Having now spent a great deal of time collecting samples and watching the caddis doing their thing on the upper Grand, I hit the tying bench with both live caddis samples and fresh memories of trout rising to within inches o my fly…..
and NOT take it! That scenario is all too familiar to most anglers. I can’t help but think they either see me, or (more likely) see something about the fly they don’t like. Sure, there are many other reasons a trout refuses a fly, but I know fly tiers can stack the odds in their favor with an accurate imitation.
I held the samples I captured up to the light to simulate what a trout might see during periods of intense sunshine. I also tapped the jar to see that jittery, spastic high-speed running that caddis are famous for. I observed that at rest, caddis have a very long, slim profile. When they run, their wings open a bit and the true size of their abdomens is revealed. I also noticed that their abdomens were quite animated, expanding/contracting…the tip sometimes moved in a circular motion. Sounds strange, but it looked a bit strange too. I got to thinking, as i’m sure countless others have, how big a role that pronounced abdomen plays in the imitations. A pattern was evolving in my mind, and I settled on this sort of emerger/dry as my first attempt.
Tying The Grand River Caddis Fly Pattern
Hook:Tiemco #2487 Size #16
Thread:Rusty dun/tan 8/0
Abdomen/Body:Olive/brown beaver dubbing, Orvis Fine&Dry dubbing, #7703 Sulphur yellow
Overwing:Coastal Deer hair
Create the subtle segmented effect by applying some of the yellow, and adding sparse "bands" of the darker dubbing as shown.
When wrapped, the segmentation should look like this. Note:about half of the samples I collected had a dark-tipped abdomen. I imitate this, but it can be omitted.
Tie on, wind back as shown, apply dubbing as described above
Wind forward, ending with a dark band of dubbing as shown
Align the tips of 2 CDC feathers (I avoid the real fluffy stuff, you want it fairly compact) and tie in as shown. Trim the butt ends of the feathers
Cut and stack a small buch of the deer hair. (remove underfur prior to stacking) Tie on as shown, try to keep the deer hair ON TOP of the hook shank as much as possible.
Using a razor blade (or scissors) trim the butt ends of the deer as shown
I’ve found that the abdomen serves as a sort of keel, keeping the fly upright on the water. In the limited time i’ve used this fly, its proven very effective. It is easy to "skitter", the trout seemed to take it in a lazy, confident way. Now…roll on weekend!
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