Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives (Little BWOs)
2. Mahogany Duns
3. Little Yellow Quills (Heptagenia Group)
4. Little Yellow Stoneflies
5. Needle Stoneflies
6. Slate Drakes
7. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
9. Ants (includes Flying Ants)
Great Brown Autumn Sedge - Pupa
Before I get into how to fish imitations of the Great Brown Autumn Sage Pupa, let me
explain what a pupa is for those who may not know.
Caddisflies undergo complete metamorphosis. This means that unlike mayflies, for
example, they don't emerge directly from a nymph to a dun, which is incomplete
metamorphosis. Caddisflies change from their larval (nymphal) stage of life into a
pupa and then emerge into an adult. In other words, they turn into pupae to hatch.
They do this by either sealing the ends of their existing larva case, or by building a
pupal case if they don't have one. Whenever you find a sealed caddis case, it will be
emerging into a fly in the near future. To emerge, they must shed their pupal case.
During the time caddisflies are sheding their pupal cases (all species that do so in the
water) they are very prone to being eaten by trout.
At first, these pupae tend to stay near the bottom, sometimes drifting along the
bottom, depending on the species of caddisfly. At some point they must either crawl
out of the water to emerge (some caddisflies), or swim to the surface and emerge.
Those that swim to the surface to emerge (most caddiflies including the Great Brown
Autumn Sedge) do so using their legs to some extent, but more so using a breast
stroke type of motion. They don't just pop out of the surface skim of water and fly
away. They usually drift for a few feet just barely under the surface while they shed
their pupal skin. At times the pupa's back is actually level with the surface. During the
time they are shedding the thin membrane layer of skin that encases the pupa, they
are sitting ducks, so to speak. The trout can easily pick them off. They eat them
anywhere from the bottom to the surface and anytime they are drifting helplessly just
under the surface. As soon as they get their legs, wings and body out of the pupal
skin, they fly away. This is the activity that you want to imitate. You want your fly (pupa
imitation) to move from the bottom to the surface and drift in the skim for a few
The eggs of these caddisflies hatch in the Fall. The larvae spend the Winter and
Spring feeding and growing. They eat decaying leaves and that's why they are
plentiful in heavily wooded streams. When the food is gone, they seal off their cases
and go into a period of inactivity. They pupate in the late Summer, emerge into grown
adult flies, mate, and the females lay their eggs to start the cycle over again.
The pupae emerge mostly during the evenings. The adults fly around mostly during
the night. When the sky is clear and cloudless, the emerging activity occurs mostly
after sunset, or after the stream become shaded from the sun. That's when you want
to imitate the pupae. If it's cloudy, the emergence takes place earlier, before sunset.
On cloudy, rainy days you may want to start fishing the pupa imitation around 5:00 PM.
By the way, since I failed to mention it yesterday, and for those that want to know, the
Pycnopsyche guttifer is the species most common in Great Smoky Mountains National
You fish this fly very differently from the general method that most anglers use to fish
the Smokies. You fish it down and across. You swing the fly like the old wet fly but with
some difference. You want the fly to swim from the bottom of the stream up to the
surface and then drift in the surface just under the skim. You may need to cast slightly
up and across to have time to get the fly down to the bottom. You can add some
weight a few inches above the fly, but you don't want to add so much that the fly won't
surface in the current when it swings downstream.
These caddisflies usually emerger to fly away near the ends of the runs and riffles in
the slower, calmer water. Cast the fly up and across, straight across, or slightly down
and across, such that it has time to reach the bottom before it's downstream very far.
You should mend the line once or twice to help get it down to the bottom. When it's on
the bottom, hold the rod up slightly and let the fly swing around downstream of your
position. When the fly line is extended fully out downstream, the current will cause the
fly to come back up to the surface. Let it sit a few seconds before making another
presentation. After a couple of cast, take a step or two downstream and repeat the
same thing. You will feel the trout take the fly. The line should always be tight enough
for you to have a direct contact with the fly. Most of the time, they take the fly when it
just reaches the surface, but they can take it anytime it's drifting.
Perfect Fly Great Brown Autumn Sedge Pupa
Copyright 2011 James Marsh