Hatches Made Easy:

LIttle Black Caddisflies
2/1/08

Fishing the Egg-Laying Little Black Caddisflies

Although trout may be taken on dry fly adult imitations intended to imitate the
adults on the surface of the water after they emerge, the egg-laying process
offers an even better opportunity. The females dip their abdomens in the water
during flight to release their eggs. Casting a dry fly caddis imitation to trout
feeding on egg laying adults may or may not work depending on the conditions
of the water, but it usually does.
You may try skittering the fly across the surface to imitate egg layers when you
observe this activity occurring. This is more difficult to do than is appears. You
may turn off more trout than you fool. If the water is fairly rough, I feel the dead
drift is still the best type of presentation. If it is smooth, you may have to skip the
fly on the surface of the water to fool them. Smooth water is not that common in  
the Smokies. Most of the time the surface of the water is rough enough for the
dead drift to fool them. In rough water the trout will only get a quick look at the
fly. They would have a difficult time of distinguishing the fake female caddis from
the real caddis that are skipping around depositing their eggs.
The egg-laying process takes place in the moderate sections of water where
they hatch. Often, the Brachyentridae family egg-laying female species die in
quantities sufficient to warrant fishing a spent imitation. After they die, the
currents pick them up and they end up congregated in eddies, pockets behind
boulders, pockets along the bank and the end of riffles and runs. This starts
occurring very late in the day near dark. In this case, a dead drift presentation
works best. I have even caught trout in the mornings on spent imitations of the
Little Black Caddisflies, so don't over look that possibility. After a big hatch you
will usually find some on the water in the early mornings. When you do, you
should try the spent imitation.
By the way, you should fish as late as the park's rules permit. They continue to
deposit their eggs until it is completely dark. The trout will become much easier
to catch in the low light conditions.

Fly Pattern Colors:
Larva:
The numerosus case is a square chimney case. The larvae inside are bright
green with dark brown heads and legs. Trout do eat the cases and larvae and
then extract the case.

Pupa:
The pupae have pale green to olive bodies with dark brown, almost black heads.
The wing pads are brown.

Adults:
These caddisflies normally have wings that are dark grayish brown with a dark
gray, almost black body. When the wings are folded down over the body, the
caddis appears almost black. The legs and antenna are gray.  Remember that
the males are smaller than the females by one hook size. Since the females are
a size 16, that is the hook size I recommend for the imitations.

Quite frankly, I don't like any of the flies I have listed below if these caddis are
hatching or depositing their eggs on smooth water, such as the ends of long
runs or tails of pools, etc. You will see a lot of trout turn away from them in that
case. However, you shouldn't have to worry about that much in the Smokies. We
are currently (and have been for 8 years) working  on a
Imitating Caddisflies
program as well as the "Perfect Fly" Caddis Fly Tying Program". Although we
have designed the flies, the program has not been produced.
These are some
commercially available flies that you should be able to get
by with. This does not include a larva imitation or a spent caddis imitation. I
haven't found anything worth listing for those. You will have to tie them yourself if
you want to fish them.

Coming Up Next:
Quill Gordon Mayflies

Copyright 2008 James Marsh