“Caddis live under a rock you know. What’s so fabulous about that?”
Spring brings large numbers of caddis and reckless abandon in the trout population. Even high pressured streams will offer up a lot of trout when the hatch or egg laying is going on. When there is no hatch a lot of fish are still on the look out and will offer plenty of action.
Turn over a rock or a piece of wood in the stream and there’s a good chance you’ll find caddis larva. Many build a case to live in, some don’t . They grow fat off of plant matter in the water. Some larva are more mobile than others when in pursuit of food. When they mature they will seal themselves in a case and transform into a pupa. They then leave the case and jet to the waters surface on a trapped air bubble. When reaching the surface the outer skin of the pupa splits open and out pops a caddis fly with wings. They are fast and gone in an instant.
A trout has little time to decide if what they are seeing is food. It’s the fleeting nature of the caddis that force the trout to react quickly. You’ll often see fish so worked up that they will go airborne when taking a fly on the surface. Some cunning trout will even jump out of the water and eat the fly as they enter the water. All we need to do is pitch a fly among the riffles and watch for an aggressive take. Don’t be surprised if you miss on the hook set. A trout will strike with reckless abandon and actually miss the fly or mistakenly push it away when it breaks the surface. This happens more than you may realize.
Because the caddis are fast and the trout are in hot pursuit we can get away with sloppy presentation. Often it does not matter if your fly has drag, in fact you’d do better to give it a twitch. If you want to introduce someone to dry fly fishing for trout, take them fishing when the caddis are on the water. The splashy rises and jumping trout will get everyone worked up and fuel the dreams of days to come.