April 29th, 2011: Hatch Hunting

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Woke early to arrive creekside at ~8:30am, took a gamble on a spot I’ve caught great caddis hatches in the past this time of year but found high flows, severely stained water and in-active trout. Based on the conditions I swung an SMB during the morning hours landing a handful and not much more. I took water temps every half hour to track any hatch potential but other than the scattered BWO and #30 Black Midges no other insect activity was seen. Water temps started at ~42°F at ~9am and warmed to ~48°F by 12:30pm. I fished until ~12:30pm when I became convinced that [singlepic id=2575 w=320 h=240 float=left]the high flows and colder water was not going to put off the hatch I was hunting for.

I blew out and decided to stop by a second location to see if the bugs I was searching for were around. At ~1pm the first glance at the creek from a ways away showed airborn trout, the caddis were here. I parked and hiked straight to the creek, put on a #18 Grey Caddis imitation and sat on the first run I came to landing close to fifteen smaller trout (<12in) and two slightly larger ones, all browns. After picking off quite a few and taking bug photo’s I progressed upstream. I came to fish a dry fly and thus I passed on any piece of water that didn’t show signs of rising fish, I wasn’t going to swap flies just to swap back a minute later.

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I continued upstream picking off a handful of fish at each location. I finally came to a large open section that provided excellent fishing conditions, rising trout with thousands of caddis in the air. I observed several fish taking flies not from the surface but actually launching fully from the creek to snipe the food from mid-air. During the two hours I spent tossing dry flies here I noticed the rising come in waves, it seemed that in a moment the fish would all come to a halt and refuse to rise then a couple minutes later they would all begin the boil feverishly rising in rhythm. In these three hours I must have touched close to fifty trout all on the #18 Grey Caddis imitation. I didn’t take the time to dry out my fly after each fish, rather I fell into a pattern of catching a couple on a high floating dry fly after treating it with floatant then when it wouldn’t float well on it’s own I made a couple false casts and allowed it to sit half in the film, [singlepic id=2572 w=320 h=240 float=right]this continued to produce fish. When the fly was so saturated and I didn’t want to stop I simply allowed it to sink and fished it like a wet fly and sure enough it continued to snipe trout. When the rising died down I took the time to dry my fly out and applied floatant for the next wave to come. At ~4pm I had to leave the creek despite the hatch continuing to bring trout to the surface.

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5 Comments:

  1. Hey hey,
    I notice the same five minute wave phenomena when I was out on Friday. I wonder how wide-spread that was. Any theories on how that works?
    It seemed that there were only a few streams in the greater Winona area that weren’t cloudy. I wasted half the morning driving out to a spot that I though would for sure be clear only to find a cloudy mess and a worm fisherman!

  2. How long do you think this grey caddis hatch will go on for. I’ve been having some pretty amazing days out there.

  3. Carl,

    I’m doing some digging on the “rising wave” but I really don’t have much information at this time. I think the Grey Caddis will be coming off for potentially another week or two, maybe longer. The cooler weather has really held things up on some systems. Glad your getting out there.

  4. Sounds like it was a great day for caddis. Again, great report and pics!

  5. It was indeed, I’m glad I accepted the reality that my first location just wasn’t going to see a hatch which allowed me to drop in on another spot with many rising fish. I hope to catch this once or twice more before the end of it. Thanks David.

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