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.
Left work the other day with an hour of light. The air temp on my way to the stream was 29 degrees but I was layered well and ready for a short romp in the water. There is something very calming and peaceful about being on the water at dusk. I stopped to watch a trout rise almost every two minutes to take something off the top of the water. I love watching trout hold a feeding pattern, something to take note of when it comes time to cast that fly. I collected samples from a specific spot on this stream because I fished downstream of where I took samples last season with my friend Heath. I remember I caught a few trout on Light Cahill dry flies.
I drove home when I could no longer see well enough to take samples. Note: the water temp was a nice cool 40-41 degrees. I drove home in the dark listening to MPR. It reminded me of many trips this summer driving home after dark listening to the radio. It was a crisp but good hour in the stream. When I got home I examined my samples and found interesting results.
It gave me confidence to remember I caught trout on Light Cahill patterns and then to find nymphs from the Macaffertium family. I haven’t come to a conclusion between Vicarium or Ithica but I’m going to figure it out. I also found several Baetis and Emphemerella nymphs. Note: the brighter yellow on the Baetis and as a result of that yellow I tied several size 16 and 18 Hare’s Ears with yellow and cream bodies. I’ll be posting new flies soon. One last thing to discuss here would be the second to last photo above. I have yet to figure out what it is. The side of the macro you can’t see has several suckers on it. It is definitely not a caddis larva, and it was very long probably 12-14mm. Anyone have any thoughts? I’ll be looking too.
Could it be a Cranefly larva?