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Old 02-16-2009, 11:00 PM
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Default just wondering

i'm new to fly fishing any suggestions on must have flies to startout with
i live in se co. i'll b fishing the arkansas river and other waters in southern co.
i have the elk hair caddis,bwo,adams,copper johns,phesant tails and a few others i have them in size16,18 any other suggestions would sure help
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: just wondering

Catfish:

I haven't fished the Ark, but I would recommend talking to one of the fly shops in the area. Depending on the season and the section of river they can give you specific patterns and sizes. When I'm travelling to new water that is what I do, I go in and introduce myself and ask what they recommend and then I buy a handfull of the flies they recommend, sure I can tie them cheaper at home, but what I'm really getting is some local expertise.
Here is one fly shop that might be of interest, if not at least they offer a hatch chart for the different sections of the Ark that will provide info on what flies might work. Fish Arkansas River in Colorado - Fly Fish River, Streams, High Mountain Lakes with ArkAnglers, the Arkansas River's premier Guide Service and Fly Shops

Another good option is to look around for a local TU chapter in your area and join and ask the members for help. They can be a valuable resource for helping you learn the art of fly fishing.

Larry
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Old 02-17-2009, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: just wondering

Catfish,

You’ve got some great advice about the fly shop and finding a club in your area. And you’ve got a great assortment already to build on.

It can be really confusing, and intimidating for someone just starting out, and the temptation is to go out and buy everything. But the good thing about having a home water, is that you can sort of spread out your purchases a bit based on what you expect to run into on the stream.

In general, this time of year most of the fish will be feeding subsurface on nymphs and occasionally on top with hatches of small midges and blue wing olives. As the weather starts to warm up, more hatches will kick in. You’ll see a lot more activity on top, with a range of mayflies. caddis, stoneflies, and terrestrials in different colors/shades and sizes popping up at different times over the course of the season.

So stagger your purchases a bit over the course of the season to prioritize patterns based on what’s likely to be happening. For example you’ll probably want some grasshoppers and large stonefly dries like Stimulators at some point, but you won’t need the hoppers until August, and the Stimi’s until mid May.

Looking at the hatch chart for the Arkansas on the site that Larry linked to, some flies I’d think about adding now would be stuff that you can find in the river all year long, as well as the most active critters that should be hatching now or soon. You can work with your shop to pick the best patterns and sizes. Just to give you an idea, this might look something like this:

Now till Mid March, along with you have already you might want to add some stuff the shop recommends for:
Midges- small dries and midge larvae/pupae
Blue Wing Olives and small nymphs like pheasant tails
Stonefly nymphs- these have a multi year life cycle so they’re available to trout all year in different sizes. A heavily weighted golden stonefly nymph could also be used with a small nymph behind it to get deep.
Cased Caddis- a Bead Head Prince Nymph is a good all around pattern and imitates a cased caddis and/or small stonefly nymph. You can also use this with a small nymph dropper anytime, or hang from a big dry later in the season.
Minnows- Streamers are always good patterns, but also especially good in high or off colored water, and good for deeper sections, They also give a big enough meal that trout will move to from their hidey holes. I’d mix it up with a few different patterns, scattered in different sizes and colors.

Mid March through mid May
In addition to what you have already, caddis start popping. Around then you’d want to start adding caddis patterns in different sizes and shades based on what the shop says. Plus some attractor type dries that are good rough water caddis imitations like Trudes.

Mid May thru June
In addition to stuff you already have, stoneflies will start to pop, as well as perhaps some new caddis sizes and colors. This would be a good time to add some Stimulators. And if you notice the water clarity is muddy/off colored due to snow melt, so some big black streamers might be good to load up on.

Beginning of July- thru September
Now you’ll start to see a lot of new stuff on the water, with mayflies and terrestrials kicking in, along with a continuation of bwo, caddis and stoneflies. You’ll want some light bodied mayflies (pale morning duns) and Red Quills, and maybe gray drakes depending on where you fish. You might also want to get some more attractor fast water dries, like Wullfs or Humpies, as well as stock up on replacements for missing caddis, stimulators, and other go to patterns and a few ant and hopper patterns.

October through end of the year
Most hatches will start winding down, except for the ever present midges and BWO’s , but a good opportunity in October for spawning browns on big streamers.

Hope this helps a bit,

Mark
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: just wondering

I've had the best luck on the Arkansas near Salida on Copper Johns. You'll need something that will get down fairly quickly and I think the copper matches the color of the river fairly well. I also did well in the evenings on partridge and peacocks. I'd likely fish most of the rivers in your area with my standby combo of a size 16 copper john and a size 14 partridge and peacock on a tag-dropper 18" above that, fishing the rig under an indicator.

(side note- if we were to call that dropper fly a part-cock, would that be a bit too risque for our family friendly site? I suppose a pea-ridge would be safer)

I'd also make sure to get up to the "miracle mile" in between Spinney and Elevenmile, and also to fish the S Platte above spinney. There's a shop in Buena Vista that can give you good info on spots and access.
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