Haven’t been able to get out much as of late but I have been running out to a local spot day after day to check on the Grey Caddis, looking for the start on this particular stream. I saw the 1st leaping trout on the 8th of April and at that time noticed very active trout holding low and eating everything, darting, turning, clearly eating pupating caddis flies. The pupa roll deep in the stream (especially in slower water as in this case) for a time before filling an air bubble that helps propel the pupa to the surface. It is at this point that the trout rushing to catch this pupa on its way to the surface will often leap completely out of the water. On April 8th the trout were holding low eating pupa deep, on the 11th when I arrived at 2pm the hatch had already been going for a bit, a few smaller trout were feeding on the surface but the important thing I took away was that the hatch in this spot is growing and has a week or more before it is over. Most of the larger fish were eating the pupating caddis deep in the water, only the smaller trout would rise for the sporadic adult. The Barr’s Graphic Caddis (#14-16) and X-Wing Style Caddisflies (#14-16) were working well for me.
I picked up the few I needed to make me smile and tried to get a few images of the adults but few were around. I moved downstream and found a few more but nothing compared to what I witnessed last year. Note: Stop into the Driftless Angler and pick up a tube of Dry Magic Fly Flotant! This stuff is awesome, a SMALL amount rubbed togather turns into a powder of sorts and keeps your fly floating high without gunking it up. Mat and his guides recommended it the last time I was in Viroqua and although it is a bit on the pricey side I feel it will be well worth the extra funds. It was excellent to toss dry flies for a change and with the earlier caddis I find they are larger (#14/16) taking the smaller trout was a breeze, fun too. As this hatch wears on the flies will get smaller in size moving to a #16 then #18 and maybe down to a #20. Getting an adult to sit still on my measuring tape wasn’t going to happen, I’ll have to gather some specimens to get more information. Time will be made for this, hopefully soon.
I took off around 3:45pm and drove to a second spot to see what was going on, I wanted to check up on a bigger fish that I know lives around these parts. I flipped rocks right away and noticed a huge variety of bugs; cranefly larva, Baetis nymphs, Ephemerella nymphs, Macaffertium nymphs, diptera larva of all kinds, Stone Fly nymphs all amongst all the usual caddis larva. I have spotted Macaffertium nymphs on several streams in larger quantities than I’ve seen in the time I’ve been trout fishing (which isn’t that long). I need to learn more about the cycles that bug populations go through and how some years will have much larger numbers of certain bugs and others won’t, I’m sure there are many factors that go into understanding bug populations, something to look up when I have a bit more free time.
I fished a smaller Olive Bead Head Bugger and picked up only one trout on the second stream. I saw more white suckers than trout and unfortunately I saw three otters and a beaver dam that is really turning the stream into a sludgefest. Don’t get me wrong I like all the wildlife and believe they have a right to some of the fish just as myself and others do, I just know I witnessed this place in better shape last year with regards to brown trout population. No large fish were seen and only a mess of suckers and a few pockets of smaller trout less than 10 inches were found. As it grew closer to dinner time I took off. Second Note: Deer and Wood Ticks are about BIG time. Check yourself, and your dog. Get out and go fishing, it’s good for you. Catch and Keep Opener is this Saturday April, 17th.