On Saturday my son had a soccer tournament in Avon, and I had a two hour fishing window between the afternoon and evening games. So I hightailed it to the lower river for a highly productive and entertaining two hours of fishing between 4:30 and 6:30. Caddis were out (mostly smaller, size 16). But the real story was my first sighting of Light Cahills. (Call them what you will — Vitreous, PEDs, whatever — if they are creamy-colored size 12 mayflies that hatch in the late afternoon in May, I go with Light Cahills.) it was a proper hatch — I’d rate it a 7 on a 1-10 scale — and there were plenty of trout having at them, slashing and splashing and making a general spectacle with their showy takes.
The wet fly is a fine default method for covering water when there’s nothing much happening. But when a hatch is underway and the trout are actively feeding, it can be highly productive. And besides, fishing under the hatch is just plain fun.
There was a lot of this going on. I can’t ever remember two hours of fishing time passing so quickly.
I fished two kinds of water. The first was a snotty, boulder-strewn run with seams and pockets, about 75 yards long. I walked its length, covering the fishy looking areas with my team of three wets, and connected with a half dozen trout and a JV Atlantic salmon. The runaway favorite fly was the size 12 soft-hackled bead head Pheasant Tail.
Next, I focused on a run with a mottled surface that was moving at a moderate walking pace. The hatch began to pick up in intensity, but I still had no takes. So I swapped out the bottom and middle flies (SHBHPT and Dark Hendrickson, respectively) for a size 12 Light Cahill winged wet and a size 14 Pale Watery wingless (Magic Fly). That made all the difference. I caught trout after trout for the better part of 75 minutes. They took all three flies (Squirrel and Ginger was the top dropper), but the Cahill and the PWW were the focal points.
What was interesting about yesterday’s hatch was that even though I got into double-digit numbers, I had to work for most of them. Sometimes when you’re fishing under the hatch, the trout are so keen on gorging themselves that you just need to swing the right fly in front of their noses. Not so yesterday. I specifically targeting actively feeding trout, and only two of them took on the first presentation. Most took a dozen or so casts, often with a break between presentations, and several wouldn’t give the flies a sniff. Also, I typically like to fish wets across and/or down. Yesterday I had a lot of success targeting active feeders that were upstream of me.
I had to drag myself away to get back to the last game. Cam’s team won.
So did mine.