The Ramblings of a Fly Fisherman

The Caddis Pupa

The caddis fly is one that all fly anglers should be familiar with. It is a staple for many trout streams and when the season is right, there are very few patterns that can beat it. However, I feel that many of us often fail to take full advantage of this insect and its lifecycle. We typically find ourselves only tying one on when we see visible adults in the area that the trout are currently responding to. In reality, trout are often willing to take pupa and larva stages even more voraciously than the adults.

How can you tell if you are in an area that has caddis pupa or larva if you see no visible signs of adults? I do this by scanning the shallows and looking for their rock-like casings, as I find these the easiest to spot.

The picture below is what you need to be looking for along the streambed to determine the presence of caddis.

As far as tying these patterns, there is a huge range of possibilities.  I have seen some that involve nothing more than some rubber ribbing, dubbing, and a small black bead.  Others have ranged from CDC feathers to improve swimming action to leather strapping to simulate body texture and color.  The choices are limitless.  The most important fact is that you have to use what works best for you and keep casting.
My Simple Caddis Pupa  -

Here is a more complex version that I started tying this weekend - Charlie's Caddistrophic Pupa

Fish Explorer

I was just introduced to this fishing resource today by my new friend Aaron Russell. So far, I have been impressed with the content and usability of the site. It looks as if you can get information regarding fishing reports, water conditions, best locations, maps, reviews, recommended flies, etc… I am going to add it here as one of the tools that you will be able to find and utilize when planning your fly fishing adventures!

The Scud

One of the best flies that I have fished with, especially in early spring, has been the scud. Scuds come in a wide variety of colors, but often colors such as tan, olive, and brown seem to work best. I have used orange and pink as well, but these colors are really more intended for darker water conditions in order to aid in higher visibility. A scud is a small, freshwater shrimp and can often comprise up to 20% of a trout’s overall diet. Next time you are wading around the river bank, try to focus on the bottom of the river bed around the shoreline. If you see scuds, you can pretty much guarantee some action if you happen to have one of these in your fly box.

This is what a live scud looks like!

Here are a few examples of the Epoxy Scud variation that I have been tying recently...

Idle Hands and Homebrew!

Well, tonight I was attempting to restock my fly boxes with one of my favorite patterns, the pheasant tail nymph.  I started as I normally do, tying the traditional recipes and then slowly moving into minor variations that included alternate hooks, wire, beads and of course flashbacks.  It was then that I saw some potential.  I began incorporating some of the epoxy techniques that I learned just a few weeks ago while tying the jujubaetis and applied that idea to the pheasant tail wing case.  What materialized was a flashback variation unlike any that I have tied before.  The flashback feature really jumps out on this pattern.  Hopefully, the trout will be as excited about this fly as I was when I was tying it.
The New and Improved Flashback Pheasant Tail Nymph

They look even better lined up in my fly box!

After that, there was no stopping me.  I kept experimenting with epoxy, hook sizes and types, dubbing, etc…  You name it!  What was created at last, with just a few scraps that I would have normally tossed in the trash, was something that I really feel good about.  What once was a simple nymph pattern has now been exposed to a few hours of homebrew, idle hands, and what can only be described as the equivalent of concentrated gamma radiation.  She will have a test run this season.  Let’s see what the trout think!
The Hulk!

Un-Matching the Hatch

I have been fly fishing now for about 5 years and one of the first things that I was taught had to do with the importance of “Matching the Hatch”. As we have all certainly experienced, there are magical times during the year when we find ourselves on the river at just the right moment. The temperature is perfect, the wind is calm, and the mood is just right… and then it happens. All of the sudden, we are in the middle of a massive emergence. We frantically rifle through our fly box for that perfect fly that the trout will certainly find irresistible. We toss pattern after pattern watching in desperation as the trout rise at what seems to be anything but the fly that we are presenting. “What’s going on”, you start thinking. Is it the fly? Is it the presentation? Is it me?

Despite the effort, you end up short. The emergence begins to thin and the surface of the river falls silent once again. You then compare your pattern to a few bugs that you have managed to catch during what was certainly a poor example of adult behavior as you uncontrollably swatted at the air still unlucky and without a trout on the end of your line. What could you have done differently?

These are the moments to throw out everything you have learned. Ignore all of the recommendations that you have been given and do the unthinkable, “Un-Match the Hatch”. Believe it or not, this technique can be quite effective, especially during those periods in which there is a load of surface activity and such a large volume of natural foods that even a great imitation still lacks the needed detail to be mistaken for the real thing. These are the times to try patterns such as ants, hoppers, stimulators, etc… Presenting something that is a polar opposite to what the trout might be expecting may be just the trick to grasp their attention, especially during what can seem to be similar to a wild feeding frenzy. Give it a try; you just might surprise yourself as to what will be effective.

The Jujubaetis

You will have to pardon the picture on this one because the surface had so much of a sheen that I had a hard time focusing on such a small fly with my point and click camera.  Anyway, this is the Jujubaetis.  Now while it may just be a variation if the original Jujubee pattern, it can be quite effective fishing in tandem along with the little midge counterpart.  This is another one of Charlie Craven’s designs that I have been utilizing for a few years and which has produced some really nice fish both in the South Platte and Big Thompson rivers.    I have had the best luck mid to late fall and I recommend tying these in a wide range of colors.
The Jujubaetis