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
Basics of Fly Fishing - Trout Food Series - Caddisflies - Part 5
The thing we have learned is that they are not nearly as sensitive to a drop in water
temperature as the Quill Gordons or the Blue Quills that hatch about the same time.
It seems that once the water gets about 50 degrees, they start hatching and don't
stop until they are finished, regardless of what happens to the water. We have
caught lots of trout in the Smokies from this hatch when the Quill Gordons and Blue
Quill were hatching in a sparse manner and not producing many trout.
The Little Black Caddis emerge at the ends of the long runs and riffles, but mostly
runs. Start your fly drifting just above the point the water slows down. You have to
watch carefully to notice them hatching. They are a hook size 18 caddisfly and
those are only the females. The males are a size 20. It is usually at least a week,
but often even longer, before the first ones that have hatched begin to lay their
Notice I said "your fly" and that is because there are two ways to catch the emerging
caddisflies. One is on an imitation of the pupa, and the other is on an imitation of
the adult. When the hatch first starts, or during the time the water is still only about
50 degrees or less, they will take the pupa imitation far better than the adult. You
want to imitate the behavior of the real caddis. First, add a small split shot to the
tippet about 8 inches above the fly. You don't want to weight it down like a nymph
you are trying to fish on the bottom, just enough to help it sink faster than it
normally would. Use a very small one to start.
Standing (wading or on the bank) perpendicular to the runs below, or downstream
of the point the fast water ends, cast the pupa imitation up and across the current.
You should be about ten to twenty feet away from the run. Allow the fly to sink and
pass your position. The speed of the water should be moderate, not fast. Make
sure you are below the fast water. Allow the fly to swing all the way around the same
way you would fish a soft hackle fly. When it gets down and across and hopefully a
couple of feet or so deep, stop the tip of the rod. Let the fly rise all the way back to
the surface using the pressure of the water. When it reaches the surface, allow it to
sit there for a few seconds before making another cast. You are imitating the
natural pupae swimming to the surface to hatch. The trout will usually take the fly
anytime after it start accenting to the surface and sometimes, right in the skim.
Copyright 2010 James Marsh
This is the fly you want to
use. It is almost identical to
the Little Black Caddis
pupae. Click the image to
make it larger.