The caddisfly is not an attractive insect. Butterflies, ladybugs, jewel beetles – they definitely won the good looks lottery but not caddisflies, which are usually dirt coloured with long black antennae protruding from above their bulbous eyes; they’re kind of like a cross between a leaf and an alien.

But wow, do fish ever love them. Especially trout. During the annual caddisfly hatch in Castlegar, rainbow trout absolutely gorge themselves on the flying insects that live most of their lives underwater before emerging from the pupa stage and bursting into the air. “The caddisfly hatch here in Castlegar is world class,” says local fishing guide Dwayne D’Andrea. “Between June and July it’s like clockwork. You’ll regularly see clouds of them flying by.”

D’Andrea is very familiar with the local hatch, having fished on the Columbia River and other waterways since 1991. He was the first fishing guide to work on the river here and his favourite experiences involve drifting down the river and going after trout during the caddisfly hatch. “The trout are so strong,” he says. “They’re so full of muscle because they’ve been swimming against the powerful currents of the Columbia for their entire lives. It makes for some incredible action.” The largest rainbow he’s caught during the hatch was 26 inches — over two feet long!

He says he prefers drifting down the Columbia in his 15.5-foot-long Hyde Signature Series Hyde drift boat compared to motor boats because “there’s no engine noise. It gives you a different perspective. You see more and fish more. With a power boat, a lot of time you’re just zooming around looking for fish but with a drift boat, you don’t spook them and you can get into various spots easily.” He goes on to say that with the oars, he can position anglers better. They’re like an extention of your fishing rod.”

This summer D’Andrea is offering a special Fish and Sip adventure on the Columbia between June 1 and July 31 in partnership with BC Ale Trail. His three-hour “Gilligan Primetime” tour will take place in the evening, which is the best time for caddisfly fishing, and after the tour you’ll receive a complimentary pack of Tailout Brewing beer, brewed here in Castlegar.

The tour involves putting in at Robson, the community across the river from Castlegar, and then drifting the Columbia to China Creek, enjoying lots of dry fly action along the way. Two people at a time can go on the tour and D’Andrea is the sole guide. The cost is $380 for the two people.

For more about the Fish and Sip experience, scan the QR code in the poster above or contact Dwayne D’Andrea directly at