(The waker of the month for February 2016 is kindly brought to you by my good friend Adrian Cortes. This will give my readers a much needed break from my monthly foam creations. Thanks to Adrian for this fine article and photos - enjoy!)
Lemire's Thompson River Caddis: "The Closer" by Adrian Cortes
15 minutes ago, your surface fly landed softly nearing the front edge of the tailout in a classic glide. The moment you waded in on this particular pool, it felt electric. You reached this tailout with a fly unmolested so far; doubt creeps in whispering you should switch to a wet fly.
A retort, "well, I will probably finish the tailout in the next 10 casts...I'll stick with the dry fly". However, the focus has already wandered to the next pool as the fly tracks close to the dangle...and that's when it happens. A large push of water disturbs the surface, its energy creating a bulge that makes your fly bobble yet the hook continues its course to the shallows.
Fast forward to 15 minutes later after a few repeat casts and maybe a fly change or two. That fish never came back. You've tried resting the fish, shortening your line, twitching the fly...you're at the point of contemplating that wet fly box again. Before you tie on the wet fly, may I make a suggestion? Amidst the layers of hair, foam, and sparkle dominating your surface box is a somewhat diminutive pattern named the Thompson River Caddis.
|It was a tough day fishing until this nice BC summer doe slurped the gifted TRC tied by John Lauer.You can see that the light wire hook took its toll from the hard fighting wild fish.|
Let's go back to that steelhead that lunged at your dry fly. It hasn't come back to any of your other attempts. There's a decision to be made. If I may oblige, and there is no one following behind you on the run, tie on the Thompson River Caddis. The pattern's low profile, surface imprint, and uncanny ability to pique the interest in a shy steelhead is worth a swing.
While larger patterns such as foam wakers or deer hair flies may elicit that initial aggressive attack, the Thompson River Caddis closes the deal for a confident steelhead response. It lulls the steelhead to think "oh, I can eat that". Let the water rest and cast the TRC without any pulsating...just that predictable swing.
There you are, you've decided to give the dry fly one more dance. The TRC tied securely on your tippet. Either Mr. Lemire’s preference for floatant or your choice of a riffle hitch will keep the pattern on top.
Things get quiet and you ignore the ouzel bobbing on the exposed boulder below you. Line gets picked up with a familiar fly rod. The cast sails out effortlessly, placing the fly in the window before the current catches the leader and line. Nearing the zone where you thought the fish lay, you mumble "don't set the hook...don't set the hook". As if on cue, albeit prematurely from where you expected, materializes a significant head-and-tail rise. The Thompson River Caddis disappears in a swirl. Standing like a statue, waiting for the line to tighten, and the reel to start clicking feels like a minute has passed. In real time, it takes 3 seconds before the reel starts screaming. The rest is anti-climatic.