FOSAF NEWS - Fly of the month - The Net-Spinning Caseless Caddis Larva (Hydropsychidae family)

The above naturals are endemic to our South African inland rivers. More especially to the faster shallow rock-strewn waters. In their larval stage, caddis are a juicy ‘one-stop shop’ for trout, yellowfish and any other larger freshwater species inhabiting these types of stream and/or river. In the Western Cape micro-environment, case-building caddis larvae predominate. In fishing terms, what that means is the caddis there build their own ‘duvets’ with bits of sand, gravel or vegetation and they can wander around albeit somewhat hampered by the weight of their ‘shell’.

The inland provinces caddis larvae are net-spinners and they build a sand ‘tent’ for themselves on submerged rocks and have a sort of incoming spider- funnel facing upstream so the little moogies on which they feed can be channelled in to their lair. Turning over rocks in the faster shallows should reveal which colour larvae are present. They are prevalent in the warmer months. When these larvae get dislodged they tumble helplessly along the river bed making easy prey for fish. A  

Tying Instructions

Hook – Partridge Patriot barbless curved ‘grub’ in sizes 10 to 16 – or reputable equivalent.   

Underbody – lead or tungsten sheet tapered at each end on top of hook, so hook rides upside down lessening the threat of snagging on rocks or vegetation.

Thread – tan 6/0.

Abdomen - rear two thirds of body either light tan or light yellow or light green UV Ice Dub or hare’s ear dubbing, colour to suit the prevailing species. The tan and yellow species usually appear springtime and a month later the Macrostemum capense signatum which is indigenous to our inland rivers. Apart from showing off I know the Latin for this unique sub-species, this lime milkshake abdomened larva is what is popularly known as a green rockworm to us Vaalies. Do not confuse our one with the Americans’ ‘green rockworm’ which is a different family (Rhyacophilidae), and dissimilar in both appearance and habits.  

Thorax – front third, dark brown hare’s ear dubbing picked out to represent legs.

Back – light tan shellback material. Give it about a dozen segments, imitating the natural, using the thread. You can also use wire as ribbing but the thread is quicker and neater.

Back markings – using waterproof marker pens (E.G. Sharpie or Pro-Line) on the shellback material lightly dab dark brown (thorax) and tan (abdomen) thicker at the head getting smaller towards the rear.

Varnish – apply UV or plain varnish to the shellback only.  

I do not use beadheads as the above is a lot more lifelike and moves like the natural, not simply plummeting to the bottom - but if you are a beadhead addict, go for it!

Tie the fly slender so they sink naturally without having excess bulk.

As the larvae grow they go through several ‘instars’ (stages). As the do so they gradually become a darker shade so note that when tying.

It is helpful and quicker to tie the weighting on say a dozen or so hooks at a time. This has the added benefit of after you’ve done a few, you get some uniform standard of weighting from the practice.

Fishing the fly.

As to fishing them, many of you will be familiar with the so-called ‘Czech style’ of nymphing, which I hasten to add was first practiced in essence by my forebears in England way back in the mid 1600’s. Fished upstream as the ‘point’ fly with one or more ‘droppers’ letting the caddis larva sink to the bottom and tumble along dead-drifting like the natural. I prefer to keep a tight line and not use an indicator, but the choice is yours. If you would like any further information on any of the above please feel free to contact me on ‘chris@williamsandwilliams.co.za

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Classic caddis larvae water

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