Providence – attack of the killer caddis!

I like to invent things and often find the best time for that kind of thinking is when fishing. It’s just so relaxing letting the day slip away from you, planning tomorrow, letting the hard drive slowly reboot.  My best ideas come and all the bad stuff evaporates.  Unfortunately, by the time I get home I’m so relaxed (tired) I quickly fall asleep – and by the time I wake up it’s like most of my dreams – the great ideas and inventions have mostly gone.

Not so my invention (out of mother necessity) over the last few nights fishing at Providence.  They started slowly but then as the wind died they came on more and more until I was covered in them, up my nose, in my ears, down my shirt and of course in my mouth – hence the patent caddis-mouth-sieve.  Seriously though, I’ve never seen as many caddis. Clouds of the little fellas so I thought I’d refresh my knowledge.

Firstly, where I grew up in Cornwall we called them sedge.  Second, they’re not moths even though I often call them moths, they’re actually a fly, just very closely related to moths – as close as you can get apparently without actually being one.

There lifecycle is four stages.  Egg, larva, pupa and adult.  In reverse, what we see on the lakeside are adults either mating in swarms on the lake edge, or laying their eggs (which they do skating across the surface). We can see the adults emerging from their pupa form, drying their wings for a minute or two before taking off. Or we see the tiny skinny sticks (up to 2 cm long) swimming along with the current.  The sticks are homes to the caddis larvae or grub, a tiny creamy brown or green grub surrounded by its home made of small particles of sand or leaves.  The trout love to eat every stage but most often are taken on stick caddis patterns because they’re there most of the time.

If you’re fishing an emerging pupa pattern then use the surface film; it’s not quite dry fly fishing –  you want the fly in the surface film, not on it, with a greased up leader to keep it there, and you can use a slow retrieve. But my favourite is just the plain old stick caddis tied on a size 12 or 14 long shank hook – Hayes Stick Caddis with a green grub lightly singed or marked with a black marker right on the end – fished static, moved then paused – BANG!

Last thing. I ran the bug net through the water near the bank at Providence and found all sorts of goodies.  At far left is one of the caddis grubs I took out of its stick.  If anyone knows what the curly hard casings (above and below the fly) are let me know please.  Tight Tippets!