I call it “the show” and it started in earnest at 1:35pm and lasted until roughly 3pm today under sunny skies and an air temp of 61°F. I arrived at 11am and put on a very lightly weighted streamer for the hike downstream. Wet wading season is finally here and I tried out a new pair of boots that I’m super happy with so far, a bonus for the day. I hiked downstream and as I did I fished a few deeper runs casting down and in with nothing, not so much as a flash to show for it. By the time I got as far downstream as I had planned I had already seen a handful of caddis fluttering in the air and near the banks, they were larger #16 and tan. I spied a few rising trout but nothing super consistent. I started my hike back upstream.
This creek holds particular significance for me as it’s where I taught myself to fish dry flies one summer ten years ago. It runs clear, very, very clear. This spot is hard to fish and it puts up a good caddis hatch. I hiked to a slow deep pool where I watched browns seek out and crush a few stray caddis. Since the streamer wasn’t doing anything and frankly I didn’t expect it would, I put on my dry fly leader and tied on a #16 Elk Hair Caddis. I used one with a slightly tan wing with olive CDC wrapped under it. I love this fly. I opted to fish this over a #18 Grey Caddis imitation because I was hunting for specific fish and I needed to be able to see it a bit better. There is little better than sight fishing an actively cruising trout and getting it to commit. The wind picked up and would challenge me the rest of the day. I landed my first fish of the day on that dry fly at approx. 12:15pm.
It’s taken some time for me to learn (I sometimes have to learn the hard way) but a well dressed fly, riding high is worth the effort. I spent time after landing each fish that took my fly and dressing it to perfection. If I don’t catch a fish before my fly begins to sink when I lift my rod to make my next cast I’ll stop and re-dress the fly, this improves the presentation which is self explanatory but it also forces you to wait a bit between casts. Those few minutes allow the trout to resume the activity that allows you to take one after the other without spooking the group. I use a powder desiccant, the brush that it comes with is super important. It allows you to really get that powder down into the fly, into the head of that elk hair caddis which holds more water than you’d think. I landed over a dozen fish from the first run, the largest at about 14 inches, all browns. I moved upstream and sat, watching the fish rise, then rise some more. It was starting…”the show.”
At 1:35pm it started, I had already caught close to thirty fish and I was here to enjoy this but I have to admit I wasn’t expecting it to be as heavy as it was. Within the next thirty minutes caddis showed up everywhere, the grey caddis. #18 Grey/Tan Wing and charcoal grey body. I took some video and tried as hard as I could to get a few good macro photos but caddis are less than willing subjects, they almost never sit still. I took over a hundred photos and got three I’m happy with, trust me I’m very happy. I watched the fish and the bugs do the dance until 2:30pm then moved upstream to one last run, the run I came here to fish. I pulled three trout from it and smiled in the sun, beautiful browns. This was the run I sat on day after day in the sun tossing #18 dry flies learning how to cast, this is a special place for me. I hiked out thankful for this day.