Video: A Fine Caddis Emergence

Video: A Fine Caddis Emergence

For many anglers, caddis emergences are difficult to recognize and fish successfully. But if we know what to look for, the rivers and fish provide the all the clues needed to succeed. The strongest indication that fish are feeding on emerging caddis is the presence of rising fish with no insects apparent on the water. Occasional splashy rises mixed in among quiet rises is another clue. A third is that small fish can occasionally be seen jumping clear of the water (a consequence of their overly energetic pursuit of the actively swimming caddis pupae). In the video attached above, you can see the first and second clues at work. Lots of rising fish, no flies on the surface, splashy rises mixed in with quiet rises. There were no small fish in this group of risers, so none will be seen jumping here.

The caddis responsible for this particular rise are Helicopsyche borealis, a #20-22 caddis with grayish/black wings and amber bodies. They inhabit a number of rivers in the Yellowstone area. Despite their tiny size, during good emergences trout are extremely fond of them (and also later when the adults are egglaying). Because Helicopsyche emerge at roughly the same time of the season as Pale Morning Dun mayflies, the activity these caddis generate is often confused with Pale Morning Dun emergences. But there are no mayflies floating down the river here, and none to be seen flying. Astute anglers will recognize this and immediately suspect a caddis emergence. It’s then just a question of confirming an emergence and determining which caddis species might be responsible. Here, the answers lie in prior research on what insects to expect on a given river, combined with careful observation of the water and bankside vegetation. Doing these things is how we set ourselves up for some great fishing.

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