Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1.   Blue-winged Olives
2.   Little Black Winter Stoneflies
3.   Streamers - matching sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish
4.   Midges

Basics of Fly Fishing - Trout Food Series - Caddisflies - Part 1

We have finished the first three mayflies that hatch in the Smokies. About the same
time, you have a large hatch of caddisflies that almost everyone overlooks. You can
often catch plenty of trout fishing the Little Black Caddis hatch when the Quill
Gordons and Blue Quills are not hatching that well. Before we get to the Little Black
Caddis, we should cover some more basics about caddisflies. These are the only
articles we have done in our Basics of Fly Fishing - Trout Food Series so far. I will
list them so you can review them if necessary.
Tips on Caddisfly Larvae
Tips on Caddisfly Pupae
Tips on Caddisfly Adults
Top Tips on Caddisflies

Caddisfleis undergo complete metamorphoses. This simply means the caddisfly
starts its life as an egg; then changes to a larva; changes to a pupa; and finally
changes to an adult. Caddisflies have one more stage of life to imitate than the
mayflies and stoneflies.

Caddisfly Larvae:
The caddisfly larva comes in two basic forms - cased and uncased. To get a little
more technical, they come in five basic varieties - the
free-living caddises, net
spinners, saddle case makers, purse case makers and tube case makers.

The larvae, uncased or the cased variety, out of their cases look like worms. They
are segmented and have six legs and of course, a head.

We think trout eat the larvae of the free-living and the net-spinning caddisflies very
often. In most streams, this represents about 75 percent of all caddisflies but that
isn't true of the Smokies. The net-spinners are not that plentiful except in Abrams
Creek. They exist in all the stream in small quantities but are not all that important

Although some fly companies sell imitations of cased caddis, we don't think trout eat
that many of them, although I'm certain they eat some of the smaller cased caddis
occasionally. Some are made with large, long sticks to prevent the trout from eating
them. Such is the case with the Great Autumn Brown Sedge. Here are the different
types of caddis larvae.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh
These are the "rock worms", or Green Sedge
larvae. They are free-living caddis and exist in
all the streams in the Smokies. They are
eaten year-round by trout. They are fairly
plentiful in all streams and especially
plentiful in Abrams Creek.
These are little cased caddis,
or the "Little Short-horned
Sedges". They are species of
Glossosoma genus. They
are plentiful in the Smokies
but we don't think many cased
larvae are eaten by trout.
Notice the one out of its case
on the far left.  It is a little
These are the chimney cased
caddis, or the "Little Black
Caddis". They are plentiful in
the Smokies but we don't
think many cased larvae are
eaten by trout.  These are
American Grannoms or the
Brachycentrus species.
These are net-spinning caddis
or the Cinnamon  Sedges
Caddis larvae. They exist in all
the streams in the Smokies in
small quantities. They are very
plentiful in Abrams Creek. They
represent 70 percent of the
caddisflies nationwide.
These are large cased
caddis. They are
plentiful in the
Smokies. This is one
of the Limnephilidae
family species.