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Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Caddisfly Genus Brachycentrus (Grannoms)

This prolific genus includes the popular eastern early-season Apple Caddis and Grannom hatches. Their life cycles are ideal for the fly angler, and every stage is frequent trout prey.

Note that this species changes color dramatically after it emerges, and imitations of egg-laying adults should be a different color from imitations of emergers. Emergers have pale blonde, almost off-white wings and bright green bodies, while the egg-laying adults have light brownish gray wings and medium green bodies.

Hatching behavior

Time of day : Usually afternoon

Most Brachycentrus species have very brief, very intense emergences on which trout feed steadily. Brachycentrus americanus is an exception, as its emergence may be more spread out.

The pupae are vulnerable to trout during their lengthy surface emergence.

Egg-Laying behavior

Brachycentrus adult females land on and ride the water calmly to oviposit, so they are well-imitated with traditional tent-wing caddisfly patterns.

Larva & pupa biology

Diet: Algae, plankton

Shelter type: Tapered wood cases of rectangular cross-section

Like many caddisflies, these larvae rappel between the rocks with a white silk anchor line. In Caddisflies, LaFontaine recommends imitating it by coloring the last eighteen inches of the leader white.

Special thanks to Lloyd Gonzales, author of the excellent new book Fly-Fishing Pressured Water, for helping to sort out the Brachycentrus species and common names.

Specimens of the Caddisfly Genus Brachycentrus

3 Adults
1 Female Adult
Female Brachycentrus americanus (American Grannom) Caddisfly Adult
Size 11 mm. Prior to this photo the specimen dropped its large egg mass that was a very dark (almost black) olive sphere almost twice the diameter of the abdomen. Notice the abdomen visible through the wings is both thickened and shortened post egg drop.
1 Pupa
Brachycentrus (Grannoms) Caddisfly Pupa
The green blob contained in this case is a pupa in the early stages of transformation from larva to the final stage we generally picture and imitate. This specimen and several like it were fixed to a rock I picked up, and each one had the front of its case sealed off, protecting the helpless pupa from predation. It's neat to see the insect part-way through such a radical transformation.

It was very hard to extract this thing from its case, so there's a bit of extra goo near the head from where I accidentally punctured it.
2 Larvae

2 Streamside Pictures of Brachycentrus Caddisflies:

3 Underwater Pictures of Brachycentrus Caddisflies:

Recent Discussions of Brachycentrus

Brachycentrus americanus on the Lower Sacramento River California
Posted by Troutguide on Oct 29, 2016 in the species Brachycentrus americanus
Last reply on Oct 29, 2016 by Troutguide
I believe this is the species found in sometimes very large numbers on the Lower Sacramento River in the Redding area. Ten years ago it was present in such large numbers that fishing a fly on the bottom resulted in frequently hooking one of these caddis still in its case. Along with other aquatic insects their numbers have declined to a fraction of once seen. I don't believe the egg Sac dropped by the females to be olive , instread I have seen it to be a bright green. The females seem to oviposit close to the edge of flowing water and not midstream.
grannom caddis
56 replies
Posted by Goose on Sep 26, 2006
Last reply on Feb 1, 2016 by Martinlf
Hi All! I was reading through the site and I happened upon the Grannom (Apple) Caddis page, which made me wonder. Here in PA it is called The Mother's Day Caddis, I believe. Adults, which trout rarely feed on, are imitated with black or peacock herl bodies. The pupa, or emrgers I guess, we imitate with a wet fly. It has a peacock herl body and brown hackle for the legs, etc. in a size 14. Is this the same Grannon as the apple Grannom? Just curious!
I still get confused by these caddis and I'm trying to narrow down a list of caddis patterns and colors to cover the largest percentage of the hatches throughout the year.
What's happening here?
5 replies
Posted by Troutnut on Jun 5, 2007
Last reply on Jun 6, 2007 by Troutnut
Check out the two streamside pictures on my Brachycentrus page. I found these clusters of dead grannoms in a few different spots along a Catskill river on May 12th, while many members of (seemingly) the same species were in the air laying eggs and occasionally falling spent and being eaten by trout.

Have you ever seen these clusters? What's the explanation?

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References

Taxonomy
Species in Brachycentrus
Brachycentrus americanusAmerican Grannom332
Brachycentrus appalachiaApple Caddis330
Brachycentrus fuliginosusGrannom00
Brachycentrus lateralisStriped Grannom00
Brachycentrus nigrosomaGrannom00
Brachycentrus numerosusDark Grannom00
Brachycentrus occidentalisMother's Day Caddis00
7 species (Brachycentrus chelatus, Brachycentrus echo, Brachycentrus etowahensis, Brachycentrus incanus, Brachycentrus signata, Brachycentrus solomoni, and Brachycentrus spinea) aren't included.
Genus Range
Common Name
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