Hatches Made Easy:
Spotted Sedges (Cinnamon Caddis) (Ceratopsyche sp) - Larvae
The Spotted Sedges, or Cinnamon Caddisflies, whichever common name you
prefer, are found to some extent in most of the streams in the Smoky Mountains
National Park. They are only plentiful in three streams. Abrams Creek has a big
population. Cataloochee and Hazel Creeks have decent populations of them.
On just about any other trout stream in the nation the Ceratopsyche, and the
very similiar Hydropsyche species, would represent the majority of the
caddisflies in the stream. Often they would represent the majority of the food
available for trout to eat in the stream. These caddisflies need plankton to
survive and the acidic, freestone streams of the Smokies just do not have a lot
To make this simple for you, consider this. If you find the rocks in the stream you
are fishing are slick and you have trouble wading without slipping down, you can
be assured that there will be a good population of net-spinning caddisflies in the
stream. Most of these net-spinners will be Ceratopsyche species.
Since they are not plentiful throughout the park, I will limit the time and
importance I place on these. Also, note that I am only suggesting that you imitate
these species when you find a decent size hatch. Keep in mind that where
they are plentiful, they are very important. The different species hatch at
different times from about the middle of April until the middle of July.
For those that are interested, these are the species listed for the park.
Note that there are also some Hydropsyche species in the park. We have just
not found them in plentiful quantities anywhere. These are almost identical in
appearance and behavior to the Ceratopsyche species, so if you do encounter
them, the imitations and the methods of fishing you are using for the
Ceratopshche species will work well for them. I will not be doing a separate
article on the Hydropsyche species (and many other caddisfly species) because
they are not plentiful.
The larvae build tiny nets on rocks that catch their food in the current. They look
similar to a parachute. Sometimes the larvae are in a shelter they have built
near the end of the net and sometimes they are strung out from their net a few
inches on a silk line. They are very much available for the trout to eat.
Present the larva imitation with a weight attached a few inches above the fly in
the riffles. An up and across presentation works best. Allow the fly to swing
downstream near the bottom.
The pupae swim to the surface to hatch. They are very available for the trout to
eat at that time. This is the best time to imitate the Spotted Sedges also called
Cinnamon caddis. The problem is being able to determine when a hatch is
underway. Often the caddisflies are emerging at the same time they are
depositing their eggs. If not, you will probably not notice the hatch or see the fish
feeding on them. Trout eat them as they swim (aided by air bubbles) to the
surface. Occasionally the trout will jump out of the water eating the pupae. The
hatch usually happens in the late afternoon but later in the year, it may not
occur until dusk.
Imitations of the pupae should be presented in the same manner as the larva
imitation except that you would not weight the fly as much. If it is tied with any
built-in weight, you wouldn't add any weight to the leader or tippet. You want the
fly to swing downstream near the bottom and then rise to the surface. Just stop
the swing of the rod when the fly is downstream from your position. If you
determine that they are emerging in a particular area of the riffles then you
would want your fly to end up rising to the surface in that same area.
Coming Up Next:
Spotted Sedges (Cinnamon Caddis) - Adults and Fly Pattern Colors
Copyright 2008 James Marsh
This is one of many
larvae found on this
rock in Abrams Creek.
You cannot see the tiny
nets. When you pick a
rock up out of the
current the nets
collapse and are very
difficult to see. You
wouldn't notice them
unless you knew they
was suppose to be