Caddis flies, top shelf insects for fly fishing

Caddis FlyFlickr: Derek Parker

For most fly fishing trouters, mayfly fishing is the foundation of our game but from a strictly numbers point of view the caddis fly is much more abundant on most trout waters. They are hardy warriors that can withstand pollution better the most mayflies. If you asked me years ago I would have said Caddis flies were useless. Because I was repeatedly getting beat up on the famed Pine Creek, in north central Pennsylvnia. There I was watching thousands of egg laying caddis in the air while throwing my arm off with an Elk Hair pattern without even a nibble. Then while dazing off, my elk hair skittered below me on the surface. Blasto!! Fish on!

From that day, for our annual trip to Pine Creek, I would skitter tan caddis imitations with great success. It was years later that I read Gary LaFontaines, Caddis Flies and found what has become the bible for fishing the caddis fly. In fact I’m only scratching the surface to understanding Gary’s research.

As you may have read I am rediscovering Wet Flies and it’s with great excitement because I know so many of the caddis fly fishing tactics taught by Gary LaFontaine go hand-in-hand with the tried-and-true wet fly sub-surface swing techniques. It’s exciting and overwhelming, at the same time, to decipher where to begin. That’s good stuff – that’s fun!

A few tips:
– Brushing desiccant like Frog’s Fanny on subsurface patterns helps create bubbles that imitate the gasses released by caddis pupae during emergence.

– Like most subsurface patterns translucency is a critical charateristic for correct imitation. Materials like Antron and blended hair represent this effectively.

– Active presentation techniques (e.g. swinging and twitching), for both subsurface and surface flies typically do well to represent a caddis emergence.

Caddis (Tan and Olive)
Rhycophila Larva fly patten

caddis sparkle pupa

caddis dry fly

Buy your Caddis Flies here >>

By the way, desiccant packets are great to place in your fly material containers or with anything that you need to keep dry from humidity like electronic equipment. I once saved a wet cell phone buy placing it in a box of desiccant packets.

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