I’m a day late getting back to you about those trout hallucinations in Cheesman Canyon. Let’s just say I suffered a relapse into guide/how-to head before I realized that I’m not guiding. I had a nice logical this-happens-because-of-that-resulting-in-this explanation for why the bleached-out blond Elk Hair Caddis works as a PMD imitation. It was three pages long and going strong until I realized it had nothing to do with real observation, flashy insights and adding 2 + 2 and getting 5.
The bleached-out blond Elk Hair Caddis imitates PMD’s best at the beginning of the hatch because it’s roughly the size and color of a PMD when it first makes it to the water’s surface. The trout take it because they’re already gobbling up emerging PMD’s below the water’s surface and anything that looks close to the first PMD’s to actually appear on the surface is good enough for them. That’s the logic.
How do I know that? Here’s the insight---watch how the trout take your Elk Hair Caddis when you cast to any subsurface flash you see. The nonchalant riseform looks like they’re taking a vulnerable, just emerged dun before it’s able to fly. That just isn’t they kind of splashy rise you see when there’s a caddisfly hatch. In fact, there’s nothing splashy about it at all. Some of the trout will scrutinize the fly, turn and then gently take it. They aren’t hallucinations…..or at least most of them aren’t.