As l write today there is another wet cold front that has moved in.  For sure not a comfortable day to be on the water. Oh well, sooner or later we will see spring time flourish.
Wet, windy weather but  days of the caddis hatch has begun in earnest. Depending on your location on the river emergence times will differ,  most of the better hatches l have fished this past two weeks have started early PM time. Some days the hatch will continue for a good period of time, others times there is no hatch before the next gets going, either way the trout are on the look out at all times.
A nice 24 inch brown released. Davy Wotton Photo

A nice 24 inch brown released. Davy Wotton Photo

So here is the scenario to catch ’em.
Early morning surface water temperature may be cool which may well reduce surface activity until the sun gets up and warms the top  water. At this time opt for fishing caddis and midge imitations at lower depths either with an indicator or short line EU style nymph methods which is my choice here. In other words,  it’s a shorter upstream high stick presentation tracking the fly or flies across to downstream holding the rod high to allow the flies to  rise on the downstream hang, be prepared at this time for a fish to take, if nothing has before. The trick is to watch the end of the fly line for the take  which will generally be a quick jerk or movement of the line, set the hook. If boat drift fishing then general dead drift indicator methods will work all be it l still choose to use a free line technique at these times as it will allow for animation of the flies in the water column which can be deadly.
Once you start to see emerging caddis you can bet the fish are now focused on the pupa as they move from the river bed to the  surface as they do so in numbers fish will move closer to the surface to take emergers and adults. This is now the time to focus on fishing pupa emergers such as the SLF Trans caddis emerger, soft hackles, wet fly and dry-fly, all be it, l will tell you fishing pupa/soft hackle combinations will if you present them and  fish them right out score a dry at this time. That’s not to say if you enjoy to fish a dry it has no worth.
Soft hackles of use include DW green butt, variations of hares ear soft hackle, grouse and green, and flies of that nature.  Presentations should include dead drift and also fishing up and across to down with slow figure 8 retrieve or short slow pulls and  pauses.
Adult caddis live for a good period of time after emergence and it is after the females have mated that they return to the river  to deposit. As a rule when they do you will see many females working upstream laying eggs and splashy rises as the trout try to catch them. This is a good  time to rig up with a dry-fly, or a combination of dry 18 inches above a sparse soft  hackle. You may also opt for a pair of dry-fly patterns.
More or less you will not beat an elk hair caddis, if it is the right size and color. Trout can be real fussy at times choosing to take a dry, particularly if they have been fished over and hooked a  time or two.
Another option is to fish a skating caddis to which  l have developed a number of patterns. These flies when fished and drawn across  the water will create a V wake as do the naturals, this is caused by the  trailing edge of the natural as it moves across the surface. Takes here can be  explosive and often as not will induce a large Brown to take.
Expect that caddis action to be around well into May.
Other than fishing caddis imitations, then your  best options will be to fish combinations of sowbugs, scuds, white tail and  prism midges, GRHE, PTNs, various soft hackles and wet flies. Woolly buggers will generally always nail a few fish. If drift fishing higher water  levels l would certainly add worms and eggs to the agenda, to at lest give you a  chance of your fly being seen in the trash water.
If fishing low water for midges then choose  sowbugs and scuds, in colors gray, gray/olive, midge pupa and emergers, in  black, red, tan, brown, gray, micro soft hackles and midge dries.
Remember to use long leaders 12 feet or more to 6 or 7x and micro indicators. ( Check  out the new Midge Magic DVD ) if you wish to learn how to fish midges.
Generations have generally been low or days of  zero. Unfortunately this year due to lower water levels the dreaded didymo (rock  snot ) has made its ugly presence again, particularly on the White at the dam and as far down as l am aware of to Buffalo shoals. The problem is that when  generations are taking place after zero flows the snot is flushed off the river  bed along with moss and alga causing the water to be full of trash in many cases. Your only choices are to be well below any rising water or well above a couple of hours of new water rise. What you will need to do is  check the COE site to know when water was shut down or released and from then determine your location to fish, at least for the White. It is not so much an issue for the Norfork river.
Odds are unless we see a good period of high water generation to clean the river bed it’s not going to go away in a  hurry.
Fish stocks in the river are good at this time and no doubt there are a great number of Browns out then from 18 to 24 inches so go catch ’em.
Tight lines all.
Written March 28th, 2013
Posted on April 8th, 2013