Register now on! Login

Blog > Fly Fishing > Getting Started > Spring brings an order of Trichoptera (Caddisflies)

Spring brings an order of Trichoptera (Caddisflies)

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 04/08/2013 (6725 reads)
As the longer April days warm the waters in the region this provides incentive for the caddisflies (Order Trichoptera) to begin their annual cycle. Not always the preferred insect of the fly anglers, but without a doubt the caddisfly is found in most all the waters in the region.

caddisflyIt is the one insect that has succeeded and thrived in streams that have been decimated with pollution. Streams like the Tulpehocken, Oil Creek and Casselman are are just a few streams known for their abundant caddis fly populations in our region. For many of these streams the caddisfly is so prolific that mayflies are an often after thought for anglers.

The caddisflies behavior is a little less predictable and is certainly one of the reasons it is not as popular for many anglers. Many mayflies can be timed to within a few days and hours. The Green Drakes on Penn's Creek are revered by anglers the same way the "Swallows" of Capistrano are anticipated at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Caddis flies not so much.

That is not to say great hatches of caddisflies are not enjoyed by anglers and trout, as there can be wonderful evenings and days with them covering a stream. Just as often there can be sporadic emergers happening with without much fanfare.

There are over 1200 species of caddis flies in the country. They range in size and colors covering the gambit of black, green, tan, cream and white bodies. The more popular Grannom hatch do arrive across much of the region at the end of April and are much anticipated by anglers and trout alike.

To get some understanding of their cycle it is as easy to do as by simply lifting a rock the next time out on the water.

caddisflyMany types of caddis larvae can be found at the bottom of the stream in self-made protected cases or roaming along the bottoms of streams. Some these species create protective cocoons made of small stones or sticks held together with silk like threads. This thread is also used to secure the larvae to the larger rocks or stream bed where they live.

As the caddisflies mature they reach the pupa stage were they hold-up inside their cases and prepare to emerge out as adults above the water. This transformation from water to wing is the most dangerous for all insects. The caddisfly rise from their cases often with the help of a small gas bubble pulling them towards the surface. Once there they emerge with their uniquely folded tent-style of wings they take flight.

The caddis return to lay their eggs either on the surface or by diving to the bottom depending on the species. Like when they emerge, this is the time when they are most susceptible to hungry trout. The cycle of life then returns as these eggs transform into the larvae again.

Like mayflies, caddis flies begin in ernest in April and are big part of many streams. Continued sporadic hatches can be found through the late Fall.

For more on this popular order of insects check out Gary LaFontaine's book Caddisflies.
  Send article

Navigate through the items
Previous article Where to Fly Fish in Montana? Part Two - How to Plan a Guided Trip Fly Fishing Getting Started - Knots and the DBK Next item
The comments are owned by the author. We aren't responsible for their content.
Author Thread
Published: 2011/4/12 15:47  Updated: 2011/4/12 15:47
Joined: 10/11/2009
From: Southeastern Pa
Comments: 244
 Re: Spring brings an order of Trichoptera (Caddisflies)
Last night on tully, I had success with BH emerald caddis pupa. 15 strikes, 7 sets, 3 to hand (my highstick nymphing is coming along slowly, I was unable to make good sets but I'm getting there) in the 45min I was able to fish before a thunderstorm pushed them down and me out. So nice article, very apropos as I agree that I also over look the caddis both "up-top" and "below" when fishing some of these streams that really have good populations. Nice article!
Published: 2011/4/13 9:05  Updated: 2011/4/13 9:05
Joined: 05/17/2010
From: Parkesburg, PA
Comments: 11
 Re: Spring brings an order of Trichoptera (Caddisflies)
The Caddis hatches on the Tully are great and I have been there when they are in full swing and fish are rising everywhere. One time I fished it there were swallows that came out of the trees and were flying everywhere above the stream eating the caddis. You could actually hear a thump when they would fly at the caddis flies and eat them. Needless to say that was a pretty action packed day with lots of landed fish on caddis emergers and dries.
Published: 2013/4/8 22:28  Updated: 2013/4/8 22:28
Joined: 07/06/2011
From: Charleston WV via Lancaster PA
Comments: 1545
 Re: Spring brings an order of Trichoptera (Caddisflies)
I fished four different freestone brookie streams in northern Lancaster this weekend, and all four of them had big caddis hatches happening....and the brookies were nailing them!
Published: 2013/4/9 0:12  Updated: 2013/4/9 0:12
Joined: 09/09/2006
From: Dallastown, PA
Comments: 1649
 Re: Spring brings an order of Trichoptera (Caddisflies)
The Breeches are filthy with caddis the past week and a half. In the open water where I have been the fish don't seem interested. But hennys were productive.

Site Content
USGS Water Levels <Click Map>
Spring 2020 have you fished
More often 54% (62)
Less often 34% (39)
About the same 10% (12)
The poll closed at 2020/5/14 10:38

Copyright 2020 by | Privacy Policy| Provided by Kile Media Group | Design by