Saturday, September 26, 2015

October Caddis

As the temperature cools  down at the beginning of fall, the trout fishing heats up on many Northwest rivers. The chief catalyst behind this late season feeding goes by many names. The giant orange sedge, Fall Caddis, Giant Caddis, the most recognized being the October Caddis. Many regard this hatch very highly as the sheer size of these Caddis drive trout into a feeding frenzy similar a salmon fly, or Hexagenia.

The larvae of the October Caddis are stream dwellers that construct cases out of loose sand, gravel, and other organic streambed material. As they outgrow their cases they willdiscard them and build a new one. As the larvae reaches maturity it will seal its case and pupate. When the pupae emerge typically they will crawl or swim into shallow water near the bank or the bank itself for emergence, but a few of the pupae also will emerge midstream. The pupal shuck enveloping the Caddis pupa is air filled and when exposed to the decreased outside pressure of air bursts, allowing the adult insect to crawl out of the shuck. Emergence is typically a late afternoon and evening affair.

 Once emerged and in their final adult form the Caddis are generally 20-30 mm long. The fat bodies of winged adults are in colors that range from light tanish orange to yellowish orange to bright orange to burnt orange. Wings are usually gray but there are also brown tones. There are apparently a number of different sub-species in what is commonly called October Caddis.  Most belong to the family Dicosmoecus and they range from California to Alaska. Egg laying or oviposting occurs in the evening. Large females will flit across the surface briefly making contact every few seconds to deposit her eggs.

These provide some of the last productive big bug dry fly fishing before most rivers close for the season or become too cold for any real surface activity. For those anglers who view nymphing as simply not an option, It is their last real chance to fish a big fly to big trout before the stonefly hatches of the following spring.

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