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The Incredible October Caddis

By Al Peterson
(Submitted by Swede's Fly Shop)
The Incredible October Caddis
(click image for detail)

Now here’s a fly that’s not only a proven trout favorite, but one that will entice many a steelhead to investigate this mid summer pattern with vigor and determination. I hooked a beautiful 14 lb. hen, with the adipose fin I may add, last August in the Clearwater River just down from Orofino, ID. She actually took the caddis just after it swung in from a drift in the middle of my second strip. For those of you who think a strip is something that should be entertaining, you need to stop by the shop and let me explain in further detail. A strip is a tug, pull or similar retrieve on the fly line.

The October caddis pattern can be presented either dry or wet, depending on what type of fish you are after and the conditions. The pupa is about 25 millimeter long, which converts to about 0.984252 inch, or 1 inch. The body color ranges from a yellow to an orange brown. They usually emerge in the late afternoon or even after the sun has set from the shallows on rocks just above the water line. If they emerged from deeper water, then we’d see fewer of them, as the trout would waste no time in putting them on the dinner menu. When they are in full emerging force, which lasts about 2 to 3 weeks, the fishing is sweeter than lutefisk on rye. Flying around the streamside foliage or over the water, they are a sight to see and to fish.

For trout I would recommend the dry fly version of the October caddis, which is somewhat similar to a stimulator pattern, but tied on a #8 3X hook with an orange body. Here at Swede’s we take it one step further and add a few items to the fly to make it “more productive”. Use some orange foam for the body, but over wrap the foam with a very thin layer of orange dubbing. Why? Because as opposed to wet foam which can be slippery when wet, the dubbing makes it a little more difficult to spit out because it catches in the trout’s teeth. Aha!….said the worm flinger. The bulb is a little less dim. We now have an irresistible dry fly pattern that is as much fun to fish as hoppers in September or having some Glugg at Christmas time. You may want to fish these patterns in the shallow choppy waters, as trout will hold there waiting for some unsuspecting emerger to wander a little deeper than intended. Even though the emergers are few in number in this water, the trout will stay on guard for these juicy tidbits, for their size is what makes them a meal hard to pass up!

For steelhead I am sold on the wet fly version of the October caddis, tied on a #4 3X hook with some orange bright blend, ostrich herl, brown pheasant rump hackle and krystal flash which we have readily available here in the shop. You can vary the body color slightly according to the river system you are fishing, as I have found the olives and purples work fantastically in the Grande Ronde River this time of year. The orange body wet fly version definitely works for the Clearwater River. Fish them downstream on the swing ending where you think a steelhead might be resting. Behind a large rock, shady area, pool, quiet seam or some other obstruction.

And yes, don’t forget to strip. The line.

Ya sur ya’betcha!

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