The No-Hackle Caddis

I just realized it has been over three weeks since my last post.  Sorry about that–I have been on vacation in New England for a good bit of that time, and living in Baltimore I have learned not to broadcast my vacations…  I did get to fish a little bit, mostly on smallmouth rivers and brook trout streams.

Brook trout fly fishing
A pretty little New Hampshire brookie

I’ll be back with Gunpowder Fishing Reports this week.  Since I haven’t been on that river in nearly two weeks, any report I could give would be stale.  To help make up for my laziness, I will clue you in to a very easy-to-tie fly that will be a key part of my arsenal this time of year.  Terrestrials are gearing up on the Gunpowder, but my favorite and most productive dry from here through about October is the No-Hackle Caddis.

Caddis fly for fly fishing
Not pretty, but very effective

Credit for inventing this fly goes to Bob Wyatt (see the Spring 2013 issue of Fly Rod and Reel Magazine,, who calls it the No-Hackle Deer Hair Sedge.  He ties it prettier than I do, but I can’t imagine it’s that much more effective.

The tie couldn’t be more simple.  Dub a body, then tie on a deer hair wing.  That’s it. I use all sections of the deer hair, but the thickest ones float best.  This fly floats better than any fly I have ever used, yet trails its tasty looking dubbed body in the film.  This often entices very aggressive strikes.  Nearly any color dubbing can work.  My favorites are yellow, gray, and natural hare’s ear, but I have had success with half a dozen other colors.  I also typically tie in size 14 or 16.  You can match your flies to the size and color of caddis you see on the stream, or use it as an attractor.

The best use of the No-Hackle Caddis is in slightly broken water, like a riffle or current seam.  I have had very productive days with this fly not just on the Gunpowder, but on mountain streams from the Hyalite in Montana to the Appalachian freestoners in Shenandoah National Park.  Last week on the West Branch of the Battenkill in Vermont, I only had 45 minutes to fish.  I tied on the fly pictured above and raised 5 brookies in that short time without ever changing flies.

The fly has incredible floating properties.  You can easily drop a small nymph off the hook.  A special bonus:  you can swing the No-Hackle Caddis like a wet at the end of your drift, and if you don’t get a strike on the swing (which happens more than you might think), false cast once then fish it again as a dry.  You can do this for a surprisingly long time between applications of your favorite powder floatant.



Gunpowder Fishing Report, 6/4/14: Spinner Fall

I’ve been lucky to get out on the Gunpowder a couple times this week.  Yesterday was the first chance I’ve had to catch a spinner fall, and I am glad I stuck around for it.

Sulphurs continue to hatch on the Gunpowder.  Morning fishing has been mostly about caddis for me, but after about 11:00 AM, you start to see sulphurs on the water.  Funny thing about yesterday, although I saw a number of hatches throughout the day–including the most concentrated sulphur hatch I’ve seen this year–there were almost no rises.  I caught fish during the hatches only when I switched to a wet fly (like a Little Marryat).

Sulphur Comparadun fly for flyfishing the Gunpowder
This sulphur comparadun was very effective during spinner fall.  I can’t wait to get my real camera back…

I had to wait until 8:25 (which, coincidentally was exactly sunset yesterday) to ‘see’ the spinner fall.  I say ‘see’, because I actually saw almost no bugs despite looking up, down, at the water, and at every background available. I saw a couple lime sallies, and that was about it.  Still, the trout were going crazy.

I targeted two individual fish, cast about six times total, and caught both of them on the size 18 sulphur comparadun above.  I couldn’t really see at that point, so I ended it on a high note.

I don’t expect last night’s rain put the hatch or the fish off too much, but you never know.  Good luck.