Posts Tagged ‘Goose Biot Caddis’

Lockdown Day 18

April 13, 2020


Today I am going to take a look at one of my favoured patterns for the streams of the Western Cape, the goose biot parachute caddis. Previously we did look at a parachute caddis fly with Guinea Fowl wings (you can of course use any other feather fibre to create a similar pattern). But the wing slip style isn’t well suited to the reduced dimensions of the tiny micro caddis which are so common on our waters.

Goose Biot Micro Caddis black.

From the perspective of both the angler and the trout Caddis Flies are important, one might venture considerably more important, than the much more commonly copied mayflies. Whilst the mayflies become available as a food form both during hatches and again when the adults mate and run out of fuel, landing as spent spinners on the water’s surface, caddis flies live a good deal longer. They have mouth parts and can at least drink, either water or perhaps nectar to “top up the fuel tanks” and as such they can be found on the rivers for far longer periods than the mayflies.

Tiny Micro-Caddis adults are common on the rivers for much of the season.

The micro caddis flies of the streams of the Western Cape , although no doubt there are more than a few species, tend to fall, from an angling perspective into ether dark gray/black or tan versions. They can be found on the rocks for days if not weeks at a time and one can frequently observe them right at the interface of the water, one presumes perhaps drinking. The upshot though is that they obviously do fall into the water and the trout know all about them.

They are tiny insects, probably no larger than a #18 at best and almost impossible to see if trapped in the surface film, so to a point one is guessing that this is what the fish are after. But when there are lot of caddis flies on the rocks and the fish are rising on a relatively regular basis one can make assumptions and a carefully presented parachute caddis will as often as not fool the fish into taking. We don’t kill fish on these waters and I rarely if ever stomach pump a fish to confirm what it has been consuming, but the parachute caddis works often enough to provide reasonable subjective evidence that one is correct in one’s assumptions.

Goose Biot Micro Caddis Tan

One of the problems of fishing patterns to copy these minute flies is simply that they are difficult to see and of course whilst large Elk Hair caddis patterns are effective as general search patterns most of our caddis flies are far too small to be imitated with such a robust copy.

The parachute option at least allows the inclusion of a post, either in pale or bright colours that helps a bit in following the drift of one’s imitation. Of course caddis flies have low lying “tent shaped” wings so the post is little more than a sighter and I don’t like to over do this as of course it potentially detracts from the imitative qualities if too large. But a small post will generally allow one to be able to see the fly well enough. The takes to such small and trapped insects are rarely splashy affairs, little more than a dimple most of the time so having a clear idea of where your fly is on the water is crucial for consistent success.

Even small Elk Hair Caddis Patterns are not really tiny enough to adequately copy the micro caddis flies.

In essence this pattern is simply a version of the Guinea Caddis fly discussed previously, but the use of goose biot as a wing material creates a perfect copy of the natural’s wings with little trouble.

There certainly have been more than a few days when I have fished this pattern from dawn to dusk and fooled most of the fish it was thrown at. As said the caddis flies are around for a long time, the fish know all about them and if not actually focused entirely on these diminutive flies they will take them with confidence most of the time.

Although designed as a caddis pattern the fly will also provide a useful copy of the tiny stone flies also found on the streams. (Aphanicerca/Desmonemoura)

Tying the Goose Biot Micro Caddis:

One can modify this pattern in terms of colours and bulk, in the video below I don’t even bother to put in a dubbed thorax, the simpler the better on tiny hooks.

This is by definition a small pattern and as such practise with tying parachute flies, the BSP or Guinea Caddis will help you when you get to the small sized flies. It is also important in small flies in general to limit the materials, so this fly has no dubbing on the body and only a minute amount to form the thorax. Keep things very simple with only a few turn of hackle and use thin thread for a neater finish.

This post and the fly described comes from my book “Guide Flies” if you would like to purchase a downloadable copy of it or my other book “Essential Fly Tying Techniques” you will find both links and discount codes below. The discount code will let you purchase the book at a 50% discount during lock down.

Discount code Essential Fly Tying Techniques: DR62J Code will expire 17 April 2020

Discount code Guide Flies : SB94S Code will expire 17 April 2020

Thanks for reading, stay safe out there.



Match the Hatch – Goose Biot Caddis

October 14, 2012

In general I would be the first person to tell you that “it’s not about the fly”, and mostly to be quite honest it isn’t. Presentation always comes first, always, but there are times when matching the hatch becomes more or less important, even on relatively infertile freestone streams.

I fished only days ago on a local water which is just settling down from the spate conditions of winter, a month into the fishing season and still cold and moderately high but definitely “fishable”.

Up in the mountains it was still quite cloudy and there was a nip to the South Easterly wind which was blowing upstream, hard enough to make good presentations a little problematic but not sufficiently so to make accurate casting impossible.

The first run didn’t produce any response from the fish and there were no discernible rises, but there was lots and lots of insect activity. Thousands of net-winged midges huddled out of the breeze on the sides of the rocks and formed rafts of bodies along the margins where the hapless insects , unfortunate enough to end up in the drink, had spun off the main currents.

There were micro caddis flies in both black and tan hues running about on the streamside boulders and it all looked promising, just no rises.

The next pocket saw the first fish come to the net, nothing spectacular, although I was pleased to be able to effectively “high stick” a drag free drift at the top of the little waterfall that defined the back of the pocket. It isn’t always easy to get right and this time it worked perfectly, the upstream breeze helping to be sure and the fish taking just as the artificial came over the lip..

The next run and another fish, both taken on a fairly large and nondescript spider pattern, things were looking up and despite the conditions and lack of rises it seemed that the fish were feeding happily. Then there was a long period of nothing, good drifts, at least as far as I could tell, and no action. I lengthened the leader and considered adding a subsurface pattern but to be honest I didn’t really wish to do that. This was an R & R day not a work day and I really wanted to catch fish on the dry, plus with all these bugs around the fish would have to come on at some point surely.

I missed a half-hearted take in a shallow run under the bankside vegetation, I really got the impression that perhaps the fish didn’t fully commit to the fly, it would be considered quite a large pattern and I was using it primarily to aid visibility in the high and slightly choppy water. Plus as the fish weren’t coming up I was hoping to appeal to their sense of greed and “drum up” some interest.

Things carried on like this, I kept on expecting the fish to start moving and once the sun broke through and the early morning mountain clouds burned off I was even more hopeful. I lured one more fish out of the corner of a deep run, he wasn’t big but was inordinately fat, the fish in general seemed to have been doing well over the winter months and were in fine fettle.

Then searching through shallow pockets I saw a fish head and tail, it was the first activity other than that elicited by my own imitations, and it looked to be a half decent fish too. I carefully changed position and put out a reasonable cast, no response from the fish, perhaps the fly landed just short?

Another presentation and the fly landed perfectly, I prepared myself for the take but nothing happened and I rather feared that I had put down, what was to this point my only feeding fish.

Then I decided to change flies, with all these caddis about surely that would be a better option than the spider. I tied a small parachute caddis pattern onto the fine tippet, trouble was that it really is a rather tiny size 20 and in the windy and choppy conditions not easy to see on the water. Not the sort of fly for use during general prospecting in such conditions.

Fortunately the fly landed where intended just above where I had seen the rise, and managed to keep track of the tiny white post sufficiently well to see the gentle sip of the fish as the fly was inhaled. I set the hook after a short pause and the fish took off like a rocket. Then the battle really got going, in the high water amongst the rocks the fish went berserk, jumping completely out of the water several times, trying to duck behind and under the boulders and using the strong current to its advantage. The fragile 7X tippet however held and I eventually got the trout into the net.

I must digress for a moment and say that I have become seriously impressed with this Stroft™ tippet material, it has rarely if ever let me down, even the fine stuff I prefer to fish.

A gorgeous 17 inch rainbow, fit as a flea, and in perfect condition. A few quick photographs and I released it to fight another day. From then on the fishing was a struggle, the wind worsened, the wading became tiresome and as the swirling breeze grew stronger tangles in the long leader became more frequent. In the end I packed up and headed back to the car, I had only intended to fish for the morning anyway.

It hadn’t been the best of days, and things hadn’t really lived up to the early morning promise, but I was most satisfied to have fooled a few trout and in particular one which had eschewed one pattern in favour of another more imitative fly.

The goose biot micro caddis pattern that I was using was designed years back, specifically to cover the early season emergence of these tiny black caddisflies. The conditions weren’t ideal for fishing such a small and delicate fly but the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. There is always something satisfying about catching a fish that has refused previously, all the more so if one succeeds with a fly of one’s own manufacture, never mind design.

Those caddis should hang around on the river for quite a few days yet, it tends to be a long lasting event and hopefully I shall be able to trick a few more fish with the same fly before the water drops and the caddis die off.