Sierra Nevada Locals

Pay close attention to these groups of insects when fly fishing in the Sierra Nevada.


The Gospel on Caddisflies

Caddisflies by Gary LaFontaineIf you fly fish for trout in the West, could Gary LaFontaine's Caddisflies be the most important bug book to read?


Caddisflies (Trichoptera) of the Sierra Nevada

Adult Caddisfly

The caddisflies are a large and diverse group of aquatic insects, and species are found in nearly all freshwater habitats. At present, 308 species are known in the state of California; 199 of these are present in the Sierra Nevada, and 37 are endemic to the Sierra (Morse 1993; N. A. Erman 1996). The largest family of caddisflies found in California is Limnephilidae with 63 species and the second largest is Rhyacophilidae with 59 species. These also happen to be the largest and second largest families found in the Sierra Nevada.

Glossosoma Caddis

Glossosoma Emergence

Emergence periods for these caddis often extend over a four to eight week period. The specific time of year depends on the species and water conditions (see hatch table below). In the West, with its diverse populations, a near continuous chain of hatches occurs from March through November. A few species have a bimodal emergence, or two hatches per season, with peaks in the spring and fall. Fishing success depends on timing and observation, not on being able to identify the specific species occurring in your streams. Observation is the biggest factor.

Glossoma Hatch Table

Caddis Species Winter Months Spring Months Summer Months Fall Months
glossoma califica April, May, June
glossoma alascense April, May, June July
glossoma traviatum March April, May, June July
glossoma velona February, March April August
glossoma penitum January, February, March April, May July, August, September October

Imitations for Glossoma

Pattern Name Color Hook Size Thumbnail Image
BH Bird's Nest Green Body # 16
Bird's Nest
Hare's Ear Nymph Tan, Brown Body # 16
Hare's Ear Nymph
LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa Green Body # 14
LaFontaine Sparkle Pupa
Sparkle Pupa Green Body / Tan, Brown Shroud # 16
Sparkle Pupa
Elk Hair Caddis Tan Body # 16
Elk Hair Caddis