Super Sedges: 6 Top caddis fly patterns and fishing tips!
Above: Caddis are a food source every trout knows!
Caddis or sedge patterns are among the most universally effective trout fishing flies for any angler. All over the globe, from the River Test to Tasmania, caddis flies are a staple for most of the fishing year. Indeed, you’ll see the first as early as March with the grannom here in the UK, but don’t be surprised to see decent hatches into October and November! With a messy, fluttering profile, they are really easy to identify, too. For non-anglers, they resemble small, clumsy moths that can be seen on just about any still or flowing water.
These flies are not only prey virtually every trout will recognise, but are also great fun to fish. They’re also quite easy to use. For one thing, you can dispense with tiny flies and thin, fiddly tippets. And for those who miss subtle takes, trout will often take these bushy flies in aggressive, unmissable fashion!
While there are hundreds of caddis species worldwide, the good news is that just a handful of flies will cover most bases. Indeed, the classics will catch on just about any river in the world! So, without further ado, here are some of our top tips for caddis munching trout, along with six of the very best caddis fly patterns.
GET A ROUGH MATCH (BUT DON’T SWEAT THE DETAIL)
Don’t feel like you need a degree in entomology to cash in on caddis hatch! If you can present them right and aim for a rough match of size and colour, you’re more than likely to succeed. Be sure to have a few sizes and colours in your box, however. The most useful flies are sizes 10-16, in tan, brown and green.
FISH THE FAST STUFF!
On rivers and streams, caddis patterns are especially good fun to fish in fast and tumbling water. Thanks to their buoyancy and lively profiles, they don’t get drowned and are easy to spot. A great tip here is to be brave and fish the bits where water tumbles and swirls, trout in such places love a big fly and will react boldly if you’re brave enough to try.
Above: Fast water on a wild stream: perfect territory for a juicy dry sedge!
Try some fantastic lines like the Ultralight from Cortland. The Ultralight line features a long front taper for very delicate presentations and precise loop control. The thin overall diameter decreases water surface disturbance for smart, pressured fish. Three color changes within the head allow the angler to dial in the needed distance. An ideal choice for dry fly anglers.
TIMING IS KEY
While sedges will sometimes hatch right through the day as temperatures warm, the heaviest hatches tend to be in the evening. Even on tough days, sport can be dynamite as the light goes and these flies really get going, so don’t be in a hurry to pack up! Keeping a diary on your favourite rivers is a must to identify trends. That said, on those days when nothing is rising, sometimes a switch to a big, skittering sedge can provoke takes when the trout are ignoring small and subtle flies.
STEP UP YOUR LEADERS & TIPPETS
With caddis flies tending to be larger than standard dries, and numerous casts in rough water the norm, it pays not to go too delicate with leaders. 4lb tends to be a sensible minimum, or greater if you’re fishing rocky water for big fish. When the fish are hitting sedge flies they certainly don’t tend to be leader shy!
WAKE ‘EM UP
It might be the norm to fish “dead drift” ( at the exact speed of the current) with most dry flies, but caddis can be even better “waked” or tweaked across the surface. This is especially effective on stillwaters in a good ripple. Or indeed, if you see trout on a stream look at flies but not commit. Throwing in a twitch or two to make them think that dinner is getting away can be a great motivator!
FLOAT AND FLOAT AGAIN
One of the great benefits of the best dry sedge flies is that they are so visible and easy to fish, even in rough water that will sink more delicate flies. One great tip here is to treat flies TWICE with a quality floatant, once at home and once again on the bank. Treated this way, they will float beautifully, needing very little fuss even when waked hard or used to suspend a nymph.
SIX FAVOURITE CADDIS FLY PATTERNS
A fabulous all rounder, especially for broken water and “pockets”. With a lively profile and buoyant wing, this is a great fly to excite trout even when there’s no hatch isn’t in progress. We love this one for tumbling waters in the likes of the Yorkshire Dales and Dartmoor National Park.
One of the all-time classic caddis imitations, this one is so reliable and fabulously easy to use. Almost unsinkable thanks to its densely packed deer hair body and wing, which also makes it a good fly to suspend a nymph beneath.
Our number one choice for Stillwater fishing, this one is perfect for breezy days. Try waking it aggressively across the surface in a good chop and expect brutal takes! Especially good on natural waters, such as the lochs of Scotland and Wales.
When you need a little more subtlety, for example in smoother water or for cagey daytime fish, smaller CDC sedges work wonders. This one is available down to a 16.
This is a great pattern to try when the fish want a slightly more submerged profile. Representing a hatching insect, it sits perfectly in the water- but is still easy to spot thanks to the deer hair wing.
For completeness, it’s only right that our line-up contains at least one Richard Walker fly! There are endless scruffy caddis sedge patterns that we can suggest, including the sedge hogs and others. However, this is as realistic as any of them and with a good hackle and thick deer hair, it’s great for presenting high to the surface just like a real caddis. Besides trout, it’s also been known to catch chub and rudd!