Fished on Friday May 1st, 2009
Well the weather report looked bad – possible rain in the morning, probably thunderstorms in the afternoon. So we went fishing anyway. Thankfully we didn’t let the weatherman dissuade us from our trip. He had it right about rain in the morning, but the afternoon turned out to be beautiful – it was sunny but cool. And the fish were cooperative. It was one of those days when everything comes together.
As soon as we got out of the truck, at the Yellow Creek Fly Fishing Only Project Area, the sun came out and the rain stopped – but the water was pretty high and discolored. The site of the discolored water did not make me happy – I never seem to have much success when the water is off color. But these misgivings proved unwarranted as we looked upon our favorite fishing hole. The fish were rising. A lot of fish were rising. It was a nice little caddis hatch – not a blizzard type hatch, but a consistent parade of fluttering caddis popped off the water, and fish continued to hungrily rise to them, all afternoon and into the evening.
There were several different caddis coming off – most were generally light colored and maybe a size 14; a smaller number were dark gray or black and more of a 16 or 18. I was never able to catch any of these bugs though, so I can’t give a better description. I’d love to know what color and size they really were – I think we could have had one of those truly stellar days if we’d had a good match. As it was we did okay, catching fish on a variety of different patterns.
On the surface I caught fish on size 12 and 14 Elk Hair Caddis with tan and gray bodies, size 18 black caddis, and a size 14 Elk-hair Yellow Sally was good for a few too. Due to the rising fish I didn’t fish underneath much – but a size 12 Peacock and Partridge Soft Hackle, fished on a rising swing, was good for some hookups. Every change of fly would bring a few lookers – and usually a taker.
I have a hard time just fishing – I’m always trying to learn something. This trip drove home a few good lessons (I seem to continually learn, forget and then re-learn the same things).
Lesson Number 1: Don’t let the weatherman tell you what to do.
If we had heeded the weather man’s warnings we would have missed a memorable day on the stream. Whatever the weatherman says – just fish!
Lesson Number 2: Always have plenty of caddis in the most common sizes and colors
Of course, I know that a caddis hatch is always a good possibilty – so there’s no excuse in not having the right color or size. Do yourself a favor sit down tonight and tie some caddis dries in assorted colors (Tan, gray, olive) and sizes (12 – 18). Most caddis I see are best imitated using a light colored wing – but occasionaly I’ll also see some fairly dark brown or gray caddis, so be prepared for both.
Lesson Number 3: Don’t be afraid to improvise
One of our crew – after losing his best hatch-matching caddis imitation – in a trout’s lip – got out the scissors and improvised. He trimmed down what I think was a size 12 Gray Wulff and made an awesome caddis emerger. This fly worked well. It not only caught rising fish – it brought some fish out of the depths as an attractor fly. The modifications consisted of cutting off the tail, trimming off most of hair-wings, and trimming the hackle. What was left of the deer-hair wings floated flush on the surface and the body of the fly hung suspended beneath the water. The result was a decent caddis emerger not unlike the Vermont Caddis:
Vermont Caddis Recipe:
Hook: Standard Dry Fly Hook 12-20
Body: Hare’s Mask Dubbing to match natural (tan, olive, black, etc.)
Hackle: Brown and Grizzly mixed (one size smaller than normal for hook)
Fish this fly without floatant – so that the hackle lies flush and the body is suspended vertically under the surface.
Lesson Number 4: Don’t forget to enjoy the surroundings! With a blog post in mind – I made sure to look around me and notice things, so that I would have some pictures. Well – I should remember to always do this. Here’s a few bits of nature that we enjoyed.,
Oh and don’t forget to stop at The New Frontier Restaurant after your day of fishing. The Restaurant is located on Rt. 36 about 100 ft from Yellow Creek. It has good homestyle cooking at good prices. I’m a sucker for the Hot Roast Beef Sandwich with fries and Gravy. If you’re there on Friday try the all you can eat fish dinner.