Evenings on the Big Thompson have started to get buggy, and less crowded. Most fishing pressure has gone home for dinner by then, and guide traffic is usually over by 5 as well. This is the best time to fish the T. As the shadows grow long the bugs start to hatch, or come back to the river to lay eggs, and the fish respond. As water temps start to soar on the Big Thompson, the fishing can be downright tough in the mid day sun. Fishing late allows me to work a full day and still catch some fish on dries. I usually start to fish somewhere between 5 and 6 pm with a dry dropper set up, hitting fast water pockets, or anywhere there is a shadow on the water. By 7:30 or 8 I have switched to skating stones and caddis with the diminishing sunlight. Mid June into the first week of July is usually the best with PMD's, caddis, stones, drakes, and spinners of all flavors. The whole canyon fishes well late in the evening, and the bite gets exponentially stronger as the light starts to fade. In past years there have been days where we were on the water til almost 10 pm. As you get closer to dark the fish feed more aggressively, chasing caddis and mayflies spinners dancing over the water. Skating a caddis or stimulator trailed by a caddis dry or pupa seems to work better than dead drifting. I like to fish downstream during the magic hour, skating flies off the opposite bank. I can fish the same water that once was in the sun, and catch a lot more fish once the sun disappears, and the bugs are on the water. Then it gets too dark, and the bottom drops out, and it is over til tomorrows' happy hour starts at 6:00. Some cold beers and fried chicken for the ride home and we are in the sweet spot. Happy Hour is every day on the Big T from 6-9, or even later. Get wet!
- Randy Hicks