Nov 21, 2019
First of all, here are the details on the fly tying night at Joshua’s Restaurant (http://www.joshuastavern.com) in Brunswick Maine, hosted by the Merrymeeting Bay Trout Unlimited. It will be December 5th from 6 to 8. I will bring some examples of these insects and we’ll talk a bit about their lifestyle and habits. Selene of Maine will demonstrate tying Gary LaFontaine’s Deep Sparkle Pupa. Justin Crouse of Guide’s Choice Flies will demonstrate how to tie an Elk Hair Caddis. And Ray Minchak will demonstrate tying a Green Caddis Larvae. In terms of materials bring:
Deep Sparkle Pupa:
Elk Hair Caddis
Green Caddis Larvae
OR, bring your own favorite green rock worm pattern to share. And there will also be a table set up for those who just want to hang out and tie.
OK, for the blog post. First we’ll start with a few pics of these critters. These two pics show the characteristics of the larvae. As you know they are free living - so they do not have a case. They will be crawling around on the surface of rocks (or drifting, much to our and the trout’s delight). Note the bright green color and the bulbous abdominal segments.
Obviously when you imitate the larvae you’ll want to design a fly with those bulbous abdominal segments and the bright green color. Again, check your local critters - some species have darker bands with each abdominal segment or a dark band running down the back of all the segments. Match what you have locally.
Anyway - my simplest imitation, which I like most, is simply a tungsten bead followed by a series of glass beads. Like this:
As I mentioned in the podcast, Thomas Ames Jr. adds a bit of dubbing behind the tungsten bead and the first glass bead and at the end of the beads. I’ll admit, this makes the fly look more professional and intentional!
What then follows are a whole series of larval imitations that are super simple and basically variations on a theme. Some sort of bulky material (depending on the size of the larva you want to imitate) and wrapped around the hook. You can make the head a bead or a blob of dark dubbing. Your call if you want to add legs of partridge or other fibers.
This is the latex caddis - made by wrapping green latex around the hook. The material I used here were old dish washing gloves. You can also buy green colored condoms (believe it or not) that work as well.
Another version is using synthetic hair - such as craft fur or fishhair that is twisted into a rope and wrapped around the hook shank.
Or green wire.
Or twisted antron - either wrapped around the hook or twisted into a furl and tied down. You get the idea. There are a million options.
This is Oscar Feliu’s Rhyacophila Larva - which I really like. The pattern is:
Here is a link to him tying this fly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr8RaSbFNPw
OK, let’s move onto the next stage that you may want to imitate - which is the pharate adult or what anglers call the pupa. This is the stage of the insect that hatches from the cased pupa on the substrate of the stream which swims quickly to the surface to hatch.
Of course the classic fly to imitate this stage is Gary LaFontaine’s Deep Sparkle Pupa - which Selene will demonstrate how to tie at the Merrymeeting Bay Trout Unlimited Fly Tying night on December 5, 6-8 PM at Joshua’s Restaurant in Brunswick, ME. This particular fly is an emergent sparkle pupa and was tied by Justin Crouse of Guide’s Choice Flies. It can also be used for this stage. The deep sparkle pupa is essentially the same without the strand of antron off the tail and without the deer hair wing. I have this picture mostly because I tie horrible deep sparkle pupae - which is why Selene is doing the demo!
The pattern is:
Another cool fly is the Fox Poopah, originated by Tim Fox out in California in the 1990s.
Or you can use the TieDown Caddis as recommended by Rick Hafele as a good imitation of this stage. This one is tied by Selene:
My only advice here is to tie down the tail and trim, then use a separate clump of deer body hair to make the shell back.
Lastly, a wonderfully simple and effective fly is a simple soft hackle. A green thread body and a woodcock or grouse hackle is all you need.
OK, once the pharate adult/pupa makes it to the surface, it will molt again (quickly) and fly off. There is an opportunity to fish this stage as there will be cripples and depending on the weather conditions, the adult may sit on the surface of the water for longer or shorter times. Some nice patterns to imitate this stage include:
The Henryville Caddis:
The Chuck Caddis (tied by Selene):
The next important stage to be able to imitate, however, is the egg laying female. At this stage, the female swims or crawls to the bottom of the stream and lays eggs. Once finished, however, she releases herself to drift slowly back to the surface. This is a great stage to imitate as she seems resigned to her fate as trout food and the trout happily cooperate. Some flies to imitate this stage include:
The Prince Nymph:
The Leadwing Coachman
The March Brown Wet
Dark Cahill Wet
Or you could use one of the dry flies we’ve already discussed, like a Chuck Caddis or a Henryville Special weighted and fished wet.