Basics of Fly Fishing: Trout Food Series - Top Questions On
Caddisfly Pupae
If you do not understand what a pupa is, then please go back and review this

1. What is important to an angler about the pupa stage of a caddisflies life
The pupae stage is when the caddisfly changes from one of it's types of lava
stages, into a stage where it can transform into an adult or fully grown fly that can
fly. Up until that point, the caddisfly exist as a cased caddisfly, free-living caddisfly
or an net-spinning caddisfly. All of them go into the pupa stage. In this stage of life,
the pupae either crawl up rocks, bushes or plants; crawls out of the water or
hatches in the water. Most of them hatch in the water. When they are in the pupa
stage of life, they are most subject to being eaten by trout. The pupae are helpless
and cannot escape a hungry trout.

2. How do those that hatch in the water go about it?
Most of them hatch mid stream on the surface. The pupae swim to the surface of
the water using their middle legs with the aid of air bubbles trapped in the pupae.
Some hatch out on the bottom and some at mid depths before they reach the
surface. To make is seem a little more complicated, some species of caddisflies
have individual caddisflies that crawl out of the water to hatch and other individuals
that hatch on the surface.

3. Are the ones that crawl out of the water worth imitating with a fly?
Yes, all of them are. They usually move across the bottom and crawl out on rocks
or the bank, or their larvae move near the rocks or banks before they change into
pupae. Trout eat them either way in this rather helpless stage of their life.

4. What fly do I use to imitate a caddisfly pupa?
There are a few generic and impressionist versions of flies that imitate caddisfly
pupae. These sometimes work okay and sometimes they don't look enough like the
real ones to fool the trout. It all gets down to the trout (how selective they are) and
the type of water (how well they can see the fly) At "Perfect Fly" we have specific
imitations of all the major caddisfly pupae. Here is a thumbnail picture of a Great
Autumn Brown Sedge caddisfly pupa that hatches in the Fall in the
Smokies.                                                                        Click on Image

5. How Do I fish a caddisfly pupa imitation?
You imitate the behavior of the particular kind of caddisfly. If it hatches on the
surface in the water, you allow your fly to rise up from the bottom to the surface like
the real caddisfly pupae. I don't want to get into presentation methods yet, but you
do this using the current on the swing most of the time. If you are imitating one that
crawls out of the water to hatch, you would bring the fly along the bottom all the way
to the bank.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh