October Caddis—One Last Chance to Throw a Big Dry Fly
October Caddis are like crosswalks, we don’t 100-percent need them, but, when they are there, they sure are convenient.
Sure you could play Frogger, but it’s nice to casually cross the street while a semi is at a full stop. To continue the mediocre analogy, it sure is nice to throw a bushy dry fly around instead of dredging the bottom of the river with an indicator, split shot and a couple nymphs.
With the recent drop in temperatures killing off most of the terrestrials and ending our thick summer hatches, the dry-fly game has become limited. We can search for fish rising to BWOs for a few hours a day or find trout feeding on the occasional midge hatch, but October Caddis allow you to prospect all day in hopes of getting an explosive strike.
These bugs are big, about a size 12. And they hatch at night, so we rarely see them, but they’ve been out for a couple weeks now. I first saw one in my truck while driving home from the Lower Madison two weeks ago. If you hit the river in the morning, you will likely see a few fluttering about, in that drunk caddis sort of way. It usually only takes a few bugs to get the fish looking for them, since they are such a large snack.
I like to tie on a size 12 Orange Stimulator and search likely holding areas, mostly focusing on slower seams and deeper holes. We also carry some specialty October Caddis patterns in our Bozeman Fly Shop, like a Better Foam October Caddis and Morrish October Caddis. Tying a size 18 Olive Pheasant Tail a couple feet off the bend is a great dry-dropper set up this time of year. The nymphs aren’t super important, but a size 12 or 14 Beadhead Squirrel Nymph should pick up a few fish here and there.
And when you do run into a pod of trout rising to the tiny BWOs, using that stimulator is a good sighter for your small dry fly. Plus, a few fish will probably hammer the bigger fly.
While it is starting to feel a bit like winter, we still have some great dry-fly fishing opportunities. It’s not quite time to take the floatant out of your pack and replace it with a bag of bobbers.