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Why Fish Orange in Fall

Frank Yaun September 2022

Why Fish Orange in the Fall

You’ll hear many anglers here in Western NC talking about using a orange-ish fly in the fall, and they are correct, but why? No, trout are NOT Tennessee Vol fans (neither am I!), it’s because of a orange bug that shows up here in the Fall, the beloved October Caddis! The October Caddis begins showing up here in WNC often well before October, but generally peak in October. It’s a big bug, usually adults are somewhere around a size 10 or 12, similar size on the nymphs. OC are a bit different than other Caddis and aquatic insects in that they primarily crawl out of the water to hatch, most often on rocks on stream edge. From there, they hatch and then skedaddle to the bushes to chill and watch Netflix. This generally happens around dusk or dark thirty. Like many other caddis, they’re swimmers, and when they become dislodged in the current, they try to haul butt to safety, thus the effectiveness of soft hackle, as the soft hackle pattern imitates a swimming bug. As far as using October Caddis patterns, I tend to use 2 techniques, soft hackle and large dry with a dropper. Soft hackles are my favorite flies to fish, bar none, and they’re ezpz to fish, as you quarter downstream and tight line swing that mutha, and hookset not required, as with the tight line, they hook themselves. Word to ya mutha on that! Big gnarly OC dry flies in a #10 size are a great attractor fly, and if you coat it with High and Dry liquid floatant, it floats great, and when you drop a #20 midge below on 12” of 7x fluorocarbon, get ready for some fishy loving, especially in the hour before dark, it’s wicked deadly. Other forms of flies in orange generally work well in the fall, orange Euro jigs with a CDC collar are very effective as a anchor fly, and droppers of small orange caddis patterns are also good. Trout often key in colors, so the style of fly isn’t as important as a drag free presentation, as is the case with almost all styles & techniques of fly fishing, except soft hackles. Here’s a great tying tutorial from Tim Flagler on a OC soft hackle, enjoy!

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