Caddisfly larva and emerging pupa are literally all the buzz on the trout stream throughout much of late spring, summer and fall.
The adults typically live for about a month, just long enough to mate and lay eggs. Adults usually stay close to the water, and adult females lay eggs on or in the water (females of some species will dive underwater to lay eggs). Some females will lay up to 800 eggs .
After hatching in a river bed, the larva can be
Case-building with gravel or vegetative matter:
or Net builders:
Here is an online video of the caddis fly life-cycle. (If you fast forward to the 5 mins 36 secs mark you will see great shots of a caddis pupa swimming on the water surface). The insect undergoes larval, pupal, emergent pupal, and adult stages. After taking flight, the adults mate and the females either deposit their eggs on the water surface or they swim down to the river bed to lay their eggs.
The following video shows an emergent caddis pupa. Note the long swimming legs and the encased air sacs
This is a real time video of a caddis hatching on land. From this you appreciate the trailing shuck that the adult leaves behind. This is often imitated in emerging caddis fly patterns.
You can spot a caddis hatch is underway when you see splashy trout rises. The fish are voraciously hunting down the fast swimming pupa or the female diving caddis as she returns to the river to deposit her eggs.
Here is a video outlining the different caddis patterns that you should consider in your fly box:
If you are looking to tie your own caddis imitations here are a few patterns, tied by Mikey Metcalfe, at the Grand River Outfitting and Fly Shop, in Fergus, Ontario.
and here is another variant called the X-Caddis being tied by Rob Heal .
There are myriads of caddis patterns online, on YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook and you will also find patterns to imitate the larval and early pupal stages as well. Caddis are a year round diet for hungry trout; so get out your vises and start tying for next season.
Don’t be afraid to use your imagination. You can find our own Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Club videos here: