Thursday, September 17, 2015

October Caddis ~ For Swinging

      I love September – crisp mornings & the aspens flaring like yellow candles on the higher slopes. For those of us afflicted with melancholus habitus, September is the most exquisitely melancholic month of the year. Life has emerged from summer’s oven & cooled to a glorious apple cake that will, all too soon, become a memory in winter.

For trouters, the emergence of giant, pumpkin orange Dicosmoecus (fall sedge, fall caddis, October caddis) are right up there with the best of reasons for loving September, in my neighborhood & to my mind. This is my favorite insect. With a five eighths to three quarter inch body & the wing around an inch to one & a quarter inch long, it is a large, handsome bug, lending itself to a number of imitative possibilities. I play with these through the season. Wet versions work well as swung flies &, for me, these most often out-fish dry versions of October caddis.  The one featured here has been working well on the swing.

Hook: #6 TMC 200R

Thread: rust brown UNI 8/0

Body: Umpqua October caddis blend dubbed on a loop of the tying thread – & a bit of squirrel dubbed over the thorax area

Wing (optional): turkey tail

Hackle: gadwall/orange dyed guinea hen/brahma hen ~ & finish.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Great Gray Spotted Sedge Variants

     As the ancient Egyptian seers predicted, the last full moon of August was certainly the transition moon. Weather patterns have rearranged favorably. A few nights ago, under the porch light, I discovered the first great gray spotted sedge (Arctopsyche grandis) of the season.

Great gray spotted sedge show at the end of August on the U.S. upper Columbia, just prior to the larger October caddis (Dicosmoecus); & although Arctopsyche grandis produces great hatches on some western rivers, it emerges sporadically from my home water, more a seasonal presence than a meetable hatch.
GGSS is a large insect, the body about 5/8 of an inch long & the wing about an inch long. The wing is thick & waxy, like October caddis.

Just as anglers keep a mental catalogue of the larger fish they’ve caught, so do trout keep a catalogue of the larger insects they’ve caught – drakes, salmonflies, carpenter ants, wasps, grasshoppers – & eat them (& the artificial) opportunistically through the big insect’s respective seasons. The big ones are memorable.

So it is on my home water. And even though GGSS pupae & adults are most active around dark, the imitation generally fishes well all day when these insects are present.

 As with October caddis, winged wetfly variants of great gray spotted sedge fish best for me.

For swinging:

Hook: #8 TMC 200R

Thread: camel UNI 8/0

Abdomen: 50/50 blend of Wapsi Superfine BWO & Hareline Light Olive on dubbing loop of Pearsall’s primrose yellow silk

Thorax: 50/50 pine squirrel & Hareline Brown on dubbing loop of tying thread

Wing: turkey tail (alternate wing: pine squirrel tail)

Hackle: brahma hen ~ & finish.

Soft-hackle variant:

Hook: #8 TMC 200R

Thread: camel UNI 8/0

Rib: copper wire

Body: green tinsel/thorax: 50/50 pine squirrel & Hareline brown on dubbing loop of tying thread

Hackle: gadwall/brahma hen ~ & finish.