It's that time of year again. The water temperatures are starting to drop and the larger bugs are becoming less prevalent. Although we'd love to throw large hoppers year-round, it just isn't going to work much longer.
Time to go tailwater tiny. Perfect presentation, tiny flies and small tippet are about to be the key to success. The majority of strikes are going to come via Blue Wing Olive and Midge imitations. That's what the trout will key on the vast majority of the Fall. While there is some incredible dry fly action at select times, most success will come from nymphing (why number 9 & 10 on our list are dries).
Whenever there is an uptick in flows, you'll have success with larger attractor patterns that get dislodged. Stonefly imitations, Scuds, Cranefly and Midge Larva (often ignored) imitations are our favorites.
Keeping a thermometer on you is important. Blue Wing Olive's/ Baetis/ BWO hatches will start to subsidize once the water temperature drops below 38 degrees. At that point, Midges will be the only prevalent hatch.
Yes, every pattern below is a size 22-24. There isn't one size 20 fly in this deck. The reality is there aren't any size 20 bugs this time of year on our tailwater. If you are a complete wizard at presentation, you can get away with larger bugs... But most of us aren't. The BWO hatch in the Fall is 1-2X smaller than the Spring, 22-24.
Here are our top 10 patterns for the South Platte this Fall. Be sure to check out our Tailwater Fall Fly Box:
1) Chocolate Foam Wing Emerger: Size 24
What this patterns lacks in size, it makes up in effectiveness. Trout cannot refuse this realistic mayfly imitation. We like to use it as the third fly in a traditional three nymph rig.
This is our favorite pattern for Cheesman Canyon, year-round.
2) Stalcup's Baetis: 22
We love to trail the Foam Wing Emerger behind a Staclup's Baetis. Arguably the most realistic BWO profile ever created, it has been fooling the pickiest tailwater trout for decades.
Very rarely do we adjust a recipe, but we decide to make our Stalcup's Baetis even more slim with plastic bag strips instead of D-Rib.
Make sure any Stalcup's Baetis fly you purchase has an extremely slim profile. More often than not, they are tied too bulky and are completely ineffective.
3) Juju Baetis: 22
Arguably the most versatile Baetis pattern ever designed, this pattern can mimic Blue Wing Olive's in a variety of stages.
It is extremely slim and has no wasted bulk due to the Superhair body. Incredibly realistic profile with a small bit of flash to catch the attention of picky trout.