May in the Pacific Northwest not only signals the annual reappearance of the sun and a handful of days where the sensation of actual warmth can be experienced outdoors, but it ushers in the beginning of the caddis fly hatch, usually kicking off around Mother’s Day on many western rivers. The caddis will continue to hatch through the summer and provide a reliable staple in a trout’s diet as they swarm in great masses around the riverside willows and return to the water to lay their eggs.
Accordingly, it’s worthwhile to have more than a few caddis adult fly patterns in your box and the the Hot Butt CDC Caddis is one of my favorites. CDC is an incredible natural material, popularized decades ago by innovative fly tiers like Rene Harrop. It’s buggy, inherently buoyant and incorporates nicely into a variety of patterns both dry and wet.
Hot butts or hot tags have been around for a number of years and continue to gain popularity, especially within the euro nymphing community. Bright tags on caddis and yellow sally stonefly patterns seem to work particularly well given both insects return to the river’s surface to oviposit their eggs and that splash of color may represent an egg sac. Feel free to play around with the color of the tag as desired. Likewise, the CDC used for the body can be varied to match the prevalent color of hatching caddis. Shades of tan, olive, black and gray work very well, as does a yellow or PMD colored CDC body when the yellow sally stoneflies are hatching throughout the early summer. I generally tie these from a #12 down to a #18. If you treat this fly with floatant, don’t use a liquid floatant like Aquel or Gink. A powdered floatant like Loon Top Ride is better suited for CDC patterns as it won’t hinder the material’s natural floatation.
Hot Butt CDC Caddis Recipe:
Hook: #14 Daiichi 1180
Thread: Black 70 Denier Ultra Thread
Tag: Fl Green Chartreuse Glo Brite Floss #12
Body: Dark Dun CDC
Underwing: Dark Dun CDC
Overwing: Stacked Elk Hair
Confluence Beer Pairing: As a follow up to our April beer pairing where we extolled the virtues of the new Structures Brewing location on Holly Street and the many fine libations gracing their tap list, we’re going to run wild with another one. Structure’s Kneipe is their latest pilsner, a North German style with notes of lemon and wildflowers.
If my 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s were mostly about IPA’s, I find myself drinking more pilsner’s and lagers these days. Maybe I’m just slowly restoring my tastebuds after decades of intense hop bombardment. Perhaps that’s why the chicken sandwich at Structures might be the best I’ve ever tasted (yes, I did go back and try it). Pilsner and a chicken sandwich…check. Now time to fill a box with caddis dries for the upcoming summer!