April Fly Salon: Cased caddis

riseform

Active Member
#1
I'm embarrassed to admit I had no idea what the fly salon was about when I posted some March brown pics last month. I had to go back a few months to get the concept, but here goes.

Somehow, I've dedicated a row of my caddis fly box to cased caddis patterns I've tied over the years after being inspired by various readings. I've never caught a fish on a cased pattern and rarely put one on the end of my line.

With the Mother's Day hatch coming up next month, I figured now would be as good a time as any to roll a plump Brachycentrus cased caddis pattern down a riffle. I may even lighten the tippet with a white grease pen to mimic its anchoring thread.

Here's a not so plump pattern I tied long ago to start things off. Looking forward to seeing any cased patterns others have tied.

 
#3
I'm more curious about how well they work. I've tried them at various times and never seem to have much luck with them. Do some of you all find them effective?

Nice looking pattern, riseform.
 

riseform

Active Member
#5
NIce ties guys...but seriously?? Only two people with cased caddis patterns in their box?

For years, I've toyed with promoting a cased caddis swap. Glad I haven't put it out there, it'd rank right up there with participation in my inverted midge and crane fly swaps.:confused:

Anyone who has nymphed has seen countless cased caddis (usually the Brachycentrus wooden/plant cased ones) on the end of their hook after bouncing along the bottom. You know they're down there in the feeding zone!

Here's some inspiration in hopes of seeing more patterns (Oct caddis in this case (pardon the pun))



 
#8
Over the years I have used a whole bunch of different cased caddis patterns. At one point, I even made them with the real material - sand, tiny gravel, sticks, and glue. I looked in my fly box and this is the pattern I have been using for the last five years or so particularly on the Elwha River. Simple variegated chennile with wire rib and dubbed head. It works for me. DSC01108.jpeg
Jack
 
#9
2 color combos, pretty heavily weighted. Very simple yet effective.
Over the years I have used a whole bunch of different cased caddis patterns. At one point, I even made them with the real material - sand, tiny gravel, sticks, and glue. I looked in my fly box and this is the pattern I have been using for the last five years or so particularly on the Elwha River. Simple variegated chennile with wire rib and dubbed head. It works for me. (For some reason the gray dubbing shows up in the photo as purple.??)
Jack
View attachment 26792
Very nice simple ties.
 
#10
Over the years I have used a whole bunch of different cased caddis patterns. At one point, I even made them with the real material - sand, tiny gravel, sticks, and glue. I looked in my fly box and this is the pattern I have been using for the last five years or so particularly on the Elwha River. Simple variegated chennile with wire rib and dubbed head. It works for me. View attachment 26797
Jack
I didn't even notice the first 5 times I look at your picture as I was looking at the flies too intently, but I like how you framed the flies with all of the materials you used to make them.
 
#11
I didn't even notice the first 5 times I look at your picture as I was looking at the flies too intently, but I like how you framed the flies with all of the materials you used to make them.
Gary, you didn't miss anything in the photo. I replaced the first photo. For some reason, the colors in the first photo were off.
Sorry.
Jack
 
#12
Riseform,
You have gotten my memory archives churning. As a youngster, I recall that the cased caddis was not only the first fly I learned about for trout fishing but it was the one that fascinated me most. Imagine, a fly that builds its own house from bits of sand, gravel, and sticks. "Amazing" I thought at the time and still do. I have seen some cases which are quite large and elaborate.
"McMansion" caddis!
Jack
 
#14
James -

I've tied this a couple different ways, but haven't tied any in several years, since I don't fish them often. The simplest tie, which is the one in that image, is done with a chenille that is mostly olive, with some red in it, and a caddis green dubbed collar. I've also tried to make my own colorful case using rabbit dubbing with bits of colored crystal flash mixed in it. It was a little hard to work with, so I went with the chenille.

Dick
 

riseform

Active Member
#15
Riseform,
You have gotten my memory archives churning. As a youngster, I recall that the cased caddis was not only the first fly I learned about for trout fishing but it was the one that fascinated me most. Imagine, a fly that builds its own house from bits of sand, gravel, and sticks. "Amazing" I thought at the time and still do. I have seen some cases which are quite large and elaborate.
"McMansion" caddis!
Jack
I agree they are amazing little beavers of the insect world. As stated in the first post, I have tied them but never fished them much. I think I just assumed fish wouldn't really want to eat a clump of rocks or sticks for a slight morsel inside. But then, they don't shell crayfish before eating them either (though I think the freshly molted ones are most desirable).

Has anyone ever tried imitating the anchoring thread? Here's an interesting read and technique from Ralph Cutter's website:
Brachycentrus gather much of their food by holding their legs outspread and filtering bits of debris from the current. These larvae are often found in tremendous numbers wafting amid clumps of filamentous algae with their second and third legs spread wide. They are also commonly found atop rocks with one lip of their house glued to the rock.
Thread spinning is well known among Brachycentrus. This thread is reportedly used as an anchor while the caddis rappels downstream, but I feel they use the thread more as a device to lower themselves into prime food collecting currents. On an eastern Sierra stream near June Lake I have observed several thousand Brachycentrus feeding while dangling by their silken threads. They would rappel into the confluence of two currents and while being buffeted about, would spread their second and third legs wide to gather drifting particles. After some amount of time (minutes to hours) these larvae would jug back up the threads to the point of attachment. I never once saw them rappel to a downstream perch.
The threads are strikingly visible and trout will swim through the tangle of threads with mouths wide open like baleen whales to inhale the hapless nymphs. The shiny thread is enough of a trigger that savvy anglers will brighten their tippet with white grease pen (Mean Streak brand) or typewriter correcting tape when fishing a Brachycentrus imitation.
As far as imitating the larvae in its log cabin case, I’ve never seen any specific imitation nor is one needed. A pheasant tail nymph seems to work just fine. The PT’s concentrically wrapped body that mildly flares to an abdomen with a few scraggly legs is close enough. Lighten a foot or so of tippet with Mean Streak grease pen then add a hefty split shot just proximal to the rod of the marked line.
Flip the fly across and upstream and allow the shot to hit bottom so the nymph dangles downstream on the taught white line.
 

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