Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3. Great Autumn Brown Caddisfly
Holiday Gift Guide - Somebody You Know Wants This DVD. It may even
Click Here For The Details of What is Included In This DVD
Part Three - Caddisfly and Midge Larvae
New Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trout Food Series
So far we have covered the different types of mayfly and stonefly nymphs. The
nymph is a name for the larva stage of the mayfly and stonefly, but in the case of
caddisflies and midges the larva, in the larval stage of life, is just commonly called
the larva. There's a big difference in the life cycle of stoneflies-mayflies and the life
cycle of caddisflies-midges. I am avoiding all the complication I can, but you do need
to know that stoneflies and /mayflies have incomplete metamorphosis. They do
not possess a pupal stage. Caddisflies and midges undergo complete
metamorphosis. They have a pupal stage of life. Don't get bent out of shape. You
should of learned that in the ninth grade. The mayflies and stoneflies go from a
nymph (larva stage) directly to an adult fly. The caddisflies and midges go from a
larva to a pupa and then to an adult fly. The importance of this to an angler is that
you have another opportunity to imitate the a different stage of life of a caddisfly or
midge - the pupal stage. The pupae of caddisflies and midges are very prong to be
eaten by trout, usually much more than the larva or adult The pupae are just about
completely helpless in the larval stage of life.
I'll make one other point, just to make sure you don't think I'm leaving some things
out. These four insects. mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, and midges are not all of
the aquatic insects but they are most of them that's important trout food in the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park. There are other types of aquatic insects. Water
beetles, water bugs, dragon flies, damselfies, aquatic moths, fishflies, dobsonflies,
alderflies, spongillatly flies, are most of the other aquatic insects that trout feed on.
By the way, just in case you didn't know, aquatic insects are those that are born
and spend most of their entire life in the water. Those that don't, and spend most of
their life on land are called terrestrial insects.
Now, lets get back to the subject of caddisfly and midge larvae, starting with
caddisflies. They are slightly more complicated than the midge larvae because they
come in far more varieties (that need to be imitated with a fly) than midges.
Basically caddisfliies are either cased-caddis or non-cased caddis larvae. Those
that are non-cased, basically, can be either free-living or net-spinning caddis
larvae. So, in reality, insofar as cold water trout streams are concerned, there are
three types of caddisfly larvae - cased, free-living and net-spinning.
At this point I don't really want to get off onto the different types of cases, or the
different types of free-living and net-spinning caddis larvae but with cased caddis, it
does makes a difference. Trout eat some cased-caddis and there are some they
won't eat. I should also mention that there's some disagreement among anglers
about which ones are eaten by trout and which ones are not eaten. We will get into
the different cases later because often, that is the easiest way to identify the
caddisflies. Trout will eat any and all of the free-living caddisfly larvae. They will also
eat any and all of the net-spinning larvae.
The free-living larvae are rather simple creatures that look like little stocky, short
worms. They are usually exposed to trout but they can crawl down in between rocks
and hide in other places within the streams of the Smokies.
The net-spinners are a fascinating little creatures. These caddisfly larvae build silk
nets from chemicals within their bodies to catch their food. Keep in mind, the
average size of one of these nets is probably not as large as the end of your little
finger..They also build a temporary shelter, or small tent like shelter, usually with
one end open and one end closed to stay inside most of the time. However, they
can come out of the shelter on a silk line formed from chemicals within their bodies.
They use the line to extend downstream in the current a few inches to their net to
eat the food they catch. When they finish eating, they retrieve their bodies back in
the shelter on the line.
The cased-caddis are also fascinating in respect to the precision and construction
abilities they use to build the cases they live in. They leave at least one end open
where they can stick their heads and forelegs out and move around in the stream.
This particular species on your left from Little River, is one of the lousy builders.
They just glue sticks together and live in a rather rustic home. It (the one on your
left) is thought to be made the way it is to prevent trout from eating it, case and all.
They can be two to three inches long. Some of them, like the chimney case caddis
(Little Black Caddis) shown on your right, are superb architects and builders. These
are built of square logs, cut and glued together precisely, much better than the
Gatlinburg log cabin Angie and I lived in for three years. That's the larva's head and
front legs sticking out of the case.
Copyright 2010 James Marsh
This DVD teaches you how to
identify all the important
species of mayflies that exist
in trout streams from coast to
coast. It tells you how to
determine the stage of the
hatch, how to match the
insect with a fly, and how to
imitate its behavior. This
video took several hundred
hours over a period of about
ten years to produce.
This one is the rock worm, a common name
for the larva of a Green Sedge. By the way,
sedge is just another name for a caddisfly.
Notice it looks very similar to the
net-spinner caddisfly larvae below. This is a
poor picture but all I could find at the time.
The the net-spinner can be differentiated
from the free-living caddis by the plate
directly behind its head. They only have
one plate. The net-spinners all have three
plates in line behind their heads..
Again, its difficult to see in this lousy image but the
net-spinners all have three dark colored plates
behind their heads. These caddisflies represent
about 70 percent of all caddisflies in trout waters.
However, in the Smokies, they are not that plentiful.
The Smokies have more cased caddis than either
the free-living or the net-spinners. If you would like
to see some of the non-cased caddis, just observe
the bottom of a rock from Abrams Creek. The little
nets will collapse and be difficult to spot but the
larvae will be there.