Whackamole Caddis

Say Hello to my Little Friend
Yesterdays report from the river involves a heavy dose of caddis. The evidence was clear even as I stepped out of my rig at 7:30 PM on the bank of one of my favorite lower runs on the river I fish so often, and was greeted to the sight of splashy rises coming from a run of riffles. Splashy rises to me immediately scream caddis. Fish catapulting after rising caddis emergers, or swimming egg layers. The active nature of the caddis means these fish can't just sit and sip like they do during a mayfly or midge hatch. The bugs are moving, and so are the fish. The run was alive, and I couldn't wait to hit the water.

I tied on one of my favorite caddis emerger patterns and went for it. It didn't take long. First cast into the riffle and although I lost the fly in the rough water, I saw a nice splash about where I thought my fly should be. I set the hook and sure enough, the evening was underway.

Fishing a caddis hatch to me is so much different than a mayfly hatch. It's fast and furious. In a mayfly hatch my focus seems to hone in on one single fish, and I work that steadily rising fish until I either hook up, or the fish spooks. In a caddis emergence with so much going on I get easily distracted, and start casting to one fish when another catches my eye and I feel on occasion like I am spraying cast's all over the river. I have heard it described as whack a mole fly fishing. The thing is that in a strong caddis hatch the fish can seem as distracted as I am, and don't seem as bothered by a fisherman launching casts all over their run. So while whack a mole fishing can be a bad thing during a BWO hatch, it can on occasion work out OK when the caddis are heavy. The rises are often more sporadic during a caddis hatch so I have found that delivering a fly as soon as I see a rise, often elicits another slash from the offending fish. So this wackamole method worked very well last night. See a rise, deliver the fly, bam. Land the fish, release the fish, see the rise deliver the fly, bam. Rinse, repeat. Over and over. It was a great night.

The action just got steadily more intense until well after the sun went down. At points my skin was literally crawling with caddis, and every breath one took had to be done with the mouth closed, or you were likely to get some extra protein in the diet. (I don't quite see what fish see in these things as far as taste goes). Finally my fly became too tattered, and it was too dark to see to tie on a new fly. So I called it a night. As I shed my gear and waders at the truck, I could still hear the splashes of fish chasing those fluttering bugs.

Eat up trout, I will return.

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