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The Caddis Pupa

The Caddis Pupa
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Who doesn’t love a caddis fly hatch?  Those easy to spot insects, that love sunny afternoons, bring a feeling of joy to the hearts of the fly fisher.  Boxes are stocked full of multiple sizes and colors of Elk Hair Caddis, Goddard Caddis, EZ Caddis, Slow Water Caddis, and every other caddis pattern.  The sizes, the colors, the patterns, and those characteristic hard strikes, with that oh so satisfying splash and ensuing fight.
- Caddis often make cases as they develop from larva to pupa.  (photo:
But before the hatch even starts, trout have had plenty of time to gorge on Caddis.  The pupa can spend an inordinate amount of time drifting and swimming to find the right emerging conditions.  Repeatedly ascending and descending the water column, seemingly eager to sacrifice themselves to indulgent trout.  To be clear not all caddis pupa swim and drift before emerging.  The infamous October Caddis and others crawl out and emerge on rocks. 
- This pupa has wing pads and is ready to make its emergence. (photo:
But if you fishing a riffly well oxygenated stretch of water you can bet some caddis pupa will be present and so will the trout.  If there is no hatch try weighting your line down deep; a good early morning technique.  Using a dead or wet fly swing; both are particularly effective.  With many takes coming on the swing itself.
- This pupa is what we want our patterns to look like!  (photo:
As the hatches begin you can double up with an Emergent Sparkle Pupa using a Stimulator or Elk Hair Caddis on top, again allowing the emerger to swing.  Many times the fish will follow the pattern until it raises during the swinging motion.  Be careful not to pull the fly out of the fish’s mouth on the set.  Instead set with a parallel motion instead of a lifting one, a mistake that seems to have to be made once a fishing trip; on the biggest fish of the day of course.