Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Are You Missing Strikes In Your Caddis Box?

  How diverse is your Caddis pattern box?  Does it just have a few elk hairs or is it stacked with a wide range of flies of all colors and material?  Well if it doesn't have a wide range of different patterns and sizes of these abundant flies then you could be missing out on even more fish.
   The truth is that Caddis flies populate the earth with more than 12,000 known species providing an abundant food resource for trout and other smaller fish.  The adult form of this varied species resembles more of a moth but has fine hairs that coat their wings instead of the scales.  Like moths, not all caddis flies are made the same.  They range in size, shape, and color and for trout fishing it matters.
  A few years ago I met fished with a buddy that had come down to fish trout in the hidden streams of the southeast.  We stumbled across this beautiful,yet small, bend in the river with rises all through the edge of a deep pool.  We took turns casting into the bend with a dry elkhair caddis, both the same size and shape but mine was just a slightly darker clay color than his.  The difference was almost undetectable but to the fish it made all the difference.  One after another I hooked up while he struggled to get a second look.  Our casts were identical, his presentation flawless, but it was color that made the difference.
  A few years later he got his revenge when he out fished me on his home waters of the Driftless waters in Southern Wisconsin but that event solidified in mind that a varied caddis box was essential if I was to have a successful dry fly outing.
  This winter I spent a good amount of time organizing and restocking a dedicated Caddis box with as many examples of caddis patterns as I could tie.  Deer hair in various colors, caribou hair (a favorite natural looking sedge wing material), and a few colors of elk hair all are important in a diverse caddis box.
  If you are worried that your caddis tying is lacking in quality, I can offer this advice; Don't. Through years of fishing them I have discovered that the rougher they look the better the trout like them.  Color and size seem to be more important to the fish than the exactness of a well stacked elk hair.  I seldom buy my flies anymore but when I do come across a store bough caddis I rub it in the mud and rough it up before I fish it. If you doubt the sense in this than I point you to the fly itself.  There is nothing pretty about a caddis struggling in the water film.  To put it another way, if a mayfly is the Porsche 911 of dry flies then the Caddis is the Ford Escort.  It may not be the best looking thing in your box but it will reliably get you form point A to point B.
And don't forget to tie up a number of good larvae patterns to compliment the dry fly.  Caddis flies also make excellent strike indicators for fish feeding on the larvae of these, and other underwater insects.

1 comment:

Bill Trussell said...

Great advice on the caddis, especially the color aspect, which I am lacking in; need to upgrade there. Thanks for sharing