Backcast a few days ago to the Swift above Rt 9 and to the Y Pool in particular. I had an ok/slow hour or so in the bubbler arm and then worked my way down under the footbridge and down to the pool. I had only one other angler there and he didn't last that long so I had the rare opportunity to fish the Y by myself.
That's when I saw it. That little insect skating frantically around on the surface to find something to crawl up on. A minute later I saw another doing the same thing but this time a rainbow ended that trip. I had just stumbled upon a sparse but interesting Winter Caddis hatch. This is what brings me to the Y Pool every winter!! It's the Winter Caddis.
This caddis is different. Instead of crawling to the shore to hatch or rising through the water column and then flying away this caddis makes it's way to the surface and then runs along the surface trying to find the shore or some object to crawl onto. Fishing this dry on a dead drift is not as effective as making this dry fly move. That means that you have to create an imitation that can withstand some wiggling and tugging and still come up floating. The famous Foam Caddis is the traditional imitation but it never worked that well for me when I imparted movement. I needed a dry fly with the same profile but something that floated longer. I settled for the CDC Winter Caddis.
Hook - size 20 to 22 scud hook
Thread - 12/0 black
Shellback Wing - grey or brown CDC
Hackle - dry fly quality size 20 or 22 in grey or brown
head - Black dubbing
I use a thread body where I tie in a CDC feather with the tip facing backwards.
I then tie in a standard dry fly hackle (dark gray or brown) with enough to fold over the top of the fly.
Next comes a size 20 dry hackle that will be palmered over the hook but clipped short.
Next I fold over the CDC feather forward and tie off.
Next I add a head of black dubbing and that is it.
This fly skates when it's moved due to the stiff hackle stubs. The CDC keeps it on the surface as it's moved by me.
It works because I caught one bow and missed another while field testing.
I can hardly wait to see if I run into another MONSTER hatch at Cady Lane like I did last early Spring. The naturals were everywhere, the trout were rising and I had ONE hit with the foam version.
Thomas Ames Photo
This January has been kind. I've been working above Rt 9 as I do most Winters and the trout are there and willing. Think small, thing slow, think scuds and pheasant tails. Look for Winter Caddis!!!