May 21, 2017 - Whie Miller Caddis
May 22, 2017
WHITE MILLER CADDIS
Opening Day of trout season on Silver Creek is only 12 days away, May 28, 2016. In case the weather warms up for the beginning of the season such that we encounter flights of White Miller Caddis, your Stream Keeper is posting this blog entry about that species.
The term “White Miller Caddis” is a label applied to a family of caddis flies featuring antennae unusually long for a caddis fly, also colloquially known as the Long Horned Caddis. The species we encounter early season on Silver Creek is the Oecetis. A similar species distributed all over Yellowstone National Park and nearby waters is the Nectopsyche.
On Silver Creek the initial hatches of the White Miller usually occur during the first week of June but may be present on Opening Day if spring arrives early. A hot afternoon winding down into a warm evening is the prescription for a dense White Miller hatch. One will see swarms of White Millers dancing over the creek surface in the morning, often before the day’s mayfly hatch. In the morning and evening on the Double R Ranch field water at that time of year, there is often a blizzard hatch blanketing the creek from bank to bank.
Your Stream Keeper finds the White Miller to be one of the most difficult caddis to bring to the dry fly, at least in the morning. I’ve had only sporadic success with standard caddis patterns such as the X Caddis, the EZ Caddis or the Elk Hair Caddis. Blue Ribbon Flies of West Yellowstone has been touting a new dry pattern which is constructed much like a Stimulator but in a blond shade; tying instructions are available on the web site.
Historically, on the Double R Ranch field water I have had some success running a #10 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle subsurface under egg laying flights of White Miller caddis. A #10 soft hackled fly tied with a body of peacock Diamond Braid and a grouse hackle collar also works well, particularly when the setting sun has passed over and makes this pattern sparkle. Another pattern with proven results is Allen McGee’s “PMD Ascension Flymph” found in his second book.
Consistently hooking trout on a dry caddis pattern has been rather elusive as far as I am concerned, although I have always had limited success with a #14 Light Cahill if it has been tied sparsely. I have invented several patterns directed at this problem. However, it was not until the 2015 season that I lucked onto my solution. One evening during a dense flight of White Millers I tied on, of all things, a #14 Callibaetis Hatch Matcher left on my fly patch from a prior session. I promptly landed a dozen trout, including a 22 inch Brown, my largest trout of the season. I suspect that any sparsely tied light tan dry pattern would produce, but I see no reason to continue to experiment.
Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch