The hatch is eminent. We are right on the cusp of seeing this hatch explode and as we impatiently wait for the bugs to pop, it's important to go into this spring with a little more knowledge and a plan. As of today, the hatch is spotty but it will blow its lid here any day! Here is shot of what it is going to look like when it finally happens. The cool weather has kept the hatch from blowing up, but on the upside - water clarity as of today is excellent.
Dry Fly Fishing Tips
A few years ago I just couldn't help myself while working the shop floor, I could see the swarms of Caddis and a few feeding fish across the river. I grabbed a teammate and we put a boat in and rowed over to where we could see the splashy rises in the shadows along the brush from the shop. I filmed a short video clip with a few great tips on how to approach fish when dry fly fishing.
Dry Flies for the Mother's Day Caddis Hatch
Presentation is 90% of catching fish on dry flies, but you'll want to be able to trust your fly. When I have absolute confidence that my fly works, it instills focus and diligence in my casting and fishing. Get good flies. Flies that float good, are tied with good materials so they dry out on a single false cast, hold together after catching a few fish, and feature quality hooks.
I like a Caddis that skates well when I mend and doesn't take a nose dive, so buoyancy for me is an important attribute. If the fish are feeding exclusively on emergers, I'll sometimes trail an emerger or a soft hackle but my go-to bugs are always going to be good floaters. A deadly accurate cast will often entice a fish that had been feeding slightly sub-surface to come up to the top.
Top Picks for the Caddis Hatch
For me, this small group of Caddis will make up about 80% of my fishing. I'll grab a few other flies like a Missing Link Caddis or a Corn Fed Caddis when a fish is feeding a bit low in the film, OR when I have a really picky feeder a Partridge Soft Hackle fished wet behind a dry fly is my killer.
Good floater, great mender (skates up on top as you mend) and it's easy to see. I can catch several fish with it typically before it needs more floatant and the clean body (no vertical hackle) helps the fish identify it as a late stage emerger IMO.
Leader Setup for Dry Fly Caddis Fishing
On our river, the Yakima, we fish tight into the sticks and brush most of the time. You'll find yourself in awe of how some of these big trout bury their heads right in the sticks feeding on egg-laying Caddis as the walk off the branches. I swear the trout chew on the branches like corn on the cob! It's incredible.
With that said I personally like nothing less than 4X tippet, a heavier tippet provides some abrasion resistance because inevitably my tippet will wind up with some nicks and scars in it.
My preference for fishing the tight edges is also to use a 7.5' leader on a #4 or even a #3 weight rod. The lighter line, thinner line, and touch of a lighter rod for close range fishing yields a significant advantage.