Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Matching the Hatch

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My son Jeff and I were fishing the Deschutes River below Maupin, Oregon at an area we called the Boulder Patch. It was evening and a major Caddis hatch was in progress. At times, caddis hatches can be very prolific when they emerge. Thousands of these insects can infest your eyes, ears, nose and even your mouth if you keep it open. This phenomenon can create a feeding frenzy and this evening the trout were gorging themselves on the naturals. We were using one of my favorite emerging caddis imitations called the Dark Caddis Emerger, also called the Stewart Caddis. Not only were we catching fish, but we had some unique competitors called Nighthawks or Bull Bats that were swooshing up and down taking the emerging insects off the surface and in midair.   

The competition was so intense that as we prepared to cast, we had to duck away from these dive bombers. Suddenly, I yelled “I gotta a fish…er I mean bird on!”  A Nighthawk had taken my caddis pattern and was taking out line. Fortunately, the fly immediately came loose. As I prepared to make another cast Jeff yelled. Amazingly, he had hooked another Nighthawk. This time the bird was firmly hooked and started stripping his line out as it flew erratically away. “Jeff,” I yelled, “you better stop it or it’ll spool you!”  He immediately grabbed the line and started pulling it back. In a matter of minutes he had the poor bird in his hands and quickly unhooked it. I think the feathered flycatcher was somewhat in a state of shock, because after he placed it on the water it laid there for a few seconds before it took off. 

Although fish were still rising, rather than take the chance on hooking more birds, we reeled up and headed back knowing that the Dark Caddis Emerger had perfectly matched the hatch.   

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