Fly Fishing Caddis Hatches

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Fly Fishing Caddis Hatches
Winston Days
Deschutes Caddis
Caddis Dry Flies
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Fly Fishing Caddis Hatches

After setting up camp Jerry and I had fished hard most of the day.  Mid-day was the brightest imaginable sunlight. A storm front hanging over the Cascade Mountains to the west made conditions

even tougher.  He makes a joke, "I can change the weather.  The wind always blows the minute my hand touches cork."  Throughout the day we moved from place.  I screened bugs and plotted and planned, offered advice and bitched about the wind.  He did the casting; placing the fly where I asked him to (most of the time).   A few fish were hooked and maybe a couple were landed on a Twilight Elk Hair Caddis.  We had fished nymphs, wet flies and numerous dries.  Sparse hatches of caddis, midges, moths and PMDs had come and

gone, but the fish largely hadn't cared.  We ate dinner early and waited for the shade.  Then we wadered-up and split up. He headed upstream and I had gone down. 

Now shade was on the water and I was knee deep in a beautiful choppy riffle at the base of a rapids.  After several minutes of keen study very little activity was noted.  However, my sixth cast with an Twilight Caddis brought a strike.  The fish came off in the first jump.  Thirty more casts brought two refusals.  Then I attached a LaFontaine Emergent Sparkle Pupa to a trailer leader which was attached to the bend of the hook of the same dry fly.  There was about a

foot of leader between the two flies.  The first cast landed the two flies about thirty feet directly upstream.  I stripped the line as the current brought the flies back to me.  After a ten foot drift the line suddenly tightened with a shock that took both flies off the end of the leader.  There had

been no time to react. Rarely does one expect these kind of strikes while fishing a dead drifted dry fly.    The 5X tippet and trailer were replaced with 4X.  (I experienced this same break-off twice more in the next two days with the heavier leader.)  However during this evening, the next five fish were landed in about 30-minutes.  A couple more were lost.  All were rock hard, brilliant colored and very athletic.  They ranged from 12" to 17".  My final fish of the evening was a fat 18-incher that got in the rapids, pulled a bunch of backing and took me downstream, nearly 75-yards. Then I hiked back through camp and upstream to see how Jerry was doing.  He had landed two nice redsides and lost several others on an X-Caddis.   I gave him my rod with the two fly set-up and he landed two more fish from the same water on the pupa. Then it was dark and we went to camp.  A couple of glasses of Australian wine  finished off the evening.

The next evening in a different piece of water stared the same way; with a break-off.  A new rig was tied with 24" trailer between the two flies.  This allowed the pupa to fish deeper.  It was less effective and the trailer was shortened back to 12".  The fishing immediately picked up with several nice trout being landed in just a few minutes.  Then the action slowed.  Fewer emerging caddis were seen on the water.  I replaced the bushy Twilight Caddis with a low riding Tan X-Caddis.  The reaction was immediate.  Three nice trout were landed on the X-Caddis.  This fly imitates a crippled caddis that is unable to fully break free of the pupal shuck.  The shuck trails behind the the helpless insect.  After a hatch ends the only insects left on the surface are cripples and trout will often key on them.  A pupa/x-caddis rig is very effective.  The only problem is that both flies are very difficult to see in the waning light.  So I usually trail the X-Caddis behind a Twilight Caddis.  Some evenings there are small stoneflies laying eggs on the same water that the caddis are hatching from.  During these periods, trail your X-Caddis behind a small Olive or Yellow Stimulator.  In any case the larger, more visible dry fly acts as a strike indicator.  Some strikes are violent and easy to see.  However, many takes are very soft and often only the faintest disturbance is detected.  If a strike is suspected raise the rod tip and often you will be rewarded.

Caddisflies On The Lower Deschutes

Many anglers feel that the Salmon Fly Hatch is the best the Deschutes River has to offer.  These big flies are easy for even the most visually challenged angler to see.  So are the rise forms that accompany them.  The Salmon Fly Hatch is bone-head easy.  And there ain't nuthin' the matter with easy.  However, the most prolific hatches that will occur this season are yet to come.  And instead of big air resistant flies, you now can throw easier to cast smaller ones (that are still large enough to see)!  The best part is that caddis activity starts early in the morning lasts virtually all day and can still be going on 

into the dark.  There can be many species of caddis in the same area at the same time.  Trout can be selective, but not usually totally selective.  Usually a brown, tan or olive body Elk Hair Caddis in size #16 will get enough action to keep you interested.  Many caddis eating trout are nearly on the bank.  Long cast aren't usually necessary, but pin point accuracy is.

Put an Elk Hair Caddis in a trout's feeding lane several times and it often becomes irresistible.  Rises are usually very deliberate and easily visible.  Some fish are large and although 5X would seem to be the perfect size to match the flies, the seasoned angler usually 

elects to use 4X tippet.  As my eye sight began to change with maturity, flies that were designed for angler visibility became more and more appealing.  Adding a bright colored Antron topping to the wing definitely makes an Elk Hair Caddis easier to see during the daylight hours.  Adding a black topping makes the same fly easier to see as the light levels fall in the evening.  Many types of trout holding water can be covered with a two-fly cast.  Try trailing an Emergent Sparkle Pupa behind your dry Elk Caddis.  The dry 

fly will act as a strike-indicator for the dead drifted, partly submerged, (nearly impossible to see) pupa. Start your presentation with a quartering upstream cast and strip line as the fly drifts back to you and then feed line as the fly floats on below you.  This works especially well in big riffles.  As the flies reach the end of your drift, let them pull under and your dry fly becomes a diving female on an egg laying mission.  Big

trout are very susceptible to egg ladened diving female caddis.  Check your rigging often any time you are fishing a two-fly set-up.  

Trout that are fattening on Caddisflies can generate a lot of energy !!!

Caddis Dry Flies
In the Pacific Northwest, Caddisfly hatches are a major food source for stream trout from spring to late fall.

Elk Caddis Giant Caddis Tied-Down Caddis
(TW)Elk Caddis Smooth Water Caddis X-Caddis
We are told that over 250 different species of caddis inhabit our local streams.  
These can be broken down into manageable categories. Listed by body color, size and frequency, you would probably wind up with something like this:
1. brown body 12 - 16 5. bright green body 14 - 18
2. black body 18 - 20 6. gray body 14 - 18
3. tan body 14 - 16 7. cream body (water moth) 14 - 18
4. olive body 14 - 18 8. orange body 6 - 12

This selection is for rivers that drain both west and east slopes of the Cascade Range. These can be rain forest mountain rivers to the west and desert rivers to the east. Within this region there are a great diversity of habitat types to be encountered. Incredibly, these rivers have very similar caddis species. This does simplify fly selection a bit. Be aware however, that there are more than a few wild cards out there....And that is why our caddis pattern selection is so large.

ADULT CADDIS photo by Jim Schollmeyer. 

If you are a serious fly angler, you can never know enough about the organisms that trout prey on. The easiest way to access this information is through good reference books. We highly recommend The Hatch Guide For Western Streams by Jim Schollmeyer 

…resting caddis adult…

Many of our customers do not have perfect eye sight. Recently we have been experimenting with dry flies that are tied with wings made from highly visible materials. Fluorescent Antron is easiest to see and adds floatation to the fly.

The concept isn't new. Several years ago I read an article by George Harvey which touted the virtues of highly visible dry flies. The better you can see your fly, the better you can fish. You can detect strikes easier. But more importantly you can control drag better. Controlling drag will get you a lot more strikes.

I used my clients as guinea pigs. Even young anglers with good eyesight fished better with the hi-vis flies and often complained when I ran out of them. These are called the Twilight™ and are marked with (TW). The way the flies are tied, the bright wing topping is only visible from the top and the trout aren't even aware it exists. They like 'em. Of course for you non-believers, we still offer the old stand-byes.

Caddisflies by Gary LaFontaine. CADDISFLIES
Gary LaFontaine
Subject Category: Angler's Entomology & Fish Identification
Binding Type: Hardcover
Retail Price: $40.00
ISBN: 0-941130-98-3
Ten years' study produced this intense, in-depth look at one of the trout's major foods. LaFontaine introduces tested patterns and details strategies on how to best fish larvae, pupae and adult flies. Color & B/w photos; 8x11 inches, 336 pgs.
Item Title Price To Top


Book, CADDISFLIES, by Gary LaFontaine $40.00

0-941130-98-3B Book, CADDISFLIES, by Gary LaFontaine with any purchase over  $100. That is 20% OFF plus FREE SHIPPING. $32.00



*Try and break a rod by lifting (and guessing) how many pounds are being lifted
*Person closest to the weight will win a pair of Patagonia Watermaster Waders
*All people casting rods will go into a drawing to win a BllX 14’ 8/9 spey rod
*Assortment of all Winston’s latest rods, including the BllX single-handed, as well as recently introduced Spey rods will be available for casting
*Presentation on the Winston factory, and their method of building the world’s finest fly rods *Clinics on solving the biggest casting mistakes, problems, and misconceptions

The R.L. WINSTON ROD CO. has been crafting the world’s finest fine rods since 1929.
Why is it that these rods have produced such passionate loyalty among those who own them?
Is it the uncompromising way in which they are made?
How they cast and fish?
The history and traditions of the company itself?
Or could it simply be the color green?

     Actually, WINSTON believes it is not one, but all of these things. Anglers who own WINSTONS have a true appreciation for quality. They understand that WINSTON rods are designed with specific casting styles and fishing situations in mind. They know that WINSTON is dedicated to upholding a reputation, well over seven decades old now, for building the finest products of their kind. And as for green, we’ve heard some people say they experience feelings of guilt just looking at a rod of any other color.

     On June 25, all are welcome to experience what makes WINSTON so special. All day long, The Fly Fishing Shop will be holding an event that will showcase these beautiful fly rods. Jon Covich, their factory representative for the Pacific Northwest, will be doing his best to impress you with casting clinics, rod lifting and durability demonstrations, presentations on how Winston rods are made, and plenty of free time for you to cast all the fine rods that Winston has to offer. Make sure that you take the opportunity to cast the newest rods in the lineup of the hottest rods on the market….the BllX. These include three spey models that will blow you away with their light weight, smooth action, and surprising power.

     Best of all, there will be two fantastic products given away. The latest and great Patagonia Watermaster Waders will be given to the person who can come closest to guessing what weight they are lifting off the ground with a Winston BllX 12 weight. Even better, every person that casts a rod during this event, will go into a drawing at the end of the day for a BllX 14 8/9 Spey Rod!!

Eat hearty, have a lot of fun, & win Prizes !!!

IN Loreto, MX

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By the time you read this we are in Mexico testing flies, tackle and ourselves.
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Patagonia Rivermaster Waders by: J. Morgan Jones

Need to cross the river, pull them up... The day is warming & need to cool... Pull them down (a little)...

We got a chance to use the new Patagonia waders last week (along with the new boots) for a day of fishing on the Deschutes River. The newest model has incorporated a few changes from last years style. The most obvious change is the addition of extra material on the lower two thirds of the wader for more puncture and abrasion resistance much in the style of another top brand of wader currently available. Built-in gravel guards are standard, as is the wading belt. An inside gear pocket (with a zippered security pouch) has gotten a bit larger, and while it is adequate, it’s not huge by any standards.

A unique feature is the suspender system. First off, the suspenders are not elastic in any manner, so it took me awhile to figure out the best adjustment (I am used to the stretchy type). While I had some misgivings at first, once I got them adjusted properly they worked just fine. The suspenders fasten at the waist via snap and also at the top of the wader (like most wader suspenders do). The departure from the norm is that the top of the waders release from the suspenders, front and rear, to enable the wearer to convert to waist high waders quickly without fooling with the suspender system itself. Because the suspenders are also fastened at the waist (again with snaps) the waders do not have the tendency to “creep” downward as other types do during to course of moving up and down the river banks. A definite plus. Beyond this, releasing the lower snaps of the suspenders allow the (male is the only one I am able to attest to) wearer to actually  lower the entire front of the waders without removing outerwear or even a vest, in order to ,uh, well, you know. But this is also a plus for some fishers. Lets just be moving along here.......

The breathable membrane is a Patagonia design, and I believe that it proves to be every bit as breathable as other brands on the market. My understanding is that Patagonia played a role in the development of another breathable system, but after all was said and done, felt that their current system was a better quality in many respects. Not being a scientific type, I am unable to give you technical results dealing with the breathability as compared to other types available, but I will say that the Patagonia wader breathes as well as any other I have tried. I will also say that coming from a company such as Patagonia, I am not surprised. 

Another feature is that the neoprene feet are “anatomically” correct, meaning that the actual feet are made left and right instead of a universal pattern. This should be a nice touch for those of us that have both left and right feet :-).

When you combine these features with the Patagonia Guarantee (They feel that you should be satisfied with the quality and the performance of their products) you should find  a solid, functional product worth the price you paid. 

Patagonia make good products, and they make them responsibly. These waders are something I would expect Patagonia to make.  At $335, they are a steal...look now!

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