What Fish Eat

Aquatic insects make up the majority of a fish's diet. The four key insect orders (listed first and not including Streamers or Terrestrials) that emerge from streams and lakes are:


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?


According to Mike Lawson

Mike Lawson gave a presentation about fly fishing spring creeks in my area. His experience has shown that emerger and cripple caddis patterns tend to out fish adult patterns in spring creeks - supporting observations I've read. Essentially, caddis emerge quickly and do not linger on the water's surface like mayflies. Therefore, the only adults easily available to trout during the hatch are pupae and cripples. Trout focus on the cripples since they are easy prey.



October Caddis or Giant Orange Sedge

Interestly, the caddisfiles larve will build its own home. Related to butterflies and moths, the larve have silk glands in their lower lip. The larve once inside their home have advantages for survival including camouflage, extra protection, and getting food. When larvae is completely developed, it builds a cocoon in the water to protect the pupa. Once sealed in the cocoon, mature caddisfly larvae lie still for several weeks as prepupae. The body becomes shorter and stouter during this stage of development.

Free living or little green Caddisflies The EcoAngler looks at these little Green Caddis and how you can fish them to abduct trout from fast moving river throughout North America.

Pupa to Adult Caddisfly

Eventually the mature lavra sheds its skin and the pupa emerges. The pupae wiggle their bodies and set up a current of water through the cocoon. After cutting a hole in the cocoon, caddisfly pupae float to the water surface by wiggling their bodies. After adult caddisflies emerge from the pupae, they fly to nearby vegetation where they spend most of their time. Most adult caddisflies fly only at night, or at dawn or dusk.

Adult Caddisfly

Caddisfly - Larva

Pattern Name Color Hook Size Thumbnail Image
Sparkle Larva Olive Green Body # 16
Sparkle Larva
Zug Bug Dark Green Body # 16
Zug Bug

Caddisfly - Pupa

Pattern Name Color Hook Size Thumbnail Image
Beaded Caddis Poopah Cinnamon Body # 14
Caddis Poopah
BH Bird's Nest Green Body # 16
Bird's Nest
CDC Caddis Emerger Dark Olive Body # 16
CDC Caddis Emerger
LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa Green Body # 14
LaFontaine Sparkle Pupa
Sparkle Pupa Green Body / Tan, Brown Shroud # 16
Sparkle Pupa
Spotlight Caddis Emerger Olive Body # 16
Spotlight Caddis Emerger
Z Wing Caddis Olive Body # 14
Mercer's Z Wing Caddis

Caddisfly - Adult

Pattern Name Color Hook Size Thumbnail Image
Elk Hair Caddis Tan Body # 16
Elk Hair Caddis
October Caddis Orange Body # 8
October Caddis
X-Caddis "Cripple Caddis" Tan Body # 16
Cripple Caddis

Photo of October Caddisfly by P. Michael Carl © The Ecological Angler