We are in the heart of the spring caddis hatch, and loving it. It’s been a common occurrence recently for clients to experience their “personal best” fly fishing trips in terms of numbers of fish caught, average size, and overall fun when you factor in the beautiful weather and likelihood of dry fly opportunities. Surely one of the more exciting fly fishing opportunities on the White River is setting up on a 20″+ brown quietly sipping caddis dries in flat water – a common sight this time of year – but even in the absence of surface activity, nymphing the right places puts you in pretty fair odds for catching some nice browns. Even after a long day in the shop or on the water, come quitting time, guides and shop rats are calling each other to rendezvous at the boat ramp and scratch that brown trout itch – careful if you come fishing with us, this rash is contagious and persistent.
The caddis bite has been very good recently due to a low water trend over the past week that will hopefully continue. Flows from minimum at 650cfs up to around 1200cfs have provided some really fun dry fly opportunities for rainbows and browns. Elk Hairs, E/C Caddis, Apple Caddis, and others, all in olive size 14-16, have been producing. If you’re fishing flows of 2,000cfs or more, or if you’re not seeing any surface feeding activity, nymphing with caddis pupa and midges has been extra effective as well. Try Prince Nymphs, Sunday Specials, and Gold Bead Caddis Pupa in size 14-16. Add a midge dropper using size 16-18 Whitetails or Super midges in red, black, silver.
Not nearly as much caddis activity on the ‘Fork as on the White, but midges are stellar on the low flows. Fishing the slow water with suspended Rubies and Root Beer midges has been pretty dang good – it can almost seem more like stillwater fishing than river fishing, but it works. In higher flows, use the same midges but get them deeper by lengthening your leader and trailing them behind something heavier like a Sunday Special or a green Copper John.