last year I collected a caddis larva with a case constructed of small twigs. I "evicted" the worm, varnished the case, and glued it to a weighted hook with an imitation of the peeking caddis head. question: is this legal and/or ethical? or will using this fly make me a bait fisherman? I havent had the chance to try it yet.
James, as long as collecting the larva was legal, the question of fishing the case as part of an imitation would depend upon where you fish. On some special regulation waters it might not meet the legal critera for a "fly" and on others it probably would. As for the ethical part, I'll leave that entirely for you to decide. Many have used this approach to imitating cased larvae before, but I've never heard much about the effectiveness of the resulting "fly."
I wouldn't sweat it too much, Jasen. Unless you're regularly seining hundreds of them and planning to set up a streamside baitstand, you're probably fine. I would avoid collecting in special reg. areas restricted to flies and lures though.