FOSAF NEWS - FOSAF fly of the month: Stick Caddisfly by Wayne Stegen

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Adult Limnephalus auricula

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Actual live stick caddis

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Evidence of how locked in trout become

 

In stillwaters, we have used stick caddis flies with great success for many years. They form a large part of a trout’s diet. We know this from drawing the stomach contents from trout using a spoon or a syringe. The caddis content in the stomach is bright green worms and a large amount of weed or debris.

In the water, for the untrained eye, stick caddis appear to be debris or weed drifting in the current. Taking a careful look, one will see that the debris moves around slowly at an angle of around 45 degrees, has a green (dark, light or chartreuse) head and tiny legs pointing out the front.

Over the past few months I have had little success with our standard patterns which has led me to the evolution of our standard stick caddis pattern. The wonderful thing about fly tying is that there are new materials at our disposal regularly. My most recent find is the Uni-Mohair, which I believe is exactly what I needed to improve the pattern.

For context according to Wikipedia, Caddisfly, or order Trichoptera are a group of insects with aquatic larvae and terrestrial adults. There are around 14 500 described species. This specific caddis, is one of thirty families of caddis fly, of the suborder Integripalpia. They construct casings within which they move around looking for food.
Materials 
Hook: Grip 13021BL
Thread: Ultra thread Flouro Chartreuse 
Body material: Uni-Mohair Olive

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Dress the hook with a corded thread (cord the thread by spinning the bobbin clockwise). This provides a solid base on which the material can grip.

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Tie in the Mohair leaving a small tail of 3-5 mm. Take your thread up to the eye of the fly.
Using hackle pliers grip the end of the Mohair so you don’t handle the loose hair around the rope. Using touching wraps, wrap the mohair forward while gently palmering the loose hair backward so as not to trap too much of it. 
Tie the rope in 2-3 mm from the eye and whip finish it in to secure.
Build up a small worm like head behind the eye and attempt to trap a few straggle hairs so they face forward (these will be legs)

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Whip finish and apply head cement

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Final Fly

How to fish the fly:
Using a floating line with whatever length leader you are used to fishing. The tippet should be minimum 3X but the clarity of the water dictates whether or not you should fish thinner, i.e. down to 5X
The fly is un-weighted as we want to fish it in the top water column, from just below the surface to a couple feet down
Preferably fish the fly in a breeze to obtain a natural bob and wash created by the swell.
Cast up and across the wind line and apply an inch figure of eight retrieve. Every now and then a small rod twitch can induce a take when a suspecting fish is not convinced. The retrieve should be fished literally until the fly is parallel to the bank once past you. 
Takes are sometimes subtle, but mostly pretty violent. If you are fishing a light tippet ensure you pointing your rod a few degrees away from where the fly is, to give you a few extra micro seconds to react.
Where to fish the fly: 
Preferably near some sort of weed structure. This is what they use to build their cases and also what they feed on.
What to look out for: 
Very often you will see a bulge, a pancake or a swirl created by a fish feeding below the surface where water is pushed upward. This is a giveaway that the fish are feeding and may be feeding on stick caddis.
It’s a finesse form of fishing but produces unreal results.

Be patient and tight lines.

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