Sometime between the end of April and the middle of May something spectacular happens. Depending upon the air and water temperatures, as well as the ever-volatile spring weather, little moth-like insects emerge from local lakes, rivers, and streams. This emergence is dubbed the “Mother’s Day Caddis Fly Hatch” because it usually occurs on or within a few days of the holiday. The specific caddis that emerges, oftentimes in overwhelming clouds, is the Brachycentrus occidentalis.
If the conditions are right, the fishing during this hatch can be ridiculously productive. Favorite dry fly patterns include brown or tan Elk Hair Caddis in sizes 14-12, brown or tan Goddard Caddis in sizes 16-12, Brown Caddis Emerger in sizes 16-12, the Adams Trude in sizes 16-12, and the Everything Emerger in tan or peacock in sizes 18-14. Some favorite caddis nymphs and wet flies are the Olive Winged Caddis Emerger in sizes 16-14, Bead Head Caddis Pupa in size 16-14, and Bead Head Hare’s Ear in sizes 18-14.
My favorite method of fishing during the Mother’s Day Hatch is to use a size 14 or 12 Goddard Caddis on a 7-foot 4x leader, then use an 8-inch piece of 5x tippet, and tie a dropper to bend the hook on the Goddard. To the other end of the piece of 5x I tie either a Jellycord Larva in size 16 or a Bead Head Olive Soft Hackle in size 16 to 18.
Kurt Dehmer owns Durty Kurty’s guide service in Bozeman, 581-6644.