Caddis Larvae in the Stilly

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by mtp1032, Jul 5, 2002.

  1. mtp1032

    mtp1032 New Member

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    During my tribulations with the new spey rod on the Stilly, I couldn't help but notice the abundence of large caddis larvae (I used to call 'em periwinkles when I was growing up near Issaquah creek).

    Anyway, I wanted to ask what, if any trout fishery does the stilly have (i.e., Steelhead wannabes :BIGSMILE )?

    With all those caddis....?

    Thoughts? Experiences?

    Cheers,

    Michael
     
  2. Joe

    Joe Member

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    Please, please, please don't fish for "Steelhead wannabes" on the Stilly, or any other river.

    Joe
     
  3. Rob Blomquist

    Rob Blomquist Formerly Tight Loops

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    The Stilly as do all rivers that have steelhead, have residual steelies (call them rainbows), but I would avoid fishing for them just as others have said, you don't want to hassle any pre-migration steelies, as we want to see them come back.

    The caddis larvae in the Stilly and other rivers are there to feed the sculpins and pre-migrants and the summer-runs. Remember your caddis larvae patterns when going for summer-runs.

    Rob
     
  4. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I might be old---but I'm good.

    It's kind of hard not to catch the Steelhead wannabes when you fly fish all the rivers. Unless you hang a sign from your fly that reads, please don't hit this if your under 15". When I fish the Stilly all of my hooks are barbless, In fact when I fly fish all my hooks are barbless. Whenever I buy them,before it goes in the water I make sure the barbs are pinched down or off.

    Sorry to go off like this. But when you fish the rivers you can't control the size of the fish you catch. It would be nice to catch nothing but big fish,but that's not going to happen. Jim S.
     
  5. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    The very large cased caddis larvae are Dicosmoecus gilvipes, our most common species of the Giant October Caddis. The larvae are yellow with a dark brown head. The Dicosmoecus is unusual among the case-building caddis in that they abandon their cases (probably to build new larger cases) and can be found drifting in June and July. As you can imagine, these large, drifting caddis larvae attract quite a bit of attention, not only from smolts and resident rainbows, but the early sea-run cutthroat and, of course, summer steelhead.

    The pupae emerge anywhere from September to November and crawl/swim to rocks or logs along the edge of the river to climb out and shed the pupal integument. I floated a stretch of the N. Fk. Stilly a couple of years ago when there had apparently been a heavy hatch of October Caddis the night before. I was amazed at the numbers, every snag and rock for miles of riverbank was heavily dappled with the pale orange-pink pupal shucks. The pupae themselves are a bright orange color and I've occasionally caught sea-run cutthroat who would be so stuffed with them that they would readily regurgitate them when landed.

    I imagine that most steelhead waking patterns, if not deliberately tied to imitate them, are at least taken by steelhead as adult October Caddis. They are big (up to 30mm long) and clumsy and, on the water, create quite a commotion. Although I've never seen the adults in very great numbers (I suspect they're most active after dark), steelhead and sea-run cutthroat seem to recognize and relish them.
     
  6. mtp1032

    mtp1032 New Member

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    Preston...

    Thanks. That was just the kind of info I was looking for.

    ... And no, I don't target "steely wannabes" on the Stilly. However, as one response pointed out, it's pretty darn near impossible under some conditions. For example, just yesterday I watched a fellow fishing dry flies at Fortson. I saw him hook (and release) at least one small trout. If fishing dries for steelhead is your bag, I suspect you'll pick up some incidental fish.

    C&R and barbless hooks are the only way to go...

    Cheers,

    Michael
     

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