The Humble Caddis Fly
The Humble Caddis Fly
As I sit here with my scotch in on hand, beer in the other, lit cigarette burning between my lips few thoughts cross my mind other than fly fishing. While I wonder what the next creek I will fish, who I'm going with, or how many cold beers to pack my biggest question remains…. What the f**k are the fish eating?! The answer my friend, the humble caddis fly…. Well at least for the smaller streams.
The caddis fly is one of those flies that you hear about from old timers, but as soon as you step foot into a mainstream fly shop gets muffled by rants of mayflies and puff daddies. Truth is that the caddis is an enticing meal almost anytime, unless of course you're fishing the tailwaters where trout see hundreds if not thousands of flies in a day. Even then, certain times of the year, there is no substitute for the humble, mothy, gets in your face, ugly caddis fly.
The caddis is a fly that comes in so many variations that I can’t even try to put a number on them, and can be fished in more places than not. A caddis is a mothy type bug that invokes strikes from mountain stream brook trout to big buttery tail water browns. Why is this fly so diverse? Because this devilishly handsome bug lives just about anywhere trout do.
You see, when the big waters gain more pressure and the wife tells me that a trip to Alaska is out of the question I turn to the mountain streams and a caddis to get the incorrupt bite that I'm looking for. The large profile and buggy look the caddis presents unearths a predatory instinct in fish that compares to that of a great white targeting a seal.
So, let's get down to the nitty gritty of it all. Most of the year you can count on this unruly bug to catch fish in streams no wider than your bathtub because of it's large (but not obscene) size, and it's truly buggy look. But like any good infomercial, WAIT that’s not all! Caddis' aren't just mountain bugs. There is a truly spectacular caddis hatch about this time of year that just so happens to be going on right now on the mighty Watauga. When these bugs come out you would think the waters had been chummed with the blood of a red headed virgin! Unfortunately the big hatch only lasts a few days, but fish still consistently rise to them throughout the summer months.