This information is to prepare you for the next invasion... Please read this guide carefully, because it is you and your fellow earthlings that stand in the way of these unique beings.
Knowing Your Enemy: “That’s it man! Game over, man! GAME OVER!" Is what I said when I first laid eyes on the alien like creatures we call salmon flies. These flies hatch (invade) once a year in late May and run into early June, with a lot of variables involved. A salmon fly is a member of the stone fly family and lives in the river system 3-4 years before they make their journey into adulthood. They require constant water temperatures in the 55-degree range before they decide to make their crawl to the shallows and eventually out from the edges of the river and into the bushes to emerge from their shucks into alien like adults.
The Invasion & Our Allies: With the hatch (invasion) imminent, there is one true way I’ve found to catch it in its prime and that is a loose work schedule and determination. This invasion only lasts a few days before fish become over fed and the adults die off after a week of mating, females depositing eggs, and males with the deed done sitting in the bushes waiting for the end of their life cycle. So, when I caught wind of the invasion, I immediately notified work and hurried to the Upper Colorado to get rid of the aliens the only way I knew how... feeding them to very hungry trout.
Battle Techniques: Once arriving at the river and finding that the huge biomass of salmon flies haven’t fully hatched and trout didn’t gorge themselves yet, I knew there was a small possibility of catching the invasion perfectly. Fishing (battling) the invasion is simple in the terms of your rod, leader, and fly choice... The Black Series 9’ 5WT rod partnered with a nylon 7.5ft, 3x leader is great for any of the possible rigs we used. Luckily, big bugs and high muddy water means we can get away from 5 and 6x tippets and beef it up which is always a plus. Rigging is also straight forward, with either throwing a single dry, tandem dry, or dry dropper all near the edges of the river. In the morning I went with a Size 6 Carnage Salmonfly with a Size 8 Pats Rubber Leg in black 1-2 feet below my dry. When the hatch picks up and the fish are looking up exclusively, I switched to tandem rig with removing the nymph and attaching another dry, but one size smaller to represent a bigger range in size.
Setting Yourself Up for Victory: The plan of attack was simple, getting off the banks and into a boat so we can cover every piece of water without fishing directly above or below ourselves. With that said, our plan and timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. I was able to catch the invasion in full force, running a tandem salmonfly rig, and watching fish move from small pockets of calm water on the bank to destroy the alien creature floating by. Some of the best fish I found were set up tight to the bank in 1-2ft of harder water just waiting for anything to float past them. They are unable to think to long about their decision to eat in that faster water, so with the invasion in full force and bellies half full, they were not letting that food source go by very easily that day...
Photography & Written by Tyler Puisello
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