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Angler's Entomology Podcast

Welcome to the Angler's Entomology Podcast.  On this podcast and blog, I am documenting my re-entry into the world of entomology.   Join us as my wife and I explore the environment in which trout live and the insects and other creatures that live in and share that space.  This is not just a dry recitation of facts, I hope to bring these creatures alive - show you how they live, what makes them fascinating in their own right, and help you understand how they interact with trout in ways that will help your fishing.  So, please join us.  I hope you enjoy the program...


Selene's Blog and Page for Classic Streamers; and you can finder her interview on the podcast the Liar's Club. 


I'm setting up a new set of Quizizz pages to help you learn about different insect groups.  I'll be honest - the best way to learn insects is to look at a lot of insects.  So, give these a whirl and don't get discouraged if you do poorly.   Just try again every so often.   The quizzes will be tiered- so they will get more detailed and complicated as we increase in levels.   The first ones are just about learning the different orders.    

This first quiz is about identifying the four major aquatic insect orders

Quiz #2 is a continuation on Mayfly, Stonefly, Dragon and Damselfly, and Caddisfly Orders. 

This Quiz includes other orders of insects that are important to anglers, but is only the adults.  


Pics and Notes for Episode 19 and 21: Caddisflies

Mar 27, 2018


Allright – here is a blog post that cover both the episode about caddisflies and the episode about caddis families.  I’m not going to have an imitation for every individual family, but more groups of families – broken down in the categories we’ve talked about.   As usual, I’m sure there are other imitations out there – these are the ones I use and like – for that that is worth…

Before I go there, tho, I promised you a table of characteristics – the idea being if you can identify the family, you will then know info about how they hatch, etc.  And remember, I’m sure somewhere there are exceptions to these rules.   I’ve also added links to the pictures of these guys on BugGuide – so you can get a sense of what they look like.  So, here it is:




Egg Laying

Back to surface




Quick rise

Swim to bottom

Slow drift to surface



Drift along bottom with quick rise

Daps on surface, or swims under


Nice spinner fall.



On shore in damp areas or on water

Adults with nice drift on surface




Eggs dapped on surface




Crawl to land

Eggs laid above water.




Fast rise to surface

Eggs dapped on surface





Crawl into water or near water

Long drift back to surface



Pupa crawls to land





Quick rise

Dives into water




Drift along bottom before rising

Swim to bottom

Drift back to surface



Swims to surface/runs to shore











Let’s start with Rhyacophilidae – or the free living caddis.   The one everyone likes to imitate here is the green rockworm.  In part because it is beautiful, but honestly also because it is common in trout streams, it is effective and fish eat them. 

In terms of the larvae – they look like this.  This particular guy is one of the ones that is dark on the top, and green on the bottom – as you can see from the first picture.


This guy was picked up at Grand Lake Stream...




Here is my usual imitation.   I usually put a dark bead on the head.  But the pattern is:

Body: twisted synthetic fiber, like crystal flash, twisted and wound.

Thorax – dubbing of color and choice – I usually use dark to imitate the scerotized thorax

Head – bead or thread.

Can’t get simpler than that.


That said, another one I like is a green bead caddis:

Again, another easy fly  - tungsten bead followed by green beads. 

OK, so let’s move onto the group of cased caddis.   Where the first one we’ll talk about is Brachycentrus. 

Here is a not so great picture of what the cases look like:



And here is the pattern I like from Tom Rosenbauers Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast:


Where, again, the pattern is pretty straightforward:

Body: several strands of different colored wire, wound up the body.

Thorax – Green or white dubbing depending on your naturals in the area

Head – black thread.

And here’s a supercool imitation of a Brachycentrus tied by my wife.  I especially like the techniques she used in tying this – it is something I’ve never seen:


What’s interesting about this is the case – which is turkey quill, cut and split down the middle.  The pith is then pressed in, forming a notch.  The hook shank is placed in that notch, with a piece of quill on either side of the hook.  Glued in.  She then uses permanent marker to color the thread orange, adding black spots onto the orange thread.  That, wrapped around the quill, gives the square Brachycentrus case.   Cool huh?  She then uses the turkey quill fibers, torn from the quill to give that little foot, as the legs, and then glass beads, green and black for the protruding abdomen and thorax/head. 

So, while I clumped the case caddis families all together, there is tons of diversity in this group.   Both in terms of the different types of caddisflies, but also in terms of the different styles of cases.  Cases can be square, or round, made of stones, or twigs or even bits of vegetation. 

So rather than say, “ok, for Limnephilidae I make a case like this” below I’ll just put some examples of the cased caddis imitations I tie and you can see what you have in your stream and use these imitations as an inspiration to tie or buy something similar. 



Some folks think it is cheesy but I actually like this imitation.  It is simply sand epoxied to a hook.  I usually put down a base like thread, coat it with epoxy and then place it into a little petri dish of the sand of choice. 


If you are an ‘attention to detail’ kind of guy, you can even gather sand from the stream where you fish and make your flies to match that local environment.

This is the Strawman – tied by Guides Choice Flies (a great place to buy flies, by the way)



It is fairly straight forward – just a deer hair body tied sparse and trimmed down. I have to admit, I’ve been tying bass bugs too long and I have a really hard time tying them sparse enough – but Justin did a nice job here.   I think the idea is that the deers hair mimics the sticks etc. used by the caddis when building a case.

As I said, I’ve tied too many packed bass bugs to get out of that habit, so I finally decided if I can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.   So I used (I’m sure someone else has done this, I just don’t remember what it is called) deer hair to mimic the pebble case.  By mixing two different colors you get the mottled appearance to mimic that case:




Free Living Caddis

What may be the most important caddis to imitate is the free living caddis in the family Hydropsychidae.  Here are some examples of the naturals with a zebra caddis first, and a nice green larvae following.  I have to admit, most of the larvae I’ve seen around here are more of a cream to tan, but this is a nice green one.


 Note the plates on the back of the thorax and the gills on the underside of the abdomen. 

And here are some nice imitations from Selene:




As I said in the podcast, I kind of have a soft spot for this family for some reason.   The flies are pretty small, and there really isn’t much to the imitation, but here you go:


That’s really all you need – and it is made only with thread and head cement.  Honestly, the head should be made more reddish to match the lightly colored sclerotized head/thorax, but I opted for black.  This is about a size 18 or 20.  

Pupa Imitations.         

Again, not really a pupa but technically speaking a pharate adult, but in some ways that is just anal entomology talk.   Here is LaFontaine’s Sparkle Pupa, tied by Justin Crouse, Guides Choice Flies:



LaFontaine explained that the little tail of antron there is supposed to imitate a trail of bubbles coming off the emerging pupa.  I guess my feeling is that is optional…

And then, of course, there are my favorite soft hackles to imitate the rising pupa...

With that, I’ll sign off, I hope you found this useful…