Header image
Enter a name
Lateral view of a Male Baetis (Baetidae) (Blue-Winged Olive) Mayfly Dun from Mystery Creek #43 in New York
Blue-winged Olives

Tiny Baetis mayflies are perhaps the most commonly encountered and imitated by anglers on all American trout streams due to their great abundance, widespread distribution, and trout-friendly emergence habits.

Case view of a Pycnopsyche guttifera (Limnephilidae) (Great Autumn Brown Sedge) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
It's only barely visible in one of my pictures, but I confirmed under the microscope that this one has a prosternal horn and the antennae are mid-way between the eyes and front of the head capsule.

I'm calling this one Pycnopsyche, but it's a bit perplexing. It seems to key definitively to at least Couplet 8 of the Key to Genera of Limnephilidae Larvae. That narrows it down to three genera, and the case seems wrong for the other two. The case looks right for Pycnopsyche, and it fits one of the key characteristics: "Abdominal sternum II without chloride epithelium and abdominal segment IX with only single seta on each side of dorsal sclerite." However, the characteristic "metanotal sa1 sclerites not fused, although often contiguous" does not seem to fit well. Those sclerites sure look fused to me, although I can make out a thin groove in the touching halves in the anterior half under the microscope. Perhaps this is a regional variation.

The only species of Pycnopsyche documented in Washington state is Pycnopsyche guttifera, and the colors and markings around the head of this specimen seem to match very well a specimen of that species from Massachusetts on Bugguide. So I am placing it in that species for now.

Whatever species this is, I photographed another specimen of seemingly the same species from the same spot a couple months later.
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.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Posts: 1
Bagsam6 on Apr 22, 2008April 22nd, 2008, 8:49 am EDT
I have been a fly fisherman for a lot of years but I have a problem finding the right fly pattern for the black crappie in the lakes around Laconia New Hampshire. Does anyone have any ideas and if so would you please share them. I also have a pattern that I tie that works great on west and east coast for rainbow trout if anyone would like it please let me know.

Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Apr 22, 2008April 22nd, 2008, 1:49 pm EDT
Clouser minnow?
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Posts: 1
Sirharryk on Apr 12, 2009April 12th, 2009, 1:39 pm EDT
I do good using a green or brown woolly bugger tied with a little flash.
Brown seems to produce a little better.
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Apr 12, 2009April 12th, 2009, 2:53 pm EDT
only crappie i ever caught was on a #16 fur ant cast to the fish in shallow water in a largish pond. biggest thing i'd caught up to then--exciting!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Posts: 31
GoofusBug on Apr 12, 2009April 12th, 2009, 4:13 pm EDT
Growing up, we caught a lot of them on a fly rod pitching white marabou jigs.

So, if I were tying a fly, I guess I would tie up a white woolly bugger with a silver bead head. Or a muddler minnow.
Cortland Manor, NY

Posts: 139
Mcjames on Apr 13, 2009April 13th, 2009, 2:32 am EDT
very small clousers tied with marabou... white and yellow tied on size 10 nymph hook
I am haunted by waters
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Apr 13, 2009April 13th, 2009, 10:39 am EDT
I don't think the pattern matters that much, within reason. I was always partial to small white wooly buggers or a McGinty wooly worm, in size 10 or 12 (1XL). But I think virtually any fly with some white or yellow in it in these sizes will take a lot of fish.

What I think DOES matter is how you fish the fly. I've never done well on crappie with an active retrieve, as you might use for bluegills.

I think that, done correctly, fishing a sunken fly for crappie is first cousin to watching paint dry. Basically it involves flipping the fly out to the cover (the most impt. part of crappie fishing is finding them)and simply letting it slowly sink. keep in touch with the fly. A lot of the hits will come on the drop. Let it sink most of the way and if there are no takes, then simply lift the rod tip at about the same speed as a turtle crosses a dirt road. Just fast enough to make it move, maybe 2 inches a second or so. I mean slooooow.... Keep in touch with the fly and wait for the very gentle "tunk" of a fish picking it up.

I started doing this when I was a kid and used to take my fly rod crappie fishing with my Dad, who was usually fishing bait. When my Dad fished for crappie, he would catch a bluegill on a worm first and then set it on the boat seat, get his jack knife out and cut 1 inch long by 3/8" wide strips from the bluegill which was his crappie bait. He fished them on a slow drop on a small bait hook and then on an equally slow lift and it was murder on crappie. So, I started doing the same thing with my flies and it worked just as well.

If you're where the crappie are (again the most impt. part), you can fill a bucket in an hour doing this. It doesn't bear much resemblance to watching a fireworks display from a roller coaster, but it'll put crappie in the bucket faster than anything I know. And that has rewards of it's own...:)
Duluth, MN

Posts: 3
TheFlyMaste on Apr 17, 2009April 17th, 2009, 5:00 am EDT
I'm with RleeP on this one. I live in N. MN and a yellow/white or chart/white small clouser on a size 6 or 8 hook works great. Need to tie it sparse like the original. Unweighted or weighted, depending on where the crappie are located. Finding them is half the battle.

It's not a hard slam bit from crappies, but more of gentle tug. A lot of times, especially in the spring, you might just feel a little resistance and they are on. It helps to use a very sticky hook (in other words very sharp hooks). I use gama stinger hooks in size 6. Even if you don't feel the bite, it's much harder for the fish to spit it before you notice.

Good luck, crappie fly fishing is just starting to heat up in my neck of the woods.
Ouitdee Carson
Arrowhead Fly Angler
Lagrangeville, NY

Posts: 119
Patcrisci on Apr 17, 2009April 17th, 2009, 5:19 am EDT
Oh man, do i love fly fishin for crappie (and any panfish). I learned to cast a fly rod panfishing on the NYC reservoirs and in the tailwater streams. I had the most fun catching them on the surface using small poppers, size 10 or 8, tied with cork body, rubber legs, and hackle feather tails. Seemed like almost any color popper worked. In the streams we caught bluegills, rock bass, crappie on small bucktails and on wooly bugggers. A Clouser should do the trick. If you really want to have some fun though, try a popping bug. Cast it close to cover, near the shore. In spring when they in shallow water, you can find them on nests. Watch out! Your popper might get banged by a big largemouth bass!
Pat Crisci

Quick Reply

Related Discussions

Last Reply
Oct 13, 2010
by Jesse
Troutnut.com is copyright © 2004-2024 (email Jason). privacy policy