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Caddis Emergers


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13 replies to this topic

#1 grandriverbumm

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 08:53 AM

Hello all, I have a question about caddis emergers,

 

During June/July one of the rivers I fish has an overlap in various caddis species emerging (spotted sedge, black caddis and tan caddis).  While I can see that the adults of these species may have their own coloration/patterns I am curious if there are noticable differences in nymph and emerger stages.  I typically use a sparkle pupa for my caddis emergers and while I suspect the trout are focusing on the effects of the antron more than the coloration of the thorax and body, I am curious if trout would see (and focus) on these body parts (body/thorax).

 

Or my question, more easily asked is : "should I have seperate emerger fly for the above mentioned caddis"

 

Thanks



#2 rockworm

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:17 AM

Gary LaFontaine, who originated the sparkle pupa series of flies also created patterns to represent the emergers. His Emergent Sparkle Pupa flies are much like the Sparkle Pupae but with a short wing of deer hair.  I agree that the fish are probably mostly affected by the antron sheath, which mimics the gas bubble enveloping the pupa. But the location of the fly (on or near the water's surface) and the presence of nascent wings would almost certainly encourage fish targeting emergers. 

 

BTW- Your spotted sedge is probably a species of Hydropsyche. The larvae of these species are free-living (no case) and highly-mobile; rappelling down the current on a thin silk thread. When fishing the larva pattern some anglers colour the leader white to imitate this "rappelling rope."  



#3 Crackaig

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 03:33 PM

Some years ago a friend of mine shot some video of caddis emerging, using a dissecting microscope. Sorry, but they are not available on line. What is quite amazing about them is how quickly they emerge. One second the pupa hits the surface, the next there is an adult on the surface. It really does take less than one second to emerge.  Sometimes the caddis pupa doesn't emerge on its first assent, that would indicate a floating pupa would be effective. Some caddis surely fail in the emergence, so that could be what an emerger represents. What you don't get with caddis is the prolonged struggle at the surface while the adult frees itself from the nymphal shuck, as you do with many up wing flies.

 

Having seen this evidence I had to ask, what a caddis emerger is imitating?

 

Of course there are thousands of species of caddis, my friend only filmed a few of the ones of interest to anglers, so it isn't a conclusive study. It does beg the question though.

 

Another friend has a thought experiment (Don't do this, it is purely a thought experiment). Take a small child to McDonald's and feed them fries until they can eat no more. When completely sated on fries, take out a chocolate cookie and wave it under the child's nose. They will grab the cookie and somehow find space to eat it. Is this what happens with trout in a prolonged hatch? We show them something different, so, like the small child, they grab it. On occasion when we fish together we will come across a hatch that causes us problems. At that point you will hear mention of the "Chocolate Biscuit (cookie) fly". Not a specific pattern but something different to the hatch that is a general food item imitation. More often than not it produces a fish.

 

Having doubts that caddis have an emergence state of any significance, its a theory to work on.

 

Cheers,

C.


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#4 rockworm

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 04:31 PM

Some years ago a friend of mine shot some video of caddis emerging, using a dissecting microscope. Sorry, but they are not available on line. What is quite amazing about them is how quickly they emerge. One second the pupa hits the surface, the next there is an adult on the surface. It really does take less than one second to emerge.  Sometimes the caddis pupa doesn't emerge on its first assent, that would indicate a floating pupa would be effective. Some caddis surely fail in the emergence, so that could be what an emerger represents. What you don't get with caddis is the prolonged struggle at the surface while the adult frees itself from the nymphal shuck, as you do with many up wing flies.

 

Having seen this evidence I had to ask, what a caddis emerger is imitating?

 

Of course there are thousands of species of caddis, my friend only filmed a few of the ones of interest to anglers, so it isn't a conclusive study. It does beg the question though.

 

Another friend has a thought experiment (Don't do this, it is purely a thought experiment). Take a small child to McDonald's and feed them fries until they can eat no more. When completely sated on fries, take out a chocolate cookie and wave it under the child's nose. They will grab the cookie and somehow find space to eat it. Is this what happens with trout in a prolonged hatch? We show them something different, so, like the small child, they grab it. On occasion when we fish together we will come across a hatch that causes us problems. At that point you will hear mention of the "Chocolate Biscuit (cookie) fly". Not a specific pattern but something different to the hatch that is a general food item imitation. More often than not it produces a fish.

 

Having doubts that caddis have an emergence state of any significance, its a theory to work on.

 

Cheers,

C.

 

It is true that many adult caddis appear to "shoot" out of the water like little Polaris missiles. But remember- most species (not all) make the journey to the surface buoyed up by gasses trapped under the pupal shuck. (Making a pattern with an Antron body sheath effective.)  And by the time they hit the surface they must have wings ready (or almost ready) to use. (Making full or slightly abbreviated wings effective.) Your friend's observations are significant. But I think you miss the point: It is the adult pattern that should be basically useless during emergence since the adult spends essentially no time on the surface during emergence. (Of course, not all individuals are going to follow the plan. Some actually will have to struggle to get free. And some adults may get blown out of the trees and onto the water.) Gary LaFontaine observed all this twenty years ago using scuba gear. His Deep Sparkle Pupa is effective prior to and during the hatch. His Emerging Sparkle Pupa is a killer during the hatch, especially if it is played right. Floated "dead drift" over a feeding trout it might be taken as a crippled emerger. But if it is first pulled under the surface and then allowed to rise in front of the fish it can bring ferocious strikes. As you point out, the trout does not have the luxury of a close, leisurely examination as the adult rarely sits on the surface drying its wings as if it were a March Brown on a cold day.  



#5 grandriverbumm

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 06:27 AM

I have fished the sparkle pupae 3 ways, 2 of which seemed to be very productive

 

1) bottom bouncing and then stopping the line for a fast upswing to the surface (this has landed me some of the bigger trout).

2) in the surface film swinging the fly infront of the rising trout (this lands trout, but larger trout in my river seem to stick to the bottom).

3) as you would a mayfly emerger (little success).

 

So riding the surface film for prolonged periods of time may only trick less picky fish, but this pattern fished in the surface the typical wet fly way produces a large number of trout for me (between 12-16"). 



#6 mikechell

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 06:59 AM

"Sometimes the caddis pupa doesn't emerge on its first assent, that would indicate a floating pupa would be effective."  

 

Damn, that surface tension.  If I am correct in my interpretation of videos and explanations, the pupae that "fail" to emerge, didn't break through.  If a swirl of water interrupts the rise, there might not be enough inertia to break through.  If there is something on the surface, an "oil" slick of sorts, then the surface is harder to break through. 

If the back doesn't hit air, the fly doesn't emerge.

 

" ... what a caddis emerger is imitating?"

 

Maybe it's statistics ... If only one in every hundred pupae gets "hung up" on emerging, then that is food.  Given the numbers of rising pupae, that can make quite a meal.


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#7 Bruce Norikane

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Posted 11 March 2015 - 11:02 AM

... One second the pupa hits the surface, the next there is an adult on the surface. It really does take less than one second to emerge.  ... What you don't get with caddis is the prolonged struggle at the surface while the adult frees itself from the nymphal shuck, as you do with many up wing flies.

...

 

Mind blown. Sorry to resurrect this old post, but I've never seen this described.

 

I've read LaFontaine's Caddisflies, and have always heard that caddis take off like missiles, but I thought that meant that they didn't spend any time floating on top. The missile analogy diminishes high floating dry flies, and emphasizes partially submerged patterns with shuck-like stuff like the Klinkhammer or CDC & Elk. I assumed that the time under the film was more important.

 

Maybe this explains why I often suck during heavy caddis hatches.



#8 Hatchet Jack

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 09:03 AM

I have stared at a yard square section of river, minutes on end during evening time.

The caddis adult(s) just appear, as if by magic.

NO disturbance of the surface film, no wake, no bubble, no struggle.

They're just there.

 

A fine and pleasant mystery (with apologies to McManus).


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#9 Bruce Norikane

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 09:42 AM

I have stared at a yard square section of river, minutes on end during evening time.

The caddis adult(s) just appear, as if by magic.

NO disturbance of the surface film, no wake, no bubble, no struggle.

They're just there.

 

Fascinating, you are a great observer! I need to watch more carefully during a hatch. (not sure I have the discipline with trout splashing all around.)

 

Do they fly off right away?

 

What are the trout doing? Often I see the real splashy rises during caddis hatches.

 

Thanks



#10 phg

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Posted 21 March 2015 - 06:30 PM

To confuse things even more (I haven't seen this mentioned yet), some adult females dive into the water, swim to the bottom, lay their eggs, and then rocket back through the surface into the air.  I've watched this in riffles.  There's no splash going either way, the insect just disappears, and a few minutes later reappears.

 

One of my favorite tactics is to swing the caddis downstream in a riffle, and just hold it there, right below the surface.  I'll work it back and forth about 6" for a minute or two.  I get lots of hits doing that.  If I don't get a hit, I recast, and try to hold it in a slightly different place. 



#11 SilverCreek

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 07:54 PM



 



Some years ago a friend of mine shot some video of caddis emerging, using a dissecting microscope. Sorry, but they are not available on line. What is quite amazing about them is how quickly they emerge. One second the pupa hits the surface, the next there is an adult on the surface. It really does take less than one second to emerge.  

 

It is true that many adult caddis appear to "shoot" out of the water like little Polaris missiles. But remember- most species (not all) make the journey to the surface buoyed up by gasses trapped under the pupal shuck. 

 

Gary LaFontaine is was the first to describe the rapid emergence of caddis in his book, Caddisflies.

 

I believe I am correct when I say that most entomologists and fly fishers who have studied caddis now believe that this is not the case. 

 

The meniscus is a significant obstacle to emerging insects. The molecules of water are bonded together by hydrogen bonds because water is a polar molecule with a positive end of 2 hydrogen atoms and a negative end of oxygen, they line up like bar magnets. These bonds are weaker than covalent bonds but they are strong enough to float a steel needle and they are strong enough that water can pull itself up a tube with the capillary action provided by the hydrogen bonds.

 

There are some caddis that undergo pupation on the stream bottom so they go from larva—>pupa—>adult on the bottom and ascend as adults. But the majority of caddis must undergo the transformation from pupa to adult at the surface. They cannot do that and break through the meniscus in a second.

 

The best source of entomology for fly fishers is Troutnut.com. This is what they ave to say:

 

http://www.troutnut....era-Caddisflies

 

”Pupae of different species use three different methods to emerge:

 

Most species rise to the surface and struggle through. They usually take flight quickly once they're out of the water, but slow species first struggle and drift long distances half-submerged as they wriggle free from their pupal shucks.

The pupae of some species crawl out of the water on rocks, sticks, and such, so that the adults emerge high and dry.

Some pupae rise to the surface and swim quickly across it to shore where they crawl out to emerge.”

 

Midcurrent states:

 

http://midcurrent.co...addisfly-hatch/

 

”The speed with which caddisflies, the swimming type, ascend to the surface varies with the species, but it is doubtful if any of them rise like a rocket and shoot out into the air. A few accounts by entomologists describe the struggles the emerging insect goes through. For example, Dr. Cornelius Betten, in The Caddis Flies, or Trichoptera, of New York State, in a section written in approximately 1915, states about a common Spotted Sedge (Hydropsyche sp.): “I did not find the larvae but observed the pupae transforming on the surface of the water alongside of the government breakwater. . .” and in another section, “The pupae were caught as they were coming up for emergence alongside the government breakwater, but these specimens had doubtless been carried some distance by the swift current since they left the rocks.”

 

My studies of how trout feed on emerging pupae and my observations of the naturals also shed considerable doubt on the “rocket” concept of a caddisfly hatch. At least for those swimming emergers observed, including six important trout-stream families, my studies show that the ascent has definite periods of hesitation. It is the insect during these periods of hesitation that fly fishermen must imitate with their flies. They have to know where the pupae will pause and struggle before they can begin to fish a caddis fly hatch successfully.”

 

I have great admiration for Gary LaFontaine. I think if he were alive today, he would admit either that what he observed was atypical or misinterpreted by him.


Regards,

Silver

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#12 Hatchet Jack

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 10:00 AM

 

I have stared at a yard square section of river, minutes on end during evening time.

The caddis adult(s) just appear, as if by magic.

NO disturbance of the surface film, no wake, no bubble, no struggle.

They're just there.

 

Fascinating, you are a great observer! I need to watch more carefully during a hatch. (not sure I have the discipline with trout splashing all around.)

 

Do they fly off right away?

 

What are the trout doing? Often I see the real splashy rises during caddis hatches.

 

Thanks

 

 

This was an area of rather smooth calm water next to the river bank. Over time, more and more adults appeared,

and I was at a loss to literally see where they came from. They flew in that crazy figure of eight pattern, just above

the water. No fish fed on them and I heard no feeding activity outside my immediate area of vision.

 

I've seen the appearance of adult lake caddis too from my canoe, again during evening time.

Their numbers slowly grew into a virtual snowstorm above the water and strangely, no fish (panfish) fed on

them either. And in hindsight, my guess is that these adult flies were perhaps coming from lakeside vegetation.

 

I'd hardly qualify myself as a great observer, but thanks for the complement anyways ☺

Aquatic bugs are fascinating and present an on-going challenge.


Always quit when you're through.


#13 mikechell

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 11:07 AM

I was at a pond in California a year or so ago, and there was a small midge hatch going on.  The concrete wall I was on was only about 6 inches above water level.  If I watched the water, I could see the "buzzer" coming to the surface.  As soon as it hit the surface, the midge was there.  I tried to catch the actual emergence from the shuck, but couldn't.  It happened so fast, it was like Jack said ... magic.

 

I didn't observe a single one "struggling" to break through the surface tension.


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#14 Gungner

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 09:32 AM

Hi, very interesting thread.

While fishing in new zeeland this past winter (december) i fished with a guide on the lower mataura. We fished mayfly hatches during the day and a spinner fall in the evening. As it became Darker the spinner fall died out and the fish stopped rising.

But at moments fish would jump like crazy out in the current, violent rises. As we talked about them the guide explained that They were chasing caddis pupa rapidly emerging and the fishes had no time to stop before breaking the surface.

He gave me a small soft hackel in size 18 and instructed me to swing the fly down and across and at the middle of the drift slowly lift to Rod to force the fly to move up in the water. This turned out to be a very effective method imitating rapidly emerging caddis pupa.

We had a great time and caught a few more fish before calling it a night.