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  1. #1

    Default What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    I have been on the Arkansas during the Caddis Hatch since 1999 and to say this year is different would be an understatement.

    The cased Caddis that creates the prolific hatches this river is known for is absent. I mean I turned over rock after rock and drug branch after branch out of the water in an attempt to find the cases and zero, none, nothing. I have never seen anything like it, there are some rock cases but no tube cases that were so frequent in the past that every snag usually brought up multiple cases from the branch or rock you were hung up on.

    Please confirm or explain. I am sure there are a couple of you that have seen or understand this type of phenomenon.

    What really irritates me is how a local fly shop is talking about the prolific hatches taken place and after multiple trips up the canyon and through Canon City the hatches that once covered every branch of every tree along the banks of the river is simply not taking place. More concerning is the lack of cases in the water.
    Coy
    "Share your passion with others"

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    Coy: That is a very interesting report. The Arkansas is a little too far for me to get to (500 miles each way). Out of curiousity, I looked up the river report from Royal Gorge Anglers: Arkansas River Report
    Larry


  4. #3
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    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    It's just as bad on the Eagle River.

    When I guided for fun and profit from 1996-2001, you had to hold your hand over your mouth in June to keep from inhaling a caddis. No more. There is a hatch but it's quite pathetic.

    I happen to believe it's just nature's ebb and flow.

    Chris

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    Quote Originally Posted by mcnerney View Post
    Coy: That is a very interesting report. The Arkansas is a little too far for me to get to (500 miles each way). Out of curiousity, I looked up the river report from Royal Gorge Anglers: Arkansas River Report
    I would guess the web page has been updated with last years home page. I used to fish the stretch you are talking about and there were plenty of caddis at that time 1996 - 2004.

    It's streamer time bud,

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  7. #5

    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    Streamers and BWOs. The fishing is still fantastic just different. The fish are healthy and I would say on the average larger as well. The aquatic diet has just been changed to the multitude of beatis and the newly introduced stone flies. The way I understand it the larger Skwala stonefly was introduced this past year. Those hatches as they mature could be something to see.
    Coy
    "Share your passion with others"

  8. #6
    Join Date
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    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    Quote Originally Posted by fishngolf16 View Post
    The aquatic diet has just been changed to the multitude of beatis and the newly introduced stone flies. The way I understand it the larger Skwala stonefly was introduced this past year. Those hatches as they mature could be something to see.
    How did these get "Introduced"?

    I am not sure if you know this or not, but having been born and raised in Colorado, I was witness to many a badly concieved and disasterous number of ideas that involve the fisheries there. They are pretty good as a cautionary tale though. Their stocking programs of the past are used here in Minnesota as one of the "don't do this" lessons in fisheries.

  9. #7

    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    How did these get "Introduced"?
    I would like to know the same. The information came from a local shop here in Colorado Springs and again with a local fly shop on the Arkansas. I hope this is not an example of how not to help out mother nature, as she as done a wonderful job with this river in the last ten years or better.

    I have never found any information backing up these claims on the internet but it was two different shops.
    Coy
    "Share your passion with others"

  10. #8

    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    I am not associated with this shop in any way, but here is a description of the issue by a local guide/shop owner:

    Fishing Conditions on the Arkansas River Lower Basin in Colorado

    I found it an interesting read, below is the "meat" of what he is saying IMO.

    Start Quote from Greg Felt, ArkAnglers:
    In April of 2008, just as the caddis hatch was progressing into Cotopaxi and Coaldale, flows on the river rose precipitously. This was in part due to spring storms, but was followed by releases from Twin Lakes, leading to a prolonged flow of high and cold water. As caddis larvae from segments of the river in Bighorn Sheep Canyon had already gone into pupation, sealing themselves in their cases and passing through their metamorphosis, they were not able to continue feeding themselves and by the time warmer water eventually returned, many of them had expired without hatching. Further upstream, many caddis never even pupated at all. The result was a crash in the brachycentrus population between Cotopaxi and Buena Vista. There were bugs that survived and reproduced, but they were in greatly reduced numbers. The population has survived, but not flourished, since then.

    A common thought among anglers familiar with this situation is that other bugs have replaced the caddis in their ecological niche. This may be a logical conclusion to reach, given the burgeoning diversity of our aquatic insects, and particularly among the stonefly and mayfly orders. However, I believe this is most likely a correlation without causation. Cased caddis are extremely hardy creatures – that is why they thrived in the metal-laden waters of the pre-Superfund Arkansas River. The fact that the improved water quality supports a broader insect population should not mean that the caddis are now at a disadvantage. I think it simply takes a while for a population like we’ve historically had to rebuild itself.
    End Quote

    There are another 2-3 paragraphs about the situation on the website referenced. I am planning to float somewhere in the area between BV and Rincon (not sure of exact segments yet) on Saturday 5/4 and Sunday 5/5, so I will add any personal observations after this weekend. I am not sure of the situation on the Eagle, but it easily could have been caused by a similar warm period early in the spring followed by high/cold water as described above.

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  12. #9

    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    pb Colorado,
    Thanks for the input that is an interesting idea and as good as anything I have heard. When you are up on the Arkansas turn over a couple rocks and pull a branch or two from the river. You will be amazed at the lack of cases if any exist at all.

    Needless to say my brother made a killing on an olive WD50 (18) and a crippled BWO pattern (18). Good luck and enjoy.
    Coy
    "Share your passion with others"

  13. #10

    Default Re: What happened to the Arkansas between Canon City and Salida

    good to know what was working, thanks for the heads up.

    my general approach in the raft is to throw big - larger nymphs and streamers. this is my personal philosphy given that we are staying in the current, and i want something that will get attention on the one drift i get through productive water. my philosophy is not always shared by boat mates - but we all catch fish. i don't fish smaller midge patterns on my nymph rigs often but i may put one given your success.

    my initial plan was to work some stonefly and bwo/baetis nymph patterns, so a third offering of a WD50 might get added on for a triple. based on some of the other posts above, i will probably work the streamers for a while too. thanks again.

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