First, an introduction. I am 15 years old and live in Northwestern Pa. I have been reading the forums for quite a few years now, as they have helped me expand my knowledge.
I am interested in learning as much as possible about the grannom caddis. I would appreciate any information that you could offer about them, along with possible patterns and life cycle information. Thank you in advance.
"Be calm - you're there..." "...Tell yourself there's no rush, even if there is."
Hi Mike...and welcome aboard!
You might want to start by checking the thread entitled "grannom caddis" on the "Fly Hatch Talk..." board, then turn to the caddisfly section of Aquatic Insects (on the toolbar above) and click on Brachycentridae.
Mike: Are you anywhere near the Sugar Creek drainage in Venango County or could you get there relatively soon?
This is the best and longest lasting Grannom hatch in your (and originally, my) part of the state. I grew up in southern Erie County, near Union City.
The bulk of it may be over now, but I'd bet that there will still be decent numbers of grannoms flitting around in the upper watershed, like the main stem near or above Bradleytown and in the branches that come out of Troy Center and Diamond respectively.
So, there may still be, for the next week perhaps an opportunity this spring to do some on-stream grannom research...:)
When I fished the grannnoms on Sugar, all I usually used was a size 14-16 dark-winged deer hair caddis with a very dark brown to black body and dark dun hackle. Or you can do well subsurface to emergers or oviposting flies with a simple soft hackle with a dark olive body and partridge hackle.
On Edit: Regarding hatch times or periods. Generally, the streams with decent Grannoms in the area (Sugar, Oil, Thompson Creek, trib to upper Oil near Hydetown and to a lesser extent the Pine/Caldwell drainage. There are others I'm sure, but i've been gone from there a while and forget..) will start to see bugs coming off arounf 4/20 as a general rule. It's usually over by the 5th of May or so. This can vary by up to a week in either direction though depending upon the progress of the Spring) Of the streams named, they come on Oil Creek first as a function of generally warmer water temps, then Thompson which is open and fairly shallow and warms quickly. Then Sugar and Pine. But generally, there isn't more than 3-4 days between the start on Oil and on the upper sections of Pine.
Out here in the West, we have a split emergence of those Brachycentrus species, which constitute a fishable hatch. Brachycentrus occidentalis emerges in April-May, and Brachycentrus americanus emerges in July-August. Perhaps it is this later emergence to which you refer.
Lee's information on NW PA grannoms is very good, but he is also correct that the main grannom activity is probably over by now. You may find a few lingering on small cold streams, but these are not likely to be the large hatches you find earlier on the larger streams. The vast majority of PA grannnom hatches occur between mid-April and early May. Although there are several species involved, they all tend to peak somewhere in this period.
There is no fall grannom hatch. The later-hatching species that Roger mentions (B. americanus) is also found in the East, but I've never encountered it in PA, and it is more common in New England (but still not usually as heavy as the earlier grannoms).
The good news, however, is that we are entering one of the peak times for spotted sedge (Hydropsyche/Ceratopsyche) hatches and will soon be seeing the blue-winged sulphurs (E. invaria) in the late afternoon and evening. These hatches are very common throughout the state and bring some of the best fly-fishing of the season.
Mike: If you get a chance, thsi coming May 6th at 7pm there will be a major presentation on aquatic insects given by Mike Laskowski of Oil Creek Outfitters. It will be held at the Tom Ridge Center which is at the head of Presque Isle ( the Peninsula).
He will answer all of your questions on caddis, mays and stones.........
Stay focused on what is important in life...........