Copyright 2013 James Marsh
Hatches and Trout Flies for the Elk River Colorado
As you probably expect, the Blue-winged Olive is the most consistent and one of the better
hatches on the Elk River. There is two periods of time that these little mayflies hatch that
are important. One hatch takes place from near the first of April until the end of May and
the other hatch occurs from about the middle of August until mid October. Weather
conditions can vary these dates a couple of weeks or more but they will occur and they will
provide some excellent dry fly fishing. Catching a big rainbow trout on a small, hook size 18
BWO dry fly is a thrill to say the least.
Midges hatch throughout the year and are always a good backup when other aquatic
insects are not hatching. During the winter, they may be your only choice if you want to
Normally the Little Black Caddis or Branchcentrus species hatch around the end of April up
until about the first week in May. The water should be around fifty degrees or slightly
higher for this hatch to occur. It can provide some excellent dry fly action.
From about the first of June to the middle of August you can expect some stonefly hatches
to occur. The Little Yellow Stoneflies are the most consistent. Golden Stoneflies hatch but
not in any great quantities.
Red Quill mayflies start hatching about the middle of June and last into the first week or two
of July. This is one of the most reliable hatches that occurs. The Pale Morning Duns start
hatching about the same time as the Red Quill but last much longer. It can last until the
end of August. You should be aware that hatches in the higher elevations in the
headwaters can be delayed a full month from these dates. The Pale Morning Duns and the
Blue-winged Olives are the two most important mayfly hatches.
There are several caddisfly species that hatch on the Elk River. The most common one is
the Spotted Sedge but there are also some Little Short-horned Sedges and Green Sedges
which are very plentiful. The larva of the Green Sedges, called Rock Worms, are quite
effective on this stream.
Starting near the end of June and up until the middle of September, terrestrial insects
become important. Ants, beetles and grasshoppers are all effective during this time period.
Don't forget the streamers. They produce some large rainbow trout at times and work great
anytime the water is slightly off color from heavy rain and snow.
Don't forget to check out our "Perfect Flies". We have specific imitations of all the insects
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