Peter shows how to land a fish like an expert.
Photo courtesy of John Juracek
Glossosoma montana is an often-forgotten hatch here in Yellowstone country, but it can be a crucial fly to match to have success this time of year. These black, size 20 caddis are a favorite of Madison trout, and they have been providing some fine dry fly fishing during the afternoon lately. These bugs often go unnoticed, both because of their small size and also because like most caddis, they do not ride on the water after hatching, but take flight immediately instead. If it weren't for their fondness for landing on fisherman's waders, most fisherman would never notice them at all. Rest assured, though, the trout do take notice, and our classic X Caddis pattern will prove effective when fish are taking these flies.
Thread: Black 8/0 Uni-Thread
Shuck: Caddis Shuck or Caddis Gold Crinkled Zelon
Wing: Natural X Caddis Deer Hair
Step 1: Begin wrapping thread behind the eye and wrap back the shank until even with the hook point.
Step 2: Tie in a strand of zelon for the shuck, and trim about half the length of the shank.
Step 3: Dub a thin body over the shank to the eye.
Step 4: Tie in a stacked clump of X Caddis Deer Hair for the wing, so that the tips are about even with the end of the shuck.
Step 5: Trim the deer hair butts and whip-finish.
Submitter: Byron Johnson
Rod: Sometime in the late 1970s, I stopped to see Glenn Brackett soon after his Winston rod company moved from San Francisco to Twin Bridges, Montana. At the time, I was using a 4 weight fiberglass Fenwick rod and he asked me if I would like to try one of their new IM6 graphite rods, and after trying it, I took home a 8'3" 4 wt. blank. I have been building on Winstons ever since and now have a 7 and a 9 wt Biix for salmon and salt water fish. Just this summer I put together a Biii TH 7 wt spey rod for steelhead. I love everything about the way they feel and cast, and one of my Labrador Retrievers liked the way they feel too. He was at my feet in the boat while I was casting to cruising fish on a marl flat in B.C. and I never even noticed the pile of green graphite accumulating on the bottom of the boat until everything except the cork and reel seat on my backup rod had been reduced to green slivers! I have used blanks in the past from Loomis(GLX), Scott(G3) and various Sage models, but I seem to mostly end up waving the Winston green.
Reel: I have a small collection of Hardy reels for my trout fishing, including the Hardy LRH Lightweight pictured here. It's simple, light and back in the days when I could still hear, I loved the racket it made when a big fish went into the backing. Everyone within 200 yards looked up and knew you had a fish on a Hardy reel. Now in my deafer, less vain days, I am more likely to avoid fishing that close to anyone if possible. Don't get me wrong, I love to see people, but mostly at Blue Ribbon Flies after fishing. For bigger fish like salmon, steelhead, and the various salt water fish where you need a good drag, I mostly use Ross Gunnison reels. They are light, reliable and just recently are back on the market!
Fish: Fish have provided me 60 years of wonderful moments and taught me more about fishing than any book, article, or video ever have. I guess everyone has their favorite fish, I especially like the rainbow. They are widely distributed, are numerous, grow to hogs, rise to dry flies (sometimes) and their awesome runs and jumps are impressive. The brown is my next favorite. When I bring one to hand, I am always amazed how each fish seems to have its own individual personality when it comes to their colors, markings, and even shape.
Water: The water, clean and cool, which is needed to support the biomass so important for the fish to thrive. As for my home water, the Missouri has been my favorite trout stream for over 30 years. Prior to that it would have been a toss up between the Bighorn and the Henry's Fork. I also love to sight fish for big trout on lakes and have many favorite ones stretching from British Columbia in the west, all the way east to Hebgen lake next to the welcoming doors of Blue Ribbon Flies in Montana.
Photo courtesy of John Juracek
The Iris Caddis is quite possibly the most effective emerging caddis pattern known to man. This fly has been a standby pattern here at BRF for decades, and it is still as effective today as it was the day John first tied it. The zelon wing gives the fly plenty of flotation, but it still rides low enough in the film to best mimic emerging caddisflies. We tie this fly in a variety of colors to imitate all of our local caddis; our favorites for evening caddis on the Madison are the amber Iris, which works more as a general attractor, and the tan Iris, which imitates Hydropsyche caddis extremely well. However, we also tie it in olive for Brachycentrus, black for Glossosoma, and white for the White Miller caddis in the Firehole and Madison. If you've ever had trouble matching emerging caddis, this is the fly you need to have, so give it a try the next time you find yourself in the midst of a caddis hatch.
Hook: Tiemco 102Y, Size 15-19
Thread: Tan 8/0 Uni-Thread
Shuck: Caddis Gold or Caddis Shuck Crinkled Zelon
Body: Amber, Hydropsyche, Brachycentrus, Glossosoma, or White Miller Zelon Dubbing
Wing: White Straight Zelon
Head: Hydropsyche Tan Zelon Dubbing
For tying instructions, watch Craig tie the Iris Caddis HERE.