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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

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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Lastchance
Portage, PA

Posts: 437
Lastchance on Oct 6, 2012October 6th, 2012, 5:14 am EDT
I was fishing The Little J the other day and there were tan caddis everywhere for about 3 hours. The trout were making those splashy rises they do when chasing emergers. I really had nothing tied to fish as an emergers.
My question and I thought I posted this before:

What colors are caddis flies as they emerge? Are they their dun colors as they moved to the surface? I'd like to tie some general wet fly emergers to match the surface hatchers in PA.
Thanks,
Bruce
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Oct 6, 2012October 6th, 2012, 5:35 am EDT

Tan, or olive, lt. brown maybe. Most of the time it doesn't make all that much difference as the adults can vary in those colors, And I do think they emerge the color of the adults. I am thinking hydropsyche as well, but Rhyacophila are similar, but not as prevalent, and emergers fishable in my waters anyway. I often choose olive bodied, and a darker peacock herl thorax for visibility with a small, black metal beadhead to break the surface, and initially get the emerger down some before swinging up as I follow the fly with the rod, imparting a controlled mend, not throwing slack in the line. I want to be in contact with the fly at all times except for the initial early seconds I guess. And I tie them with a hackle that is fairrly long extending beyond the hook bend.
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on Oct 6, 2012October 6th, 2012, 6:21 am EDT
Hi Bruce,

The color of an adult caddisfly is generally described by the color of its wings, as that is the color most easily seen. However, the color of a (recently emerged) adult caddisfly body may be quite different from the color of its wings. And, the dominant color of an emerging pupa (sometimes referred to as a pharate adult) would generally be the same color as the body of the (recently emerged) adult. Hope this helps, but it's probably about as clear as mud. :-)
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 6, 2012October 6th, 2012, 8:54 am EDT
Color of "wings in the air" can be misidentified too. Often they are picked out when in bright sunshine making them look brighter than they might be in hand. Or conversely, they can look dull in shadow. There are lots of "tan caddis" than are decidedly gray or brown in hand.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 6, 2012October 6th, 2012, 2:12 pm EDT
Color of "wings in the air" can be misidentified too. Often they are picked out when in bright sunshine making them look brighter than they might be in hand. Or conversely, they can look dull in shadow. There are lots of "tan caddis" than are decidedly gray or brown in hand.

Excellent point, Paul. Even very dark caddis can appear tannish in the air. I suspect that the hind wings in flight also contribute greatly to this. Though they are hidden when the darker forewings are folded over them, they are almost as large and are often a translucent brown, tannish, or pale ginger. This and the fact that most adults coming back to the water are days old and much duller in the body then they were as pharates and fresh adults are probably the two characters most often missed by anglers.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Feathers5
Posts: 287
Feathers5 on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 5:19 am EDT
Okay,I guess tan, brown, and olive colors will cover most of them? For a pattern I'm thinking, one of those colors for the body, maybe a small copper or gold rib, a little darker thorax, and hen back or hungarian partridge for the hackle. Any idea?
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 7:55 am EDT
You can add rust to that list, wing and body, in fall, although a tan or brown will likely suffice. I'm thinking Neophylax and Pycnopsyche.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 1:25 pm EDT
Don't forget Dicosmoecus (October Caddis), Paul. You're a westerner now! :) Rust is the color for these big boys as well. The bright orange color you see on so many patterns is incorrectly based on the color of the pupa.

Bruce - Yes, you have it about right, though there are several exceptions. I know quite a few highly successful anglers that only carry caddis patterns with olive dubbing, hare's ear dubbing, and pheasant tail for bodies and do not feel under-gunned in the slightest. Oh, and the big rust ones if there's a chance they'll run into them.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Sayfu
Posts: 560
Sayfu on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 3:22 pm EDT

Problem as far as the rust colored body bugs go. is.... they seldom are available to trout. They pupate near shore often in shallow water, and get out with few trout able to get at them. The egg layers come back in the evening, and can be available, but few anglers ever see trout focused on them. Steelhead anglers get excited about swinging a burnt orange #6 size dry fly across the river in the Fall, but I feel it is more about the presentation that triggers the steelhead strike then trout focused on Dicosmoecus. I sure have caught steelhead on a big, burnt orange caddis pattern in the Fall waking it across the surface below me, but also have seen them on my Yakima River in the Fall return to lay eggs, and constantly dipping down on the water to lay their eggs, but no rainbows rising to them. That is my observation.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 3:51 pm EDT
Problem as far as the rust colored body bugs go. is.... they seldom are available to trout

Yeah Sayfu, and even when they are, the fish could care less a lot of the time. This is a very perplexing critter. I've had evenings when they were all over the water and the fish could care less and other evenings where the fish went crazy for 'em (though the latter circumstance is rarer than the first). Usually I'll just see a smattering of them and their imitations don't necessarily work any better than attractor drys. Still carry imitations in the Fall though, 'cause you never know!:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 5:52 pm EDT
I had good fishing to Neophylax adults in NY, on streams with good popns. They were shoreline related but trout could be on them.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 10, 2012October 10th, 2012, 11:23 pm EDT
Paul,

Have you found any Dicosmoecus in CO? They're supposed to be there, but I'm not sure in the numbers we get out on the Coast.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Creno
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 302
Creno on Oct 11, 2012October 11th, 2012, 10:25 am EDT
Folks - Dicosmoecus atripes is fairly common and widespread above 5300 ft altitude in CO. It tends to be in smaller streams (less than 2m wide) than the PNW populations and therefore not obvious to most fishermen.

The largest CO population I have seen was in a 1m wide stream, probably with no fish. You could see dozens of larvae everywhere you looked.

I am aware of only a single Colorado record for D. gilvipes (Dodds and Hisaw 1925) and that is probably an error. I have not seen a specimen from CO/WY and don't know of any Rocky Mountain records south of MT.
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 11, 2012October 11th, 2012, 12:10 pm EDT
Thanks, Dave. I do frequent small streams but don't believe I've seen them.

Here's a really nice presentation on a Dicosmoecus from Oregon where apparently they emerge on larger waters:

http://www.west-fly-fishing.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=364080
Creno
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 302
Creno on Oct 11, 2012October 11th, 2012, 1:30 pm EDT
Try the tribs at Square Top lake. Or Deer Creek at Phillipsburg - its may be closer. You can crawl through one of those Deer Creek culverts. I crawled all the way through it looking for caddis and saw nothing but a couple of black widows in the corners. But then on the way out something dropped on my neck/ear. Turned out to be Dicosmoecus so in the vial it went.

If you want to wander the CO back country try the tribs to the South Fork of White at Budges Resort. And the fishing in the south fork used to be worth the tough trip even if you don't find Dicosmoecus. That is were I saw so many.
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Oct 11, 2012October 11th, 2012, 3:31 pm EDT
I like those widows, but not on my neck.

Thanks, Dave.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 12, 2012October 12th, 2012, 12:49 pm EDT
Thanks for the excellent link, Paul!
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
DUBBN
DUBBN's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 47
DUBBN on Oct 12, 2012October 12th, 2012, 2:36 pm EDT
That is a cool link Paul.

I am very confused now. While not prolific I was always under the impression that the Orange Sedges I have been seeing on the Gunnison river at 5,039 feet were October Caddis.

Largest Caddis of the year, hatch from last of August (some years) to the end of October (some years).

I have fished the area 3 of the past 4 weeks and have not seen one yet (this year). Wouldnt you know, when I want to take a picture of one they get camera shy. Oh well, maybe next year.
It's OK to disagree with me. I can not force you to be right.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Oct 12, 2012October 12th, 2012, 3:29 pm EDT
Dubbin -

I am very confused now. While not prolific I was always under the impression that the Orange Sedges I have been seeing on the Gunnison river at 5,039 feet were October Caddis.

No need to be confused, as you were right in your original assumption. The two species of Dicosmoecus that Dave mentioned are both commonly referred to as October Caddis and look virtually identical. The fact that atripes is common above 5,300' in little creeks as he reported doesn't mean it can't be found in larger streams a little lower.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
DUBBN
DUBBN's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 47
DUBBN on Oct 13, 2012October 13th, 2012, 11:22 am EDT
Dubbin -

I am very confused now. While not prolific I was always under the impression that the Orange Sedges I have been seeing on the Gunnison river at 5,039 feet were October Caddis.

No need to be confused, as you were right in your original assumption. The two species of Dicosmoecus that Dave mentioned are both commonly referred to as October Caddis and look virtually identical. The fact that atripes is common above 5,300' in little creeks as he reported doesn't mean it can't be found in larger streams a little lower.



Whew. Thought I was gonna have to throw away all my Orange flies! :-)
It's OK to disagree with me. I can not force you to be right.

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