The spent caddis imitates several stages of emerging caddis. The upper Missouri River near Craig, Montana, is known for its prolific hatches of caddis flies, and in my too-brief, lone trip to the river, I experienced a blizzard caddis hatch unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life. During that hatch, the trout were, naturally, keying in on this ubiquitous food source. However, it wasn’t clear which phase of emergence – or spinner fall – the trout were taking most readily.
If I had to choose one all-around nymph pattern for trout fishing in the upper Midwest, it would be Whitlock’s red fox squirrel nymph. It’s on par with the pheasant tail and hare’s ear nymphs for its impressionistic appearance and close resemblance to a host of aquatic insects, it’s effective throughout the season, and it entices strikes from selective stream trout and spawning salmon alike. In short, it just plain works. Like all of my favorite fly patterns, it’s easy to ti