Friday, April 30, 2010

Caddis, Caddis and more Caddis

Now that the Hendrickson and Blue Quill hatches are waning we turn our attention to the caddisflies that are hatching, while we patiently wait for the next big mayfly hatch, the Sulphurs.

Matt's Dark Caribou Caddis, size #16-18.

Truth be told, caddis hatches are just as exciting and fun to fish as any mayfly hatch, maybe more so in many cases, but the noble mayfly still captures the imagination of most fly fishers. 

But of course; the mayfly sits majestically upon the water, its upright wings and long, fine, curving tails so visually appealing.  You watch the water surface, and literally out of the blue, a miniature sailboat appears.  It floats, like a rudderless sailboat while gaining its perspective of the world before taking flight to the streamside brush, where it will molt, mate, and then die unceremoniously in less time than it takes the sun rise twice. 

In the end, the mayfly falls gently, like an autumn leaf to the water's surface, where it lies lifelessly just before a trout sips it in for an appetizer........ perhaps Mother Nature conferred with Shakespeare whilst pondering the mayfly life story?

Sure we love fishing mayfly hatches, who doesn't?
We also love to fish caddis hatches.  Whereas the mayfly is quiet and passive, the caddisfly is active, impetuous, and given to varying behaviors depending on the genus and species.  They also live a hell of a lot longer than mayflies once they hatch.  And best of all, in just about very watershed the caddisfly is more abundant both in the number of species and the number of insects per square foot of stream bottom.

The caddisfly sits low on the water, like a tent with a head and antennae.  In the hand, they look like a small moth.  The difference is that caddisflies have tiny hairs on their wings, and moths have scales.  Although some caddisflies hatch and sit on the water surface for a short period, many do not.  Instead they pop out of their pupal shucks just under the meniscus and become airborne instantly without stopping, to peruse their new waterless world..  There are others, like a few mayflies, that will swim to the water's edge and crawl out on a rock or log to hatch.  The bottom line is that this knowledge will help you catch more fish during caddisfly hatches, as you will better be able to mimic the insects behavior and entice the trout that are feeing on them.

Of course, there's much more to it than that. Same with the mayflies, but screw them for now, we're talking caddisflies.  Right now there are roughly 6 species hatching  on local waters that the trout within are going to feed on.  Here are my personal choices for imitating them:

Matt's Light Caribou Caddis, size #14-18

Iris Caddis, size #14-16.  Designed by C. Mathews and J. Juracek. This wonderful combination of fur and zelon, imitates the emergence stage of our most prevelant caddis genus, the Hydropsyche.  The pupa swims to the water surface and drifts for a short period right in the meniscus, and then when ready, the adult pops out and is immediately airborn, flying around like a drunk sailor.  The fly imitates that vulnerable period when the pupae are drifting in preparation of hatching - all the trout have to do is look up and see the familiar silhouette, and BAMMO!  Fish on..........

And finally, an apple green Caribou Caddis, sixe #14, to match the Apple Caddis so present right now.

Matt's Caribou Caddis Recipe -
Hook: Dry fly
Tail/shuck: Amber zelon
Body: Rabbit mixed with zelon or antron
Underwing: White or clear zelon
Wing: Caribou body hair
Thorax: Touch-dubbed hare's mask
Now all there is left to do is get out and fish. 

Go! What are you waiting for??  

Sharpen those hooks!!!!!

Pebble Mine is Only the Tip of the Iceberg.....from

Click here: Hedge Fund Managers and Wealthy Lodge Owners

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Kings of Leon - Musicians and Fly Fisherman

Had a very cool weekend as I had the pleasure of guiding some of the members of the band and their family members on a local river.   It was me along with Dan Ansbach, and Lenny, both of whom guide out of Shannon's Fly shop in Califon, NJ.

L-R - Matt - lead guitar, Nathan - Drums, Chad (tall dude) friend, Nacho - Head Band Tech, and Tom - Big dog and father of the bride.

We were fortunate because the weather was perfect, caddis were on the water all day, and the trout were feeding on them. The guys worked hard and so that kept us working hard - not that it was work changing flies, fixing leaders and netting fish.  The tough part was being on the water all day in waders with all your equipment, but no rod and lots of rising fish!  We spent 8 hours on the river, putting them on fish, and eventually, getting them all to catch some beauties before the day was over.  That evening, Karen and I joined them for dinner at the Sterling Hotel.

The top dry fly of the day was my Caribou Caddis, size #16 brown/gray, and the top dropper fly was Lenny's BWO emerger.

It was a great day.  We're all looking forward to hitting the river again next time they are in town.

Sharpen those hooks!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mother Nature Showing Us Who's Boss........ Again.

Click the link below for more incredible photos from our neighbor to the northeast.

More from Eyjafjallajokull - The Big Picture -

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hendrickson Emerger Pattern

For those of you wondering about the pattern I posted about, here it is.  Like most of the patterns I use now, it's simple to tie and very effective for this hatch.  It is essentially a pheasant tail soft hackle.

Hook: #12 dry fly
Thread: Danville 6/0 Olive
Tail: Dark pheasant tail fibers
Abdomen: Dark pheasant tail ribbed with copper wire
Thorax: Medium austrailian oppossum tied very buggy/loose
Hackle: Brown speckled hen dyed olive

Fish it dead-drifted like a nymph, but fish it through the drift so it rises as your line tightens below you.  Depending on the current speed, I will place a #4 or 6 split shot about 6 to 8 inches above it on the tippet.

Sharpen you hooks!

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Weekend Spent in the River

Just as predicted, the Hendricksons hatched quite well this past weekend.  Saturday they came of in very good numbers and the fish were taking them.  Caught oodles of trout on Saturday, most of them on my Hendrickson emerger fished subsurface.  When a found a rising fish, I'd take off my split shot, and fish the emerger like a dry - WHAMMO!!!  Make a good cast, manage your drift and the fish would take.  

On Sunday the hatch was not as heavy ( a cold front was moving through), but there were enough Hendricksons on the water to keep the trout active and feeding.   There were also a good number of dark grannoms coming off, so a switch to a brown and bright green LaFontaine sparkle pupa produced quite few fish, including the pig shown below.  

Here's the real McCoy, a female Ephemerella subvaria that decided to rest on my cork rod grip: 

And here's my emerger - sparse, tight and streamlined:

And what would we have without some photos of our quarry?

A wild brown trout:

A larger brown trout:

And a pig holdover rainbow:

Perfect weather, perfect water level, very good hatches and fishing with friends combined for a fine fishing weekend.

Sharpen those hooks!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Victor Molev - Metamorphosis

Check out this artist.  When each painting is viewed from a distance it is a face, when viewed close-up it is something entirely different.  His other works are just as fascinating and whimsical.  View it in full-screen for full effect.  
He doesn't fly fish, but I hear he does sharpen his hooks.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hendricksons/Red Quills Have Arrived!!

One of my favorite hatches, Ephemerella subvaria, has begun to hatch.  It signals the arrival of spring and is the first hatch of the year that really brings the trout to the surface to feed.  It always starts with the males, Red Quills, and a few days later come the females, Hendricksons.  By early next week in New Jersey, both should cover the water surface by mid-afternoon and trout will be sipping away.  It's the tits!!

Here is a Red Quill that came to poppa today...........

Sharpen your hooks!!!!!