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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Thursday, 09 May 2013 19:44

Spring Caddis and Mayfly Hatch Equals Grab the Fishing Gear

Caddis Fly Hatching Caddis Fly Hatching

We at Shotem and Caughtem, like many, are getting to the tail end of our ability to Turkey hunt.  With spring hunting season coming to an end the Shotem and Caughtem life will begin to shift focus from the Shotem side of the brain to the Caughtem side.  Luckily for us this weekend marks the start of the spring hatching season for caddis and mayflies.  What does that mean for us?  It means that the predator fish are going to come to the surface to gorge themselves on the little bugs.  This means it is fishing season.  So dust off the fly rods and the fishing gear cause the trout will be in full attack mode.  So take advantage of not only the hatch but the fact that nothing says happy mothers day better than some quality time in the great outdoors.  Here are some fly tricks and tips to aid in your adventure.  As always leave your comments in the section below and post your catches in the Caughtem Gallery or start one of your own to share with others.

What is the secret? Efficiency. The principle is simple; the actual attainment of it is not. Many anglers flail randomly, their fly occasionally crossing those areas where vulnerable insects concentrate, catching fish only when their fly is in a prime area. The expert, however, changes his tactics as the prime areas change, and keeps his fly for as long as possible in the productive zone.

The key to anticipating, or “ambushing,” a caddis fly hatch requires breaking the common notion of what it is. Too many fishermen only recognize the peak of the action, the frantic surface feeding coinciding with the heaviest concentration of insects on or under the surface film, but these fishermen miss out on fishing before or after the peak — fishing that is sometimes even better.

The first time an angler encounters heavy insect activity, he cannot anticipate it. It is a blind situation — he is unprepared for the ensuing feeding spree. He fumbles in his fly box for some kind of a matching fly and casts to the rising trout with various techniques. If he fails to find the right combination with his hasty attempts, he probably ends up frustrated and fishless.

Even a regular on a stream, lacking an understanding of entomology, cannot fully master such a situation. He might have enough experience with a particular insect to use proper flies and tactics during the main hatch, his methods worked out by past trial and error, but he can still only take advantage of the activity he sees, the hour or so of actual surface feeding. He cannot take advantage of the subsurface activity he does not see.

The fly fisherman who understands the typical life cycle of stream caddisflies, however, knows the vulnerable subsurface stages. He discovers where, when, and how the concentrations occur during an emergence, which allows him to anticipate and prepare for the appearance of the insect. This knowledge also allows him to take full advantage of the predictable daily feeding schedule of the trout. Such an angler is not a member of a scientific cult, but simply a fly fisherman who is prepared to match his tactics and flies to the changing concentrations of insects. There are three areas in which caddisflies concentrate during a hatch.

1.  Usually, hours before the main hatch, some caddisflies begin popping out. The first of these random emergers often reaches the surface safely because trout are not conditioned to the occurrence, but soon fish take notice of the hatch. Even when they do start feeding, however, the trout seldom rise to grab a natural from the surface.

2.  Once out of the silk-lined, stone or vegetable cocoon, drifting freely in the stream, the swimming caddisfly emergent begins inflating its surrounding skin with gas bubbles and beating with hair-fringed legs, both of these actions lifting the insect up through the water. At the surface the adult hesitates, pushing against the underside of the meniscus (surface film) and struggling to shed the pupal skin.

3.  When the peak hatch is over and the surface of the river is blank, most anglers quit fishing, or at least stop trying to match caddisflies but there is still an hour of so of very exciting action left. There is one more concentration of insects that pulls fish, often the largest, into specific areas of the stream.