CADDIS, CADDIS, CADDIS!!! It’s what everyone’s talking about.
We have had an exceptional caddis hatch this year, and the hatch still continues to produce. Even though colder weather and heavy winds may have put a small dent in the hatch in the early part of the week, the caddis should resume coming off as we approach the weekend.
The caddis hatch that began a few weeks ago at Buffalo City has now gradually progressed its way up to near the dam. We are now seeing caddis come off more consistently from Rim Shoals to the State Park. The reason these hatches may seem sporadic at times, is due to the amount of sunlight and water levels (i.e. flows). Days with lower flows and more sunlight will typically produce denser hatches in any given area.
Also, the recent thunderstorms and heavy rains have been beneficial in bringing both Bull Shoals and Norfork Lake levels up, but have also brought up Crooked Creek and the Buffalo River to unfishable levels. For those of you anxious to chase smallmouth, just be patient.
With that, let’s talk about what’s been working.
For the exception of Monday, releases, for the most part, have continued to be for 4 hours or less, therefore, still allowing for a considerable amount of wadeable water at or a little above minimum flow (between 700- 1400 cfs).
Caddis patterns such as Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackles, Prince Nymphs, and Pupae Delectae are working well.
Caddis dries such as Elk Hair Caddis, E-Z Caddis, E-C Caddis, CDC Caddis, and Apple Caddis have been highly productive.
Midges (ruby, rootbeer, & diamond in size 18), pheasant tails (in sizes 14, 16, & 18), devil jigs (red and copper in sizes 14 & 16).
Also, try throwing a Strollis Quill Body Jig (size 14), or Devil Jigs (size 14) either by itself or in combination with a colorful attractor, such as a Y2K or Keller’s Hot Worm. The jigs also make a great lead fly ahead of midge pupa.
Highly productive big water streamers include CJ’s Sluggo, Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, Schmidt’s Double Deceiver, Lafkas’ Super Cougar and Lovechild Sculpin, and Lynch’s D&D.
On the lower flows, large olive woolly buggers, Sparkle minnows, FS Bunny Sculpins, Kreelex flies, and Lunch $ are all producing.
Nymph fisherman can expect to do well with Garrett’s Purple Death (size 18), Clint’s Sunday Special (sizes 16 and 18), midges (root beer and black & purple zebra in sizes 16 & 18), pheasant tails (size 16 & 18), prince nymphs (size 14 & 16), hunchback scuds (size 16 & 18), and tailwater sowbugs (sizes 16 and 18).
Small sculpin patterns like FS Bunny Sculpins, Slump Busters, and Cone Head Woolies, are also productive when stripped slowly over the bottom.