It's caddis time! Caddis are all over the water column from the bottom to the top. This can be the best time of the year to catch a big trout or salmon on a dry fly. Find some shade or low light periods (early am or late pm) and skitter a tan bodied Elk Hair Caddis and you're sure to be rewarded. If you're having trouble locating fish then fishing a small caddis in some low riffles can be a good bet. You won't catch the biggest trout, but as the water warms up they'll be holding in quicker water which holds lots of oxygen. Soft hackle flies dropped 24" below a dry are deadly when you see caddis coming off. Just because you see caddis or mayflies in the air doesn't mean they are smashing dry flies. When we see lots of bugs in the air, we're finding that a big nymph like a Pat's or a Prince nymph with a soft hackle emerger at the end will work if you present it correctly.
While Caddis will continue to fool, it's inevitable that as summer continues on that they'll take smaller and smaller patterns. However, if you're fishing in the morning and you see lots of stoneflies on the banks, it's time to throw on a big dry pattern like a Bugmeister or Kaufmann's Stimulator and give it a twitch. If you hit this hatch just right, you can put 40+ quality trout in the net in a morning's fishing. Even on a slower day, this tactic will work from the last week of June until the end of July.
It's time to get out the dry flies! Hendrickson are in full swing in the Western Mountains. Hendrickson Parachute patterns are a great way to go because they ride low and you can see them. Green bodied caddis are starting to pop. A green elk hair caddis with a partridge and green dropper are game changers. Drift the caddis, give a few twitches, and let it swing at the end of the drift. You will catch fish on all three different presentations. You can still nymph on the bottom with big stonefly patterns as lead flies with green caddis larva or pheasant tails behind them. It's all deadly right now.
I'm reminded of this every year around this time and pass on this knowledge to clients. It's not always about having the "right" fly. Several different fish will take several different flies all in the same timeframe. What's really important is having a spot on presentation. Dead drift your nymphs in the slowest water you can find on the edge of a seam. Skitter your caddis dries and let them swing across the current at the end. Dead drift your mayfly dries with a little twitch here and there. You can fish emerging patterns from your nymph rig or below your dry. At the end of drift, be patient and let them sit for 5-10 seconds. You'll be pleasantly surprised!
We don't have much for trout trips left for June, but will book half day trips in the Rangeley region for July and August.
Smallmouth fishing is red hot right now as well. Poppers and topwater patterns are ready to roll. We have some trips still available for weekends in June, and many dates open for July and August. Give us a call, float in the sun, hook hard fighting smallies and enjoy the outdoors!
Here are a few more highlights from recent trips
Aaron Broaddus is a Registered Maine Fishing Guide with Headin' North Guide Service. Aaron specializes in fly fishing in the Western and Southern sections of Maine.