Summer Sunsets and Caddis

by Quinn Grover on June 14, 2013

in Fish Stories

When you are in the middle of it, summer evening caddis hatches sort of seem like they will last forever. There is eternity-type feel to the whole enterprise. If things go poorly one evening–wind or rain put off the hatch or a bout of poor hook-setting dooms your pursuit–you can take comfort in the fact that tomorrow night the whole thing will there waiting for you (assuming you can be there with it). Caddis hatches aren’t endlessly recurring events of course, they just last longer than green drake season (two weeks?) or pmds (a month?) or salmonflies (three hours? just kidding, it only feels that short).

So once the caddis season starts it sure seems like it has a long run, kind of like summer vacation as a kid. Those months seem a bit like years, and the end seems so far off as to not even exist. But when the caddis are gone, I sure miss it.

This week I managed to get out for the first time and chase the evening caddis eaters.I fished some new water and the heads weren’t up like I wanted them to be, but I managed one good fish, which was enough for a first at bat. One thing about evening caddis hatches is that they conflict with sunset watching and especially sunset photography. I am not on the same plane as Jess and Jake, really. I haven’t even managed to replace my drowned DLSR.   But I did get a new smartphone recently and the camera is a big upgrade over my last phone-based camera, enough of an upgrade to snap a few more photos than I have in a while. The problem, as I experience it, is that sunsets and caddis hatches peak at the same time. And when I do manage to look up from the water long enough to register the sun’s decline, I find myself slightly peeved that its going down so fast and the fishing will soon be ruined by darkness.   Such thoughts don’t often lead to my dawning of the camera and tripod. But the slow hatch this week allowed me to snap a few photos guilt free. They didn’t turn out perfect, but I like this one.


A few minutes after I snapped this photo, I was walking downstream and gazing in just the right spot (which was pretty lucky). Behind a big boulder a very large trout jumped a foot out of the water. The sun was low enough that the fish was just a silhouette against the water. The shape of–distinctly football-like–was easy to see. I assume this fish was chasing emerging caddis, but I can’t be sure. I am not a big trout and I can’t  think like a trout (or a dead salmonfly). It was enough to stop me in tracks. I worked my way below the spot as quietly and as far left as I could.  I got in behind and managed a couple of casts. At the end of the second drift a fish rose and I missed it.

I don’t know if it was the same fish. If I had to bet (and for the sake of my sanity), I think I probably spooked the large jumper. But looking back I don’t feel too full of regret.

In fact, I keep thinking one particular thought: I know where you live, my friend.