12/05/10
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
4.    Midges


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Part Four - Caddisflies and Midge Pupae
New Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trout Food Series

In part one of this series, we covered the types of mayfly and stonefly nymphs. Part
two had to do with why you need to know the different types of mayfly and stonefly
nymphs. Part three covered the basic types of caddisfly larvae. There are many
different species of midges but there is little difference in the flies you should use to
imitate them or the way you imitate their behavior. In summary, the first three parts
of this series covered the larvae stages of the most important aquatic insects -
mayflies, caddisflies, stoneflies and midges.

Next, we will cover the second stage of life of those insects that undergo full  
metamorphosis - caddisflies and midges. Remember, the stoneflies and mayflies
skip this stage of life. Their nymphs have wing pads and they change directly from a
nymph (larval stage) to an adult fly.

Caddisfly pupae;
The image to your right, thanks to
Jason at Troutnut.com, is a great
picture of a Green Sedge larva.
Caddisflies are pupae when they
make the rather drastic
transformation from the worm like
larva to the pupa that has wing
pads, antennae, etc. They have to
have a place to make this trans-
formation or to pupate. This can be
their case or a special cocoon.
When pupation is complete and the
insect starts to emerge, scientist call
the insect a pharate adult; however,
anglers don't use that phrase and
really don't need to use it.  We
don't imitate what's in the inside of
the cocoon or case. We imitate the
pharate adult, or the insect when it's
ready to emerge. In other words,
our pupae fly patterns, imitate
pharate adults to be technically
correct. The pharate adult is really
just a fully grown adult caddisfly but
it has a skin over it, or covering that surrounds it and keeps its wings enclosed. It's a
fully-formed adult caddisfly with a layer of exoskeleton surrounding it and restricting
its wings. When the exoskeleton or "skin" comes off of what we call the pupa, its
wings spread out and if above water, it can soon fly.

The importance of using imitations of the caddisfly pupae, is that you are imitating a
stage of the hatch when trout feed on the caddisfly with ease. It depends on the
species of caddisfly, but those that emerge in the stream, can easily be picked off
by trout when they are emerging. They do not have a way to escape until they are a
fully grown fly, capable of departing the water. In other words, you can catch a lot of
trout very quickly during a caddisfly hatch if you can recognize the hatch and know
how to imitate the emergence of the particular species of caddisfly.

This the most overlooked, yet easy to imitate activity of all aquatic insects that trout
feed on. It's almost a completely overlooked method of fly fishing in the Smokies.
Far more trout can be caught during this stage of a caddisfly hatch, again assuming
the species of caddisfly hatches in the stream (some don't), than during the egg
laying activity. There are
two reasons for this.

One is the overall lack of knowledge or understanding of caddisflies. It's
just a fact that most anglers know very little about caddisflies. The other reason is
that anglers
have a huge problem determining the stage of a caddisfly
hatch
. You cannot usually see trout that are eating caddisfly emerging pupae. You
only get flashes of the trout, and often, not even that. In some cases, the trout will
jump out of the water feeding on them but that isn't often the case. These two clues
are about it. If you don't catch the emergence of the caddisflies when it's underway,
which usually only last from one to three hours at the most, you miss the most
important stage of a caddisfly hatch. We will get into this in much greater detail
when we get into the different species of caddisflies that exist in the park. Now, lets
look at the midge pupae.

Midge pupae are very similar to caddisfly pupae but they all look almost identical
to each other except for their size and color. As already mentioned, there's little
reason to break the midge (Dipthera) down into different genera and species. In
moving water that's cold enough for trout to survive, there are about 14 different
groups of midges. The most common one, and the one we need to be concerned
with, is the Chironomidae family. Within this family there are over 200 different
genera and thousands of species. There are also several other two-winged flies in
this Super family such as  Simuliidae, or Black Flies, just to name one. There are
also many other groups (genera) of midges that live in stillwater lakes and ponds. I'll
put it this way. If you need to break down the species of Chironomidae for purposes
of matching the insects with a fly, you will need a microscope and the trout will also
need one to tell the difference in the flies. Also, when you imitate the behavior of
emerging midges, you don't need to over complicate it They all emerge very
similarly.

Copyright 2010 James Marsh
This DVD teaches you how to
identify all of the different
stoneflies and how to imitate
their behavior with a fly. It has
video of all of the stoneflies
that are important to anglers
fly fishing for trout. The
program, which took several
years to produce, was
recorded on different streams
from coast to coast.