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Burnt Chenille Cased Caddis Step-by-Step:
Long before I ever held a fly rod, I (like many children) was an amateur entomologist. If the fish weren’t biting, there were always steamside rocks to flip. And while my main targets may have been the various salamanders that called upstate New York home, there were always a seemingly inexhaustible supply of aquatic insect larvae to entertain as well. Stoneflies, mayflies and even the occassional terrifying hellgramite each wowed in their own way, but there was something about the minute cased Caddisfly larvae that set them apart.
Innocuous bits of streamside detritus to the unobservant eye, there was just something remarkable about these engineering insects and their protective homes of leaf, twig, stone and sand.
Given their abundance on nearly every trout stream I’ve had the pleasure of visiting, it should be no surprise that cased Caddisfly imitations qualify as a must have for trout anglers across the globe.
|1X Curved Nymph Hook (#12-18)||12/0 (Olive)||Ice Chenille (Burnt Orange)|
|Dubbing (Green/Chartreuse)||Hackle Fibers|
Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:
(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)
Tips and Tricks:
1. Seasonal Specialty
In their seminal work “Selective Trout,” Swisher and Richards note the importance of Cased Caddis in the diet of trout during cooler months. Not only do these larva remain abundant at a time of year when their may be little other insect activity, but they also become more exposed as aquatic vegetation disappears. With this in mind, consider tying on a cased caddis (especially a larger one) as a search pattern during winter or early spring.
2. Fish it shallow. Fish it fast.
This is solely anecdotal, but I have had some of my best luck fishing this pattern as a dropper in shallow, fast riffles. While I have no evidence to back my assumptions, my best guess is these larva are simply more likely to become dislodged in these stronger currents than in other parts of the stream. Whatever the reason, I’d advise you give it a try. As you’ll see in my Proof of Concept below, you may be surprised at the results.
Proof of Concept
In August of 2019, I found myself striking out on Colorado Cutthroat deep in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The occasional Brook Trout and a few small rainbows at lower even had prevented the skunk, but overall it had been an underwhelming day on the water.
With no hatches most of the day, I swapped between various nymph and attractor combos looking for something that would produce consistent results. At some point along the way, I tied a burnt chenille cased caddis below a large foam hopper and began to prospect a shallow run.
To my surprise, the hopper plunged beneath the surface on my first drift. My reward? A brook trout no more than 3″ in length.
Repeating the drift, the hopper once again dipped. As it did, each and every drift, for the 15 or so that followed. Each time, my reward was a small gem including a few larger females and the gorgeous battle scarred male in the accompanying image.