Steelhead Schools, Caddis Hatches
Steelhead Schools, Caddis Hatches, Caddis Book
|An Instructor's View of Steelhead Schools|
You can never know too much about any subject. Going to a school and obtaining the guidance of skill instructors is accepted as the quickest, most efficient way to learn. Learning comes in measured stages for most people. Rarely is complete knowledge of any technical subject obtainable in only one day. This progression from lower to upper grade status is obtainable only if the knowledge of the lower grade is well
learned. For instance catching a steelhead with a fly rod is only "achievable" if the angler has learned how to cast with a fly rod. An student who has taken the time to learn how to cast "well" with a fly rod can reach more steelhead than one who hasn't. This fact was brought home during our 02/13/04 Winter Steelhead School which included (6) students. The three students who brought steelhead to their flies during this school had attended previous schools with us. Jim Stone got a good bight at
our first stop. He had attended a Deschutes Steelhead School with us two years ago. Jim Walker hooked (4) steelhead during the school and Peter Spooner hooked one. Spooner landed his steelhead and Walker landed two. Both of these fine anglers had taken our Spey Casting School in January. During the late afternoon Instructors Mark Bachmann and Brian Silvey had their boats parked across the river from each other. Jim Walker who was riding with Brian hooked an nice bright steelhead and
everyone was watching and cheering him on. Then Pete, who was riding with Mark hooked one that was just as bright. Both fish were released with help from the guides. It was a fitting graduation ceremony for both angling students. We provide the instruction. The steelhead issue the diplomas.
During this day we didn't get one piece of water that hadn't already been bait fished shortly before we got to it. There were about eight other boats on the water ahead of us including two very talented gear guides. We got strikes fishing behind them. It was February, Friday the thirteenth. Who knows whether the strikes were do to luck or skill. We instructors will take victory any way it comes. We had a very dedicated group of students. Also there were good numbers of fresh fish in our stretch of river. However, there was hard wind the early part of the day. We fished through it and were a stronger team because of it. Most of the fish were hooked during the wind. It was a fun day. I would do it again in a minute. I have a feeling that Brian & Ron feel the same. MB
29, 2004, Sunday, 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Caddis are some of the most prolific insect families in our western streams. Understanding the life cycle of the caddis can help you catch trout nearly year around. The importance of larvae, pupae and adults will be explored. Favorite larva, pupa and adults will be tied & discussed.
The programs and
instructions are free.
|UNDERSTANDING CADDIS HATCHES|
are abundant in most of the trout waters in the Northwest.
In rivers like the Deschutes, caddis larva and pupa can
number in the thousands per square yard of river bed.
In many rivers they are the most consumed food item during
the mid-summer months. Caddis flies are of the insect order Trichoptera,
which means hair wing. All caddis have fuzzy wings. Like butterflies and moths; caddis go through a true metamorphosis.
They have a larval, pupa and adult stage.
All stages are vulnerable and are eaten by trout.
Essentially a caddis larva fills the role of a caterpillar.
It is this juvenile stage which does the feeding and growing.
In many ways caddis larvae do resemble caterpillars.
They have large heads with well developed mandibles,
cylindrical bodies and short powerful legs.
However unlike caterpillars, many caddis species build houses
from gravel or vegetable matter.
Some of these houses are stationary, many are mobile.
Most species of caddis larvae that build houses are grazers that
scrape algae from the rocks for food.
Some species of predacious caddis larvae roam unencumbered in
the substrate. They eat other
smaller smaller aquatic insect juveniles.
Some species build funnel shaped webs that are strung between
the rocks on the river bed. The widest part of the funnel
faces upstream with the larva living in the down-stream neck of the
funnel. Its head is always pointed upstream into the
Food items get caught in the bell of the funnel and the larva can
feed at leisure. By utilizing this web strategy, they
are very much like spiders. Some of these net spinning
species are herbivorous others are predacious.
Caddis flies are of the insect order Trichoptera, which means hair wing. All caddis have fuzzy wings. Like butterflies and moths; caddis go through a true metamorphosis. They have a larval, pupa and adult stage. All stages are vulnerable and are eaten by trout. Essentially a caddis larva fills the role of a caterpillar. It is this juvenile stage which does the feeding and growing. In many ways caddis larvae do resemble caterpillars. They have large heads with well developed mandibles, cylindrical bodies and short powerful legs. However unlike caterpillars, many caddis species build houses from gravel or vegetable matter. Some of these houses are stationary, many are mobile. Most species of caddis larvae that build houses are grazers that scrape algae from the rocks for food. Some species of predacious caddis larvae roam unencumbered in the substrate. They eat other smaller smaller aquatic insect juveniles. Some species build funnel shaped webs that are strung between the rocks on the river bed. The widest part of the funnel faces upstream with the larva living in the down-stream neck of the funnel. Its head is always pointed upstream into the current. Food items get caught in the bell of the funnel and the larva can feed at leisure. By utilizing this web strategy, they are very much like spiders. Some of these net spinning species are herbivorous others are predacious.
Caddis larva come in a wide range of sizes and colors.
The ones that build housed from solid matter such as stones or woody
debris are often brightly colored. They may even be shades of
bright yellow or pink. Many species of larvae are green.
Some are nearly fluorescent green. Others are olive
tones. Green tones are prevalent both in species that do and
those that don't build houses. Most species that do not build
armored houses are camouflaged with earth tones. Most of these
larvae are olive or brown to tan tones.
Laval populations of many species go through predictable
“behavioral drift” cycles where they are consumed by trout and
white fish in great numbers. Several times while growing up,
each house building larva will outgrow it's house, discard it and
drift free while searching for a site and materials to build a new
larger one. While in the house hunting/building mode, they are
exposed to the elements. Numerous larvae might outgrow their
houses at nearly the same time and be drifting down along the river
bed enmass. You can imagine that a hail of brightly colored juicy
caddis larvae might have a similar effect on a population of trout
as throwing a hand full of popcorn to a flock of pigeons.
Species that build webs usually use a slightly different strategy
for finding new homes. Since the are able to build a strand of
silk, they often rappel themselves down stream like climbers coming
down a cliff face or a spider dropping from the ceiling. In
fast currents they can become like kites on the end of a
string. During these migrations many are exposed to feeding
When each larva has reached maximum maturity it crawls into a
protected niche and constructs a cocoon.
Metamorphosis starts to change the larva into an adult
insect. It develops
wings, feelers, long legs and sex organs.
This complicated transformation can take weeks.
During this period the insect is unavailable as trout food
except during catastrophic drifts caused by floods, wading anglers,
When the metamorphosis is complete, the newly formed adult
insect chews an exit hole in one end of the cocoon and crawls out.
It is now an air breathing organism surrounded by water.
To protect it, the insect is partially covered by a membrane
which contains air. Like
most terrestrial insects, caddis breath through tiny holes in the
sides of their abdomens. The
air retaining membrane covers the whole body, but is most prominent
in the anterior region. This
air bubble is highly visible to predator fish.
It is often the most distinguishing feature which fish key
Since air is a gas, it may be compressed or expanded.
In deeper flows the pupal membrane is compressed close to the
body by water pressure. As
the insect nears the surface, this membrane will expand with the
decreasing water pressure.
Some species of caddis drift for long distances within inches
of the bottom until they achieve the strength and buoyancy to rise
to the surface. During
the early stages of the hatch, patterns
like the Nori Caddis Pupa or Bead Head Caddis Pupa are most
effective when fished close to the bottom. As the hatch progresses
and more insects are rising to the surface a LaFontaine Sparkle Pupa
can become more effective.
Most caddis hatch by fighting their way through the surface
film. The pupal shuck
bursts as it comes in contact with the decreased pressure of air
above the surface of the water.
A hole opens in the top of the pupal shuck and the adult
insect crawls onto the surface of the water.
At this point some species ride the surface of the water for
a short time and then fly off.
However, according to my observations most small caddis
species which hatch from the Deschutes don’t fly, they walk across
the surface of the water to the bank.
While traveling to the beach they are vulnerable to the trout
which often rise and take these insects very quietly.
Fishing a LaFontaine Emergent Sparkle Pupa dead drift, in the
surface film with only the wing greased can be very effective.
Also an Elk Hair Caddis can bring strikes.
Some caddis don’t hatch from the water but prefer to swim
to the shore to hatch. They
crawl out of the water with their pupal shuck intact.
A prime example of this activity is the large October Caddis Dicosmoecus.
With this type of hatch dry adult patterns or only useful
when the females return to the water to lay eggs.
Egg laying flights can result in some great trout feeding
activity. There are
three major styles of caddis egg laying; dipping, broadcasting and
caddis fly an erratic path over the water and dip the tip of their
abdomens to the surface and deposit one or several eggs at a time.
This flight is unpredictable and hard for trout to time.
Although this type of egg laying activity is easy for the
angler to see it usually draws little attention from the trout.
Broadcasting can result in huge densely packed flights of
caddis flying within an inch of the water, laying eggs as they fly
upstream. Their wings are
beating so fast that they look like little balls of fluff suspended
above the water. A
Bivisible fly resting lightly on the water and drawn gently up stream
can draw savage strikes. With
this technique, it is always preferable to cast to rising fish.
Some species of caddis dive through the surface of the water,
swim to the bottom and lay their eggs on the substrate.
These caddis accumulate air bubbles on their wings and body
upon entering the water. This
gives them a silvery sheen. Patterns
tied to represent diving caddis should be dressed with Antron or other
air collecting material. The
Bead Head Caddis pupa fished on the swing can be deadly during these
After laying their eggs, caddis usually die quickly.
Many fall to the water to collect in back eddies where trout
often feed on them between hatches.
Patterns such as the Still Caddis and Parachute Caddis are
indispensable at these times.
When fishing caddis hatches, as with all fly fishing, careful observation is always your best weapon. Caddis Case Jewelry
GLOBE PEQUOT ( THE LYONS PRESS, FALCON), November 1997
Subject Category: Angler's Entomology & Fish Identification
Binding Type: Hardcover
Retail Price: $40.00
|Ten years' study produced this intense, in-depth look at one of the trout's major foods. LaFontaine introduces tested patterns and details strategies on how to best fish larvae, pupae and adult flies. Color & B/w photos; 8x11 inches, 336 pgs.|
|Book, CADDISFLIES, by Gary LaFontaine||$40.00|
|0-941130-98-3B||Book, CADDISFLIES, by Gary LaFontaine with any purchase over $100. That is 20% OFF plus FREE SHIPPING.||$32.00|
Loop Two-Hand Fly Rods
Fly fishing is a world wide sport and has a world wide community. Loop fly rods are designed and marketed from Sweden. Sweden and surrounding Scandinavia has long been a destination for Atlantic Salmon anglers and has a deep tradition of two-hand fly rod casting and fishing. Loop rods using Swedish engineering are constructed in South Korea which is emerging as one of the great graphite technology centers of the world. Loop two-hand rods have found much favor with steelhead anglers in the Pacific Northwest. These rods cast very well under a wide range of angling conditions and with a wide range of fly line designs. We think that a couple of models are especially useful on our local rivers (more on that later). The ones we've tried "fish" well.
Grey Line Two-Hand Fly Rods
designer Göran Andersson has broken new ground again with the
innovative Loop Grey Line Series. These rods have a deep, progressive
action while at the same time delivering lightning-fast recovery.
The Grey Line combines reserve power for every imaginable long-cast situation with the extremely important fingertip sensitivity required for close in and delicate work. These rods are simply apart from all others. To quote Göran: "These are rods that follow thought". Comes with two tips
|LGR 9130-4||Loop Grey Line Spey Rod, 13' for 9-10 line||$900|
|LGR 10150-4||Loop Grey Line Spey Rod, 15' for 10-12 line||$960|
Green Line Two-Hand Fly Rods
The “elite” rod. Light, but fast and powerful. Sensitivity and power are combined in a unique progressive action. Green Line's primary function is to adapt to all types of casts, to handle all possible levels of acceleration, while at the same time allowing for sensitive line-control.
Green Line facts: Deep green graphite finish. Supplied with two tip-sections. Snake guides and stripping guides with ceramic inserts. Black metal reel seats. High-grade cork handles. Matching deep-green bag and rod case. Comes with two tips.
|LGL 8124-4||Loop Green Line Spey Rod, 12' 4" for 8-9 line||$580|
|LGL 9116-4||Loop Green Line Spey Rod, 11' 6" for 9 line||$550|
|LGL 9132-4||Loop Green Line Spey Rod, 13' 2" for 9-10 line||$600|
|LGL 9140-4||Loop Green Line Spey Rod, 14' for 9-10 line||$620|
|LGL 10150-4||Loop Green Line Spey Rod, 15' for 10-11 line||$630|
Yellow Line Two-Hand Fly Rods
The yellow line was developed partly based on the need for highly-visible rods to use in casting instruction and filming situations. However the taper turned out to be one of the sweetest that we have ever experienced. The color is just an extra bonus!
Yellow Line facts: Warm yellow finish. Snake guides and stripping guides with ceramic inserts. Line # 2-6: Birds-Eye wood reel seats with silver finish details. Line # 7-12: Black metal reel seats. High-grade cork handles. Matching deep yellow bag and rod case.
|LYL 8124-4||Loop Yellow Line Spey Rod, 12' 4" for 8-9 line||$440|
|LYL 9132-4||Loop Yellow Line Spey Rod, 13' 2" for 9-10 line||$450|
|LYL 9140-4||Loop Yellow Line Spey Rod, 14' for 9-10 line||$460|
|LYL 10150-4||Loop Yellow Line Spey Rod, 15' for 10-11 line||$460|
Blue Line Two-Hand Fly Rods
Like all Loop rods, the Blue Line features a distinct progressive and continuous action from tip to bottom. This specific action ensures both soft and precise casting with perfect loop control and line speed.
The action is not the only distinctive feature; the new translucent deep blue color puts this rod in a class of its own. High performance at a favorable price.
Blue Line facts: Deep blue graphite finish. Snake guides and stripping guides with ceramic inserts. Matching deep blue bag and rod case.
|LBL 7116-4||Loop Blue Line Spey Rod, 11' 6" for 7 line||$350|
|LBL 8124-4||Loop Blue Line Spey Rod, 12' 4" for 8-9 line||$440|
|LBL 9132-4||Loop Blue Line Spey Rod, 13' 2" for 9-10 line||$450|
|LBL 9140-4||Loop Blue Line Spey Rod, 14' for 9-10 line||$460|
|LBL 10150-4||Loop Blue Line Spey Rod, 15' for 10-11 line||$470|
Black Line Two-Hand Fly Rods
Don't let the favorable price fool you! The Black Line series features a distinct progressive and continuous action from tip to bottom. The Black Line accommodates all kinds of overhand and underhand casting, and may be one the best-buys on the market today.
Bring it as the spare rod on your fishing trip and it could easily end up as your first choice. The Black Line has been praised highly in numerous reviews and tests and has become the favorite rod for many fishermen.
Black Line facts: Matte black finish. Black metal reel seat with specially designed fittings. Snake guides and stripping guides with ceramic inserts. Cloth bag. Rod case not included,
|LSL 9132-4||Loop Black Line Spey Rod, 12' 4" for 9-10 line||$410|
|LSL 9140-4||Loop Black Line Spey Rod, 14' for 9-10 line||$440|
Rod Super Store!
Pictured at right are 17 of the more than 40 models of spey rods that regularly revolve through our inventory. We carry the best models from: Loop, CND, Flylogic, Redington, Sage, Scott,
St. Croix, Thomas & Thomas and Winston. What may be more interesting is, that we have cast nearly every model we stock and have caught steelhead on many of them. Don't worry, it is a work of love. This kind of study is the best thing about working in a fly shop. Everyone likes toys to play with. Don't you wish that you owned 24 different spey rods and could try four different lines
|on each one....and didn't have to justify your excess to anyone? The first thing you might realize is that there are a few differing opinions about actions sizes. Our collection features models with classic slow actions to newest cutting edge fast action tapers. These rods run from 11' to 16' 7" in length; from #5 to #10 weight. The second thing you come to terms with, is there is no one single model that is the best for every situation. You can find models that will fish long & short, dry & wet, winter & summer, but to a degree each model is specialized to a certain set of parameters. Few anglers would choose a 15' #9 for summer fishing on the Deschutes over a 13' #7. The 15' #9 would win over the lighter rod for tossing big tube flies in the dead of winter. Slow, soft rods are a joy for playing fish and take little expertise to form serviceable casts, but often bog down in the wind. Very fast rods build terrific line speed and throw sinking tip and large flies, but take focus and skill to cast well. Probably in the end, medium size, medium weight, medium action rods fit the widest variety of angling situations and ultimately perform the best for the widest majority of casting styles. What ever you like in spey rods, we are likely to have it.|
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The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR
Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty