Fly fishing flies: caddis 4

Monday, 8 June 2015  |  Simon

In our continuing series of fly fishing caddis we’re looking today in a little more detail into their life cycle.

Winged adults live significantly longer than mayflies and will spend up to two or three full weeks away from the water. Once they are finally ready to mate, the males will gather near their home water to form a swarm. Females will turn up next to join the swarm to have their eggs fertilized. After a successful mating process, females will deposit their eggs on the water's surface to propagate the species.

Caddis are imitated by fly fishers and fly tyers in five distinct points of their life cycle. These are: the larvae, pupae, emerger, cripple, and winged adult stages. You fish larvae and pupae imitations entirely beneath the water's surface; both are designed to imitate these sub-surface life stages. An emerger is a specific artificial fly designed to imitate caddis during its emergence from pupa to winged adult. You fish this one just below the surface of the water or within the surface film. A cripple is similar to an emerger, though a little different in that it closely imitates an emergent caddis that has been caught or trapped in the surface film by its own pupal shuck, and therefore unable to hatch into a winged adult. The remaining artificial for fly fishing is a dry fly designed to imitate the caddis (usually a sexually mature female) during its adult life stage.

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