I'm sure some of you have experienced this and might have some recommendations. I spent the day fishing the Little Juniata in PA. and from the time we arrived in the morning, until dusk, there was a continuous Caddis 'thing' going on. They were so thick, you'd take a breath and suck a bunch into your mouth - nasty! Anyway, we were having a lot of trouble actually hooking up. I caught 5 on soft-hackle hares ear in the morning but considering the conditions that didn't seem too great. Then in the afternoon and evening with the 'blizzard' even more intense, nothing seemed to work, yet fish were everywhere! I caught one on a caddis dry and one on a wet in the last 5 hours (yeah - I did miss a few as well)!!. My buddy did a little better on Elkhair Caddis but we felt like we should have had a 50 fish day?! I'm generally not greedy when it comes to quantity of fish caught but this was very frustrating. Splashy rises everywhere and these were nice sized fish - mostly browns. Once, one fish came out of the water and grabbed my buddy's caddis before it hit the water! Wets barely worked, drys were so so on a dead drift. If you could skitter the fly it seemed to get some attention but that was a tough way to fish the slightly broken water. I fished till dark and they were doing those crazy rises almost continuously. I'm not sure what they were really zeroing in on. I only caught 8 fish all day yet it seemed like one of those 'made in heaven' hatches. Could it be a situation of too much of a good thing? How have some of you fished this type of heavy hatch? Any technique that seems better able to handle this type of situation?
thats what those lil white bugs are? I had these tiny tiny bugs today hit me like a blizzard for about 10 seconds and then never seen any again. it reminded me of small snow flurries. they were just very small white bugs? should of tried to grab one haha.
Probably not the same. My 'bugs' were about a size 18. Yours were those little white midges or whatever they're technically called. I saw a few of those today too. I don't even have a pattern to fish for them! By the way - that was a pretty big sucker you caught!
I think your right on the $$ with your thought of "too much of a good thing", Look at all the food the fish had to choose from, Caddis Emergers, Adults, and probably returning egg laying Caddis. A virtual feast!!
How were the fish feeding? head breaking the surface?, back and tails only? splashy quick rises? or possibly a slow confident pluck?
Each type of rise can give you a good indication of what stage they were eating. With Caddis, oftentimes it can be a variety of rises at the same time.
Something to try in a 'Smorgasborg' such as this, is to offer something completely different than what is hatching, like a smaller Royal Wulff, Trude, or a Humpy. The thought being that the fish will bore of the same old thing and will jump on that "piece of pie".
You may want to consider some of Gary LaFontaines thoughts on the Caddisfly in his classic read 'Caddisflies', it can be a little bit like a textbook to just flatout read, but is a fantastic book to refer to.
True, you could unmatch the hatch by throwing a different bug. That will sometimes work during a hatch. But you said, "Splashy rises everywhere"...
So that might mean the trout were keyed on emergent flies. It's likely you never got the pattern right or the movement, or maybe the depth. Perhaps the fish were chasing emergers and vaulting themselves out of the water. Fishing a deep sparkle pupa, slowly stripping it back from deeper water may have turned the trick.
Anyway, it's a 'problem' that all of us are eager to participate in!!!!Too many bugs, lots of rising fish ...sweet.
Thanks for the responses! I think you guys are right on the money. My fishing buddy, being as frustrated as me, had one nail a big ole' stimulator?! Of course we thought it was a fluke and didn't realize it could be the solution to the problem. I screwed up by not taking my full compliment of flies along. And, the sparkle pupae may have done the trick; heck, I even had some of those along but went from soft hackles to drys and back to soft hackles. Forgot about the sparkle pupae until I was riding home!? The fish started out just snapping at things on the surface but as the day wore on the were coming half out of the water to grab flies. There certainly wasn't much 'sipping' going on! HA! I was the one who was ready to do a little 'sipping'! As you say, "It was a great problem to have!"
I think the soft hackle was a good way to go. When fished close to the surface, they can imitate a struggling emerger, which trout view as easy pickings.
The Stimulator your buddy fished is an example of the other approach I would recommend in a blanket hatch- throw a bigger meal out there. This tends to work especially well if the bugs available to the trout are smaller.
......and I did pull out the book 'Caddisflies'. I should have had it with me streamside yesterday. It covered my scenario very explicitly! Now I'm ready to try it again. Thanks again for the push in the right direction.
That book is so full of info its ridiculous. I would have to hire somebody to do my job to have time to be able to use half of the info in the next 10 years.
I intend to finish buying Gary's masterpieces, and study them thoroughly, but I doubt I'll have time for a while. Just so you know, the publishing co, catalog outfitter Gary started is still in operation- Fly Fishing Books & Products: the Book Mailer