afterall, these fish evolved and live in these rivers their entire lives, so they’ve acquired ways to still survive and see their food. That said, it won’t necessarily be easy for them to see this fly without having some type of brighter fly in front of it. If I were heading out today, I’d rig up with my worm as the lead fly, perdigon as my second, and the caddis as my third. 

Best of luck on the water this week and we hope these flies catch a fish or two for ya. All three flies are available on our website and in the shop. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Xavier on email at, or call the shop at 303-330-1292. Thank you!

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