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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

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

Lateral view of a Clostoeca disjuncta (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one was surprisingly straightforward to identify. The lack of a sclerite at the base of the lateral hump narrows the field quite a bit, and the other options followed fairly obvious characteristics to Clostoeca, which only has one species, Clostoeca disjuncta.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Caddisflies

Some anglers consider caddisflies to be even more important than mayflies, and on many rivers they're right. Angler-entomologists focus less energy on them because they are slightly less prone to cause a feeding frenzy among the trout. While that does happen, they are more commonly an intermittent food source during the times when it seems like nothing's hatching. Understanding their life cycle is of paramount importance to any fly fisher, but learning their quirks species-by-species is less useful than with mayflies.


Like most common names,"Caddisfly" can refer to more than one taxon. They're previewed below, along with 3 specimens. For more detail click through to the scientific names.

Insect Order Trichoptera

These are pretty much always called Caddisflies.
Some say caddisflies are even more important than mayflies, and they are probably right. The angling world has taken a while to come to terms with this blasphemy. Caddis imitations are close to receiving their fare share of time on the end of the tippet, but too many anglers still assume all caddisflies are pretty much the same.

Caddis species actually provide as much incentive to learn their specifics as the mayflies do. There is just as much variety in their emergence and egg-laying behaviors, and as many patterns and techniques are needed to match them. Anglers are hampered only by the relative lack of information about caddisfly behavior and identification.
Lateral view of a Brachycentrus appalachia (Brachycentridae) (Apple Caddis) Caddisfly Adult from the West Branch of the Delaware River in New York
I captured this specimen in the same color as this photograph, during its egg-laying flight. The emergers are much lighter.
Dorsal view of a Rhyacophila fuscula (Rhyacophilidae) (Green Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from Mystery Creek #62 in New York
Rhyacophila (Rhyacophilidae) (Green Sedge) Caddisfly Pupa from the Long Lake Branch of the White River in Wisconsin
I collected this pupa and several like it from the same stream and on the same day as this larva. I suspect they're the same species. Every pupa I collected was in a brown casing like the one shown in one of the pictures below. I cut this pupa out of its case after a picture so you can see more details. It is close to but not fully developed.

Caddisfly Species Hydroptila arctia

These are very rarely called Caddisflies.

Caddisfly Species Oxyethira maya

These are very rarely called Caddisflies.

Caddisfly Species Cheumatopsyche pettiti

These are very rarely called Caddisflies.
This is the second most important species of Cheumatopsyche.
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