October Caddis Like Small Birds I Swear…..
“At a recent visit to The Caddis Fly Shop in Eugene, Oregon, I had sought out some current info on where I might venture to fish. The shop was, as always, most helpful with what to use, October Caddis, October Caddis, (did I say October Caddis?) and where to go. Armed with the where (they drew me map…Ok, I looked confused) and the what, I set forth with a variety of large Caddis dries and some sizeable Copper John patterns in the appropriate Caddis Pupa colors.
So, yesterday I headed out up the McKenzie River, into a new area. I had packed fresh fruit, PBJ sandwiches and water. After a bit of orienteering malfunctions, and fishing some much too heavy water for me, I arrived at a different stretch of water that looked just right. The scenery was beautiful. I decided to grab a late lunch while I could, so as to not take away from fishing the early evening hatch. The spot was shaded, soft and beautiful. The light filtered through the trees with the lowering sun. The exposed river rock created a unique landscape and there were even some nearby wild flowers stream side.
As I took in the beauty, I was shortly joined by this little girl and her four younger siblings. She was seven and very curious about me. She asked me about my car, my fishpond bag, my whistle, and she shared with me about her family. They appeared to be camping in the woods and possibly down on their luck. As I was slowly eating my goodies, I noticed her intently watching me. I asked her if she wanted some.
She gladly accepted and soon her siblings were close by. Well I had enough to eat and had lots left, so I offered the rest to the girl, but told her to ask her parents first. She ran quickly back and happily took the remaining food I had left.
It was time to fish in earnest now. I eagerly went down to the river. I tuned up my leader. I ran into an elderly homeless man. He shared his woes with me. I listened as I rigged up and tied on a Caddis pupa. I left the old man and waded out into the river. And then, I started to notice the most amazing thing. I thought they were small birds being attacked by bigger birds, but upon looking closer, I realized the birds were eating October Caddis.
Crazy! I had only heard about their size. Or, read about them, seeing a few pictures, but this was the first time I had seen them first hand. It was just as I had learned, but even more fascinating. I was watching that more than fishing. I wisely decided to tie on an OC, one of the foam bodied patterns the shop had recommended.
I cast into the hatch, and fish came to my fly. Birds swooping, fish rising, alone in this spot. The most connected, to nature and the trout I have ever been. This is what it is about. Not always reached, but recognizable and special for me. The sun was setting and I thought it wise to make my way back to the car with the last light. The good fishing would have continued, I am certain. And, ok, maybe the Caddis weren’t as big as birds. But, I was so happy!!
I got back to my car and saw some paper on my windshield. It was a thank you note from the little girl, with lots of wilted flowers. She must have picked me a bunch and scrunched them together with the note. So touching. The family was gone. My day was full…very full.”