Tips & Tricks

The dishonest caddis

It was our final day in Patagonia, and it may need been the very best day, not less than so far as the climate went. Furiously blue skies. Not a breath of the wind that had punished us the day earlier than. Clouds? What clouds?

Some days, you simply really feel it, you understand?

As we clamored out of the vans on the banks of the Rio Chimehuin 4 our ninth straight day of fishing, we felt it. Caddis swarms hovered over streamside willows, and the river boiled with risers. As we donned waders and waited for the guides to get the boats squared away, we watched as foot-long trout erupted from the river in pursuit of the flitting bugs, typically catching them, typically not.

A dry-fly day.

Now, there are a whole lot of dry-fly days in Argentina. In reality, the go-to rig our guides nearly all the time set us up with to begin was a measurement 6 Chernobyl geared up with a dropper—a trusted Perdigon nymph, or one thing buggy and reliable. It’s a big-fish rig, and that’s what Patagonia is all about, proper?

However on at the present time, with fish clearly keyed in on the caddis, the man calling the photographs for the day, Andres—one of many many stellar guides from Patagonia River Guides—didn’t hesitate to match the hatch. I pulled out my Idaho trout field, and Andres pointed to a measurement 12 Elk-hair Caddis with an olive-green physique.

“That one,” he stated. “Use that one.”

I caught a pleasant, 14-inch rainbow within the quick water earlier than Andres had even pulled the anchor in. Rattling. It was going to be one among these days.

And off we went, bouncing down the Chimehuin on what may need been the right day for a float. Caddis have been in all places. Fish have been in all places, too. Tight in opposition to the financial institution. Within the mushy water behind rocks and willows. Within the rapids. In all places. The largest fish may need been 14 inches, however the motion was energetic.

And, oh what enjoyable we had.

However then one thing troubling started to tickle the again of my mind … slightly, “Psst. Hey, buddy. Don’t you keep in mind?”

Bear in mind what?

After which I heard the voice of Tom Rosenbauer, the legendary angler and 40-year Orvis worker. All of a sudden, I used to be transported from maybe essentially the most picture-perfect day in Patagonia to the cramped quarters of the loft at Trout Hunter on the Henry’s Fork one snowy October evening the yr earlier than. My good friend Todd Tanner had requested me to return up and sit in on the School of Trout classes he was holding on the lodge, and Tom was giving his lecture to Todd’s college students, with the assistance of a slide presentation. He clicked to a brand new slide, and there was {a photograph} of your common grownup caddis.

“The caddis is essentially the most dishonest fly ever,” Rosenbauer stated. The room went deathly quiet. I keep in mind turning my head and giving Tom the proverbial side-eye.

“What?” I requested underneath my breath. “A dishonest fly?”

Tom didn’t depart me hanging. And the reason was sensible.

Right here’s the gist. Grownup caddisflies spend treasured little time on the water—often solely after they dip and dance through the egg-laying course of. More often than not, grownup caddisflies are effectively above the floor of the water, flying about largely out of attain or resting within the branches of overhanging vegetation. That’s why, throughout a prolific hatch, you’ll usually see smaller trout leaping fully out of the water making an attempt to seize airborne bugs.

“That’s an excessive amount of work for an enormous trout,” I keep in mind Tom saying. “You don’t see 20-inch trout expending that a lot vitality chasing caddisflies. It’s simply not value it.”

As a substitute, Tom stated, larger fish are inclined to search for simpler meals—bites of protein that don’t require the output of a lot vitality. Typically talking, trout are rather a lot like different fishy predators. If they will, they’ll anticipate meals to return to them. And caddis … effectively, wholesome, grownup caddisflies are simply too unpredictable. Or, as Tom put it, simply too dishonest.

However when caddis really hatch from the water, usually it takes them a while to free themselves of their pupal shuck. Typically, the flies get caught within the floor movie because the shuck weighs them down. This “cripple” model of the fly … effectively, that’s on the prime of the big-fish dinner want record, Rosenbauer defined. The fly is caught within the floor movie. It’s not going to fly off or dance and dip and dive or do something “dishonest.” It’s there for the taking. A simple meal.

I opened my eyes once more at the back of the drift boat on that good Patagonian day. I reeled my line in and took a take a look at my typically common caddis fly. I took out my nippers, and trimmed the hackle alongside the underside of the fly. Then I trimmed off about half of the elk hair bunched close to the pinnacle and thinned out the dubbing close to the bend within the hook. I dropped the fly within the river and observed that it floated fairly a bit decrease within the water—not like an grownup, however like a caddis caught within the floor movie. It’s tail finish was really in the water, not on it.

I gave the altered fly a dusting of desiccant and began casting. Andres identified a pleasant slick of sentimental water simply behind an overhanging willow department—the goal was concerning the measurement of a basketball hoop. It wasn’t a tricky solid—perhaps 20 ft. I dropped the rebuilt fly proper behind the willow, and nearly instantly, the fly disappeared.

“Set!” Andres shouted. I lifted the rod and got here tight to a lot bigger trout—a brown trout that pushed 18 inches.

Every thing was totally different about that fish. The fly was clearly totally different. The take wasn’t the splashy, panicky take of a foot-long trout nervous that it’s dinner may escape. As a substitute, it was a affected person sip. The delicate, assured gulp of a trout that knew precisely what it needed—a delivered meal courtesy of the angling model of Grub Hub.

And all it took was a pair of nippers and the reminiscence of lesson discovered one wintry Idaho evening from a fly-fishing icon. Classes are classes for a cause. Should you can keep in mind them, you’ll be able to idiot trout. Wherever.

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