Time to GET OUT HERE! - Mother's Day Caddis Hatch is Happening!

May 18, 2017

Time to fish people!  The water and bugs are ideal right now. While we can't predict your personal success we can honestly say that conditions are ideal. IDEAL.  I am watching swarms of Caddis right now hatching at Red's and the water is low enough for wading or great DIY boating.  We have drift boat rentals, fishing raft rentals, and personal watercraft ready to rent.  You have no excuse not to get out here and get on the river.

FREE - How to Row River Boats Seminar this Sunday - You can do this free seminar, then rent a boat at Red's. A DIY float is great fun. - http://redsflyshop.com/event/index.php?id=14607

FYI - Restricted Road Access on Sunday May 21st, 2017


This is a great fundraiser, they restrict access to through traffic. Just let the officers at the entrance to the Canyon you need to get to Red's Fly Shop.

Mother's Day Caddis Hatch

This is the most extraordinary hatch on the Yakima River, in fact, it is one of the biggest hatches on any river in the country.  First off, we will teach you about the fishing hatch and what flies to use. Next, you can do a guided trip, rent a boat, wade fish on your own, get a shuttle, stay at our lodge, or just get more free advice from us! Either way, set some time aside to fish this hatch in the Canyon some time in the next 2 weeks.

This year we expect fishing to be good early.  Normally, we see this hatch hit us hard about the 2nd week in May but water temperatures are above the norm.  If you are wondering where this hatch is the most prolific, our fly shop in the Yakima Canyon is the historical epicenter of hatch activity. It provides some days and evenings of INCREDIBLE dry fly fishing. Not every single day will be an epic outing, but with a roll of the dice you just might have the trout fishing trip of a lifetime!  Consider doing a Twilight Highlight guided trip to see what an evening of fishing dry fly Caddis is all about.

Yakima River Caddis Hatch Fishing Tips and Flies

Here are a few of my favorite flies.  GET SOME GOOD DRY FLIES!  Seriously, they float better, mend better, and get more fish.  Fresh bugs are a wise move.  The hackle and hair are stiff, shiny, and buoyant.  Plus, consider that the rising and feeding fish you will be casting at have likely been schooled.  Especially the big ones.  You should be the teacher, not the student out there.  Those Para Adams and EHC that have been in your box since the Sean Kemp was a sports icon won't cut it.  

Here is a complete kit that won't leave you hanging.  Its not for everyone, but it will totally outfit anyone that buys it for several all day fishing trips and then some.  

Caddis Dry Flies for the Mother's Day Hatch

Umpqua's E/C Caddis Cutter

E/C Caddis Cutter - Good all around bug during pre-hatch and hatch time.

Caddis Emerger - Fished slightly wet, this makes a deadly emerger for picky risers!

X-Caddis... Super Caddis - This is our #1 Pattern because its a low riding emerger that floats just enough to see!

Image result for corn fed caddis

Parachute CDC Corn Fed Caddis - Works great throughout the hatch.  Good fly.

Bloom's Parachute Caddis - Great post hatch pattern and it floats amazing.  A good choice for floaters that want to fish a Caddis on the move in tough light. 

Crime Scene Caddis
Crime Scene Caddis  Great pre-hatch and during the hatch bug.  Use this as a trailer or for the picky fish that continue to rise but won't eat the other patterns.  This gets the picky ones.  

Peacock (or Olive) X-Caddis - Great during pre-hatch and hatch time fly.  One of the best emergers ever.  It also imitates a lot of other insects.  I have used X-Caddis during Mayfly hatches too with great success.  

A Great Caddis Pattern!

Elk Hair Caddis (any size from #18-#14 is a great idea)

You must have a few different patterns for different situations and know when to use them. If the fish are up under sticks and brush close the bank it is likely they are eating Egg Laying Adult Caddis. For this, big bushy old school Elk Hair Caddis patterns work great. If they are feeding in foam lines and seams, go with a good emerger pattern like an X-Caddis or a E/C Caddis Cutter. During the day look for fish under the brush, in the evening watch the seams!

Dry fly fishing skills will be tested during this hatch. Be sure to check out our videos so you can learn how to make the tough casts and put more fish in the net!

Dry Fly Fishing Tips for the Mother's Day Caddis Hatch

Consider using a Crime Scene Caddis Emerger behind some type of Elk Hair style Caddis. It is called a ?Double Dry Fly Setup?. Here is a great video of how to set this up yourself. It makes the setup easier to fish and see.

Fly selection does not seem to be critical. To be effective during this hatch we recommend the following action plan. Start with a bushy and visible Elk Hair Caddis (EHC) pattern that is a #14 preferably. Stock up on a variety of colors, Peacock is a great first choice, but some days it will be Tan, Olive, or even Grey so it is wise to have a few of each. See our online store if you want some more info and reference as to what flies you ?need? this time of year. The traditional EHC imitates an adult Caddis that has recently emerged and broken free of its shuck. When the fishing is really good, it works great. If the fish are little lazy, or even a little picky they will want emergers. Go with an X-Caddis for this. Make sure to get a variety of sizes and colors, as once you have gone to the emerger that means you are probably dealing with selective fish and playing a few different cards might be wise. The X-Caddis is usually buoyant enough to fish solo, but it might be wise to run it behind an EHC if it is getting soggy or invisible. After that, if you need to get more creative there are a litany of patterns to choose from but we like to keep it relatively simple. We have a CDC Caddis emerger in the shop that is deadly. It is all grey and you should fish this in a tandem fly rig because they are really tough to see and blend in with the naturals like you wouldn?t believe. See the video above on rigging and click the picture below to see the fly.

As the hatch progresses, you will seen an increased number of Caddis laying eggs on the water and not quite so many actually emerging. When this starts to happen, an egg laying pattern or a Hot Butt Caddis does the trick, as does a traditional EHC most of the time but usually the fish are fairly selective by this time and have been hit with an EHC. Try some of the more unique patterns. Parachute EHC and X-Caddis are a wise choices. Towards the end of the hatch, usually the third week of May, there will be a tremendous amount of spent Caddis on the water. The best imitation for this seems to be a Parachute Caddis. The body of this pattern rests down in the water, whereas the EHC rides high on the surface tension looking highly active.

Nymph Fishing, Caddis Larvae, and Caddis Pupae

Caddis go through a complete metamorphosis. They start as Larvae, see the picture below to get an idea of their color. They pupate inside their case on the bottom of the river, and then as Pupae they shoot themselves to the surface. In this transition, the trout gorge on them underwater. We like to use a variety of Prince Nymphs, Hare?s Ears, and Lightning Bugs. There are a large variety of nymph patterns that work well, see our online store and you can access a video that will show you some great nymphs. During this transition the trout will often eat the Pupae near the surface which makes a Dry Dropper set up deadly. See our Dry Dropper Video for tips on how to fish this and set it up right.

As you can see, the Mother's Day Caddis hatch is an incredible event and you won't want to miss it. We see a lot of very familiar names on our guide calendar scheduled for the next 2-3 weeks, many of which only fish these dates! Not every day will be a once in a lifetime dry fly day, but mark my words that there will be several days that are unforgettable. It is rare that we are dealt river conditions as ideal as what we'll be getting during this hatch. Typically our peak runoff happens smack dab during the hatch. Many times the hot weather will bust the hatch loose and we'll have 48 hours of insane fishing and then the snowmelt comes, thanks to the same sweet weather that catalyzed the hatch, and the river will be out for 10 days. This also happens to be the best 10 days of the hatch!

The other element that is in our favor as fans of the dry fly, is that low/clear water forces the fish to the surface. When the flows are up the trout will find plenty to eat under water and can make quite a living on the pupae. With lower flows and current velocities the pupae are going to hit the surface much faster forcing the trout to feed on or near the surface.

Here is a short video of what the hatch can be like!

  1. Joe, I can only imagine... This Sunday there was a decent Caddis hatch outside of the Canyon so I obliged with an elk hair Caddis. Hooked seven nice fish in very shallow water in 30-45 minutes. No minnows, all decent fish with the largest being a 14-inch rainbow. It sure made up for the only fish I hooked the day before on a Salmon Fly pattern. It was probably pushing 18" but couldn't keep it on. :)
  2. THAR SHE BLOWS!!!!! Sad!