Deschutes River caddis fly hatch
The caddis fly hatch in July provides incredible dry fly action on the Lower Deschutes River. After the business of the salmonfly hatch subsides, the weather becomes consistently hot and the days grow long. Caddis flies hatch in swarms and dance in the shade of alder trees. Trout can be found throughout the day rising to caddis in several different types of water. Anglers searching for the ultimate summer dry fly trip should consider a camping float trip with River Runner Outfitters.
Often the caddis flies begin hatching just after the stonefly hatch. The river level is still up a bit and the trout are still in the same type of water... behind alder trees and along grassy and brushy banks. In these areas water is moving right along the bank, and the trout are holding in tight. These areas are fun to fish because the trout are facing upstream and are easily approached. Fishing with caddis flies requires a little more delicacy than salmonflies, but is essentially the same game. The difference is that the trout will be visibly rising to caddis, as there are thousands of them out. The trout must eat many caddis each day. Looking for noses before casting is a good idea.
9' 4X leaders are perfect. As guides who spend more than just a few days trout fishing the Deschutes each season, it is important to start of each spring and summer fishing the heaviest tippets we can get away with. As the trout become more spooky, we scale down our tippets accordingly. Using light tippets too soon will result in trout that are prematurely educated, and trout fishing becomes difficult by August.
Another important type of water during the Deschutes caddis fly hatch is foamy pools and backeddies. Here is where the biomass of food, including caddis and many other small bugs, gets trapped. An old trout fishing saying is, "the foam is home". This is so true on the Deschutes. The Lower Deschutes is a large Western river, and trout congregate in areas where food collects. Identifying these places can be as simple as reading the river and looking for where the current piles up against one of the banks. Some of these areas are obvious, and have large swirling foamy backeddies, while other places the current softly drifts underneath overhanging alders. In either case, the trout are in this water searching around for trapped bugs.
It is essential to wear natural colored clothing when hunting trout in slack or soft water, as the trout are very spooky. Avoid bright colors, including white. They can see every move you make, and can face in any direction. Moving very slowly is key. I like to speak in a soft voice when stalking trout on the Deschutes, not because they can hear us, but because it is a constant reminder to move slowly.
When hunting trout, a few minutes of observation pays huge dividends. Fish with your eyes for a little while, and watch the trout's rising patterns. You will notice the foam drifts around in cycles and the trout are almost always holding underneath it. Wait until the foam drifts in towards you, and the trout are close. Short controlled casts are important, and your first few casts will be your best chances of fooling a fish.
Spot and stalk trout fishing with dry flies is an exciting and engaging way to fish the Deschutes. Anglers can take their time and work rising trout. Many of the largest trout in the Deschutes can be seen rising to caddis along the banks and this type of fishing will result in larger average size than trout caught nymphing. The best caddis fly fishing opportunities are found during our multi-day camping float trips from Trout Creek to Maupin, late June through July.