.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park

02/19/09

I am calling this series Yellowstone Journals and Additional Information. It is a collection of a
rambling mixture of experiences on the streams with some notes, tips and additional
information thrown in. Some of this comes from my video tape logs (record of video shot)
and  notes made on my daily note books.

Fly Fishing the Upper Madison - Part 6

Fishing the caddisfly hatches on the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park
can be the most productive method. The first problem most anglers have is that
they just tie on a generic dry fly imitation of an adult caddisfly and fish it. If the
trout don't respond they switch to another location or type of fly.

Another common problem is that they don't understand when and how the
different species of caddisflies hatch. For example, one common result of this is
that most everyone stops fishing before the trout start responding to the egg
laying activity. This activity usually doesn't start to occur until the sun has set
and evening gets underway.  About the time many anglers are hitting the local
bars in West Yellowstone, they trout start feeding on the egg laying caddis. This
varies with the time of year and the species of caddisfly, but in general, this is
the bottom line to one of the common problems.

Another problem is that most anglers don't recognise a caddisfly hatch when
one is occurring. The hatch has often ended before anglers begin to notice the
adults along the streamside.

The first caddisfly to hatch, the Little Black Caddis (
Brachycentrus species) also
called American Grannoms, can be hit or miss because it is usually underway
when the season opens. It usually continues through the month of June. The
Madison River is often high and off color from runoff or at least part of that
period of time. If you catch it right, this hatch can be very productive. It is also
one of the easiest hatches to fish. These caddisflies hatch like most mayflies
hatch. They emerge on the surface of the water.

About the time the hatch is ending, the egg layers from previous day hatches
begin. This is usually the warmest time of the day. This often overlaps and the
caddis are hatching at the same time the egg layers become active. The egg
laying activity usually goes on well after the hatch ends.

I don't want to spend a lot of time on this hatch because most anglers are busy
fishing the Blue-winged Olive hatches on the Firehole River at the first of the
season. We also show the Longhorn Sedge (
Oecetis species) starts to hatch
about the first of June. It too can be hit or miss depending on the weather and
water conditions.

One of the two most important caddisfly hatches, the Spotted Sedge
(Hydropsyche species) starts before the end of the month of June. This hatch
can be huge and last until mid-August. I will get into the details of fishing this
hatch tomorrow.  

Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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