Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. Slate Drakes
2. Little Yellow Stoneflies (Summer Stones)
3. Needle Stoneflies
4. Mahogany Duns
5. Little Yellow Quills
Most available - Other types of food:
6. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
7. Inch Worms
Fly Fishing School - October Caddis Confusion
Each year, about this same time, anglers that fish the streams of the Smokies begin
to talk of Fall Caddis. Some call them October Caddis. Some anglers will refer to
them as Orange Caddis. Everyone seems to have a slightly different name for a big
caddisfly that begins to show up about the first of October.
Many that refer to this caddisfly as if they are very familiar with it have actually never
seen one. They have just heard or read that October Caddis show up at this time of
the year and instantly, they start thinking about orange fly colors. Anglers that have
actually seen one of the caddisflies that's being referred to are usually those who
have spent some time camping in the backcountry.
First of all, the caddisfly that begins to hatch in fairly low quantities around the
beginning of Fall are in the Limnephillidae family of caddisflies and the Pycnopsyche
genus. There are three species that are almost identical. Just for those that want to
know, these are the Pycnopsyche guttifer, Pycnopsyche guttifer and Pycnopsyche
scabripennis. These are all eastern and mid-western stream insects. The proper
common name for these species is the Great Brown Autumn Sedge. They are
found in wooded streams and make their cases out of wood. These are what most
Smoky Mountain anglers call October Caddis, Fall Caddis and Orange Caddis. You
certainly can't say anyone of the common names is wrong because common names
don't really identify any insect. October Caddis is fine. They do hatch in October. Fall
Caddis is fine. They do hatch in the Fall. Orange Caddis is a stretch. They are
more of a cinnamon or cinnamon brown color than orange. They are called Orange
Caddis because some of the fly companies that sell flies to fly shops confuse the
western October Caddis with those that hatch in the East. Apparently, they don't
know the difference.
The Giant Orange Sedge is found in western trout streams. These are species of
the Discosmoecus genus of the Limnephillidae Family of Caddisflies. Fly companies,
fly shops and fly anglers confuse them with the Great Brown Autumn Sedges found in
the east. They are also called October Caddis. They do have orange bodies.
The main difference in the two genera (groups) of caddisflies is that the Great
Autumn Sedges have wooden cases and the Giant Orange Sedges have cases
mostly made of small stones or rocks. The adults are about the same size as the
Great Autumn Browns of the east. Both are large caddisflies that look much like
moths and range from a hook size 6 to a 12. Most of our Great Autumn Brown
Sedges are a hook size 10.
Now that we are hopefully straight on the different two genera of caddisflies, let me
go over some important points about the ones we have in the Smokies.
These caddisflies build large cases out of sticks. I doubt that trout eat the cases but
they may. Some think they build them like they do to prevent fish from eating them.
These caddisflies live in fast moving, clear mountain water usually where there are a
lot of woods. They can hatch from the first of September up North, to the end of
October in the South.
The pupa of these caddisflies, or sedges if you prefer, often crawl out of the water on
the banks and rocks to shed their larva shuck and emerge into an adult. We don't
think trout eat them after them become adults until the females lay their eggs. For
that reason, we think the Pupa stage of the hatch is the most important stage to
These caddisflies hatch during the night but can start in the late afternoons and still
be hatching at daylight. We suggest that you fish the "Perfect Fly" Pupa imitation late
in the day. On cloudy, rainy days, start fishing the pupa fly earlier in the day.
It is slightly an orangey, pumpkin colored fly but cinnamon would describe the color of
the wings much better. Again, anglers confuse them with the western species
because of the stupid commercial fly companies that don't know the difference. They
are very easy to spot. They look like large moths in the air flying.
The adult female deposits her eggs during the night. They have been spotted
depositing them during the late afternoons and even during the early mornings.
This is most likely to occur on heavy overcast or rainy days.
Some think this caddisfly crawls down to the water edge and into the water to deposit
their eggs. Others say the dive into the water and deposit them on the bottom. Yet
others say they have spotted them depositing their eggs on the surface of the water.
We have seen them deposit their eggs on the surface but they may do otherwise,
depending on the species.
We suggest you fish the adult imitation late in the day, just prior to dark and early in
the morning before sunrise. Cast our "Perfect Fly" Adult near the banks along the
stream, in moderate to slow moving water, not the fast water of the runs and riffles.
This will let you imitate those that are crawling in the water near the banks.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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Perfect Fly Great Autumn Brown Sedge Pupa
Angie holding a Great Autumn Brown Sedge adult
Great Autumn Brown Sedge we caught on the Little River
Great Autumn Brown Sedge case