Friday, April 30, 2010

Caddis, Caddis and more Caddis

Now that the Hendrickson and Blue Quill hatches are waning we turn our attention to the caddisflies that are hatching, while we patiently wait for the next big mayfly hatch, the Sulphurs.

Matt's Dark Caribou Caddis, size #16-18.

Truth be told, caddis hatches are just as exciting and fun to fish as any mayfly hatch, maybe more so in many cases, but the noble mayfly still captures the imagination of most fly fishers. 

But of course; the mayfly sits majestically upon the water, its upright wings and long, fine, curving tails so visually appealing.  You watch the water surface, and literally out of the blue, a miniature sailboat appears.  It floats, like a rudderless sailboat while gaining its perspective of the world before taking flight to the streamside brush, where it will molt, mate, and then die unceremoniously in less time than it takes the sun rise twice. 

In the end, the mayfly falls gently, like an autumn leaf to the water's surface, where it lies lifelessly just before a trout sips it in for an appetizer........ perhaps Mother Nature conferred with Shakespeare whilst pondering the mayfly life story?

Sure we love fishing mayfly hatches, who doesn't?
We also love to fish caddis hatches.  Whereas the mayfly is quiet and passive, the caddisfly is active, impetuous, and given to varying behaviors depending on the genus and species.  They also live a hell of a lot longer than mayflies once they hatch.  And best of all, in just about very watershed the caddisfly is more abundant both in the number of species and the number of insects per square foot of stream bottom.

The caddisfly sits low on the water, like a tent with a head and antennae.  In the hand, they look like a small moth.  The difference is that caddisflies have tiny hairs on their wings, and moths have scales.  Although some caddisflies hatch and sit on the water surface for a short period, many do not.  Instead they pop out of their pupal shucks just under the meniscus and become airborne instantly without stopping, to peruse their new waterless world..  There are others, like a few mayflies, that will swim to the water's edge and crawl out on a rock or log to hatch.  The bottom line is that this knowledge will help you catch more fish during caddisfly hatches, as you will better be able to mimic the insects behavior and entice the trout that are feeing on them.

Of course, there's much more to it than that. Same with the mayflies, but screw them for now, we're talking caddisflies.  Right now there are roughly 6 species hatching  on local waters that the trout within are going to feed on.  Here are my personal choices for imitating them:

Matt's Light Caribou Caddis, size #14-18

Iris Caddis, size #14-16.  Designed by C. Mathews and J. Juracek. This wonderful combination of fur and zelon, imitates the emergence stage of our most prevelant caddis genus, the Hydropsyche.  The pupa swims to the water surface and drifts for a short period right in the meniscus, and then when ready, the adult pops out and is immediately airborn, flying around like a drunk sailor.  The fly imitates that vulnerable period when the pupae are drifting in preparation of hatching - all the trout have to do is look up and see the familiar silhouette, and BAMMO!  Fish on..........

And finally, an apple green Caribou Caddis, sixe #14, to match the Apple Caddis so present right now.

Matt's Caribou Caddis Recipe -
Hook: Dry fly
Tail/shuck: Amber zelon
Body: Rabbit mixed with zelon or antron
Underwing: White or clear zelon
Wing: Caribou body hair
Thorax: Touch-dubbed hare's mask
Now all there is left to do is get out and fish. 

Go! What are you waiting for??  

Sharpen those hooks!!!!!


Andy Baird said...

They are very, VERY nice caddis Matt... crunchy.


Matt Grobert said...

Andy, fortunately the trout agree. Get out there and fish!!!

Anonymous said...

What a great read, thanks Matt. Your flies look great. I don't tie, but wish I could find a place that sells flies like yours.

skunked said...

Shannon's in Califon sells Grobert's expertly tied flies, as well as other fishy stuff.

Midgenut said...

Really some beautifully tied patterns!