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Thread: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

  1. #1

    Default HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    OK, need some help from any caddis hatch busters and/or bug nerds (like myself) out there.

    PREFACE:
    I was on the middle section of the Weber River here in Utah on Sunday. For those not familiar with this water, it is a tailwater fishery, consisting mostly of brown trout and mountain whitefish, flowing through fertile farm country just on the other side of the front range of the Wasatch Mountains, at about 5600 feet ASL, and it sees a lot of pressure.

    HATCH ACTIVITY:
    At about 7:15a fish started porpoising and making splashy rises in some fairly fast water. I noticed a lot of caddisflies popping through, and briefly riding the currents. These were equal to about a hook size 14 (maybe a tick smaller) with light "tannish" wings, straw colored legs, antennae about the same length as the wings, and brownish/tan bodies (kind of 2-toned). This continued for about 40 minutes, about which time I noticed several caddisflies hopping about and some lying spent on the surface. All-in-all this activity lasted about an hour and a half. By 9:30a the weeds along the stream edges would literally explode with caddisflies as you walked through them. Trout continued to rise throughout the morning with some clearing the water.

    RESULTS:
    Results were quite dismal and deflating – three (3) fish in the net (one good one around 15"), four (4) lost, and another dozen or so missed with little or no weight put on them at all. Of the seven landed/lost all were hooked on #14 Diving Caddis soft hackle. The majority of the near misses were on #14 tan EH Caddis. The rest of the action – or lack-there-of – came by various soft hackles and GLF patterns.

    QUESTIONS:
    -1) Regarding the species – I'm thinking these were Hydropsyche's (Spotted Sedge) of some type? Anyone have any thoughts on that? I would just like to nail down the species if possible to make sure I'm using a proper larva pattern while probing around next time out.

    -2) Regarding the results – Anybody have any words of advice on improving on my numbers. Honestly this was the most frustrating trip in recent memory and I need a better game plan before heading back.

    Thanks in advance, and tight lines!
    "Joe"

    "We fish for pleasure; I for mine, you for yours." -James Leisenring

  2. #2
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    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    I can't speak to the species, I am not good when it comes to the specifc species ID. I tend to follow the rule of 3. Size, Shape & Color when "matching" a hatch, though I can usually do OK to ID the general type of bug.

    You might nose around Troutnut.com for a while and maybe you'll find what you saw on the stream.

    This fly is by far my most productive caddis dry pattern. If I could only choose one, it would without question be this one. I've used it during a hatch and while prospecting, both with success. You can use different colors of CDC to suit your needs. Natural CDC has been my most productive. I liken it to the Adams of Caddis patterns.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJyIbgKYHwY]Hans WeilenmannTying a CDC & Elk - YouTube[/ame]
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

  3. #3
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    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    My "home" river is a caddis stream and I never fish a dry fly during a hatch when the trout are breaching like that. Those fish are actively chasing fast swimming emergers and that's what they expect to see.

    Using the appropriate soft hackle, I cast down and across, targeting each individual rising fish, ....then give them a Leisenring lift right in their face
    They can't help themselves
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

  4. #4

    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    In northern NM and southern CO about a size 18, small with deer or elk, any natural color and dubbed body to match. A nice seat on the fly, about halfway in the drink so they can eyeball it real good. Anticipate over the risers and early on the set. Sometimes during a hatch, the fish are really clobbering emergers just below the surface, look for a small dimple in the water. Kinda subtle and at the end of your float, mend with a tug. Most have been following the fly and can't resist the change of pace.

    Hope some of this is useful.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  5. #5

    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    Stenacron,
    While it may be hard to determine the issue without seeing pics and/or being there on the water. It is my opinion, that while the caddis and spotted sedge are different species they are all in all one in the same as far as we as anglers need to know.
    Sure there are differences, but like Jay said the "rule of 3" still leads you to caddis patterns.
    And while this forum would be the first place for me to be corrected it is my impression that we here in the west call them caddis and back east they call them sedges, (kinda sorta but not always)?? any truth to that guys?
    Anyways it is my opinion that you need to give a few more caddis patterns a try. Soft hackles, emergers and Dries ect. and from the sounds of it what Jay posted wouldn't be a bad idea and something like the X caddis wouldn't hurt either. While some may be feeding on adults others may be feeding on emergers and so on, its constantly changing.
    To only try two flies and wonder why you didn't get the action you were looking for IMO that is where your problem starts and ends.
    Take up 3 or 4 more patterns including the ones you already used and swap them out throughout the hatch, I would like to hear how that works for ya.
    If you are confident that that is what they are eating then I think that should do it.
    May not be the answer you were looking for but I think it is closer than the first response I thought of and that is, put down the caddis and throw the meat!
    Good Luck!
    Watson

  6. #6

    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  8. #7
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    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    Sometimes when there is that much feeding going on your imitation gets lost among all the naturals. I've never had good luck during a hot and heavy hatch, there are too many of the real things to chose from.
    Oh I live to be the ruler of life not a slave

  9. #8

    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    Quote Originally Posted by jaybo41 View Post

    I can't speak to the species, I am not good when it comes to the specifc species ID. I tend to follow the rule of 3. Size, Shape & Color when "matching" a hatch, though I can usually do OK to ID the general type of bug.
    Thank for the video. I actually have tied/used a few of these when they first popped up in an issue of Fly Fisherman a few years ago. It's a nice generic pattern, and I caught trout on it, but not enough to motivate me to re-stock them as I lost them over time.

    I tend to agree with Rip Tide though regarding dry flies during a caddis hatch… more times than not it is not the way to go.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post

    My "home" river is a caddis stream and I never fish a dry fly during a hatch when the trout are breaching like that. Those fish are actively chasing fast swimming emergers and that's what they expect to see.

    Using the appropriate soft hackle, I cast down and across, targeting each individual rising fish, ....then give them a Leisenring lift right in their face
    They can't help themselves
    I agree with all of this, and soft hackles are my weapons of choice almost all the time. They didn't yield the results this time around for me however so that's why I brought it to the forum.


    Quote Originally Posted by socorrofly View Post

    In northern NM and southern CO about a size 18, small with deer or elk, any natural color and dubbed body to match. A nice seat on the fly, about halfway in the drink so they can eyeball it real good. Anticipate over the risers and early on the set. Sometimes during a hatch, the fish are really clobbering emergers just below the surface, look for a small dimple in the water. Kinda subtle and at the end of your float, mend with a tug. Most have been following the fly and can't resist the change of pace.

    Hope some of this is useful.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    I didn't drop down further than a #16 – might have been a mistake on my part. I like the idea of imparting some action on a semi-dry fly… that I did do (resulted in a few misses).


    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post

    It is my opinion, that while the caddis and spotted sedge are different species they are all in all one in the same as far as we as anglers need to know.

    And while this forum would be the first place for me to be corrected it is my impression that we here in the west call them caddis and back east they call them sedges, (kinda sorta but not always)?? any truth to that guys?
    I think the term "sedge" dates back to the "north country" across the pond… caddisflies were labeled as sedges in northern England… same generic term, but both the same. The "Spotted" sedge is specific to the most common, summer Hydropsyche species… that's why I included it here. Although the species I ran into Sunday had lighter wings than the ones I remember from back east... almost like a Grannom.


    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post

    Anyways it is my opinion that you need to give a few more caddis patterns a try. Soft hackles, emergers and Dries ect. and from the sounds of it what Jay posted wouldn't be a bad idea and something like the X caddis wouldn't hurt either. While some may be feeding on adults others may be feeding on emergers and so on, its constantly changing.

    To only try two flies and wonder why you didn't get the action you were looking for IMO that is where your problem starts and ends.
    Take up 3 or 4 more patterns including the ones you already used and swap them out throughout the hatch, I would like to hear how that works for ya.
    Here is what was (is) hanging off of my drying patch from Sunday;
    -Hare's Ear soft hackle = nothing
    -Partridge & Yellow soft hackle = nothing
    -Partridge & Olive soft hackle = nothing
    -Partridge & Orange soft hackle = nothing
    - Diving Caddis soft hackle = 7 hook-ups
    -Syl's Midge (partridge & herl) = nothing
    -Tan EH Caddis = numerous blow-ups with virtually no hook-ups
    -Green EH Caddis = nothing
    -tan & brown GLF Sparkle Emerger = a few near misses
    -brown & gray GLF Sparkle Emerger = 1 miss
    -Nymph, simple pheasant-tail = 1 fish (prior to the hatch)
    -Nymph, BH Prince = 1 fish (prior to the hatch)
    -Peacock Bugger = nothing


    Quote Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
    I like the looks of that Tabou Emerger… might have to hit the bench.

    __________________________________________________ ____

    This all really good stuff here guys... good therapy.

    Keep'em coming!

    ---------- Post added at 12:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:44 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by wt bash View Post

    Sometimes when there is that much feeding going on your imitation gets lost among all the naturals. I've never had good luck during a hot and heavy hatch, there are too many of the real things to chose from.
    This could have been a major issue.

    It was quite a blizzard... probably missed my window to score heavy right before the hatch got cranked up.
    "Joe"

    "We fish for pleasure; I for mine, you for yours." -James Leisenring

  10. #9

    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    This may not be the right answer but this happened to me a few times while fishing during heavy hatches and i found that during one particular yellow hatch the fish would not rise to or take anything yellow even though i saw them eating yellow mayflies at the time.They simply would not take my yellow patterns.I did solve the puzzle i had a yellow may fly pattern that gad a pink egg sac on it and the just trashed it on every cast i caught a fish,if i remember a diving caddis has an olive eggsac on it this could be the reason for the fish on it and not much on the other patterns .
    SHANNON

  11. #10
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    Default Re: HELP - Humbled by Caddisflies

    Quote Originally Posted by stenacron View Post
    I agree with all of this, and soft hackles are my weapons of choice almost all the time. They didn't yield the results this time around for me however so that's why I brought it to the forum.
    ________________________________________________
    (you probably did this but,) At that point I would have tried different mends to change up the speed and depth of the swing.
    If they're chasing the emergers, they need to see it exactly as they expect to.
    I don't think that the fly itself matters as much as the speed and angle of it's accent.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

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