Spotted Caddis

Other Common Names: Net builder, net-spinning caddis, gray caddis
Scientific Name: genus Hydropsyche

This case-less caddis acts like a spider: larvae build little nets in the crevices of rocks and capture drifting plankton for their meals.

Their preferred habitat is riffles and runs. They often drift in the current, so where there are large populations, trout will feed on them year-round. A larva pattern dead-drifted near the bottom can be effective very effective in spring and fall, and even in winter.

Many species are pale green and look a lot like the green rock worm or green caddis ; they are often found in the same kind of water and can be imitated with the same patterns and tactics. In other waters, spotted caddis larvae are more tan or brown.

Pupation occurs in the same water that the larvae lived in. During a hatch, dead-drift a pupa pattern near the bottom in riffly water or just below riffles. An unweighted pupa pattern can also be drifted near the surface, or you can present a Soft Hackle with a wet-fly swing. Another good strategy is a dry fly with a pupa pattern as a dropper or trailer; the dry fly acts as an indicator and sometimes is taken by the trout.

After the hatch, errant and unlucky adults fall onto the water, and a dry fly is the right choice. Bankwater downwind or downstream from overhanging trees is a good place to cast your dry.

Females swim or crawl underwater to lay eggs. You can fish a dry at this time, or go subsurface with a Soft Hackle or Diving Caddis pattern.

Characteristics

LARVA COLOR: Light green, tan, tan-green, brownish

PUPA SIZE: 10-15 mm

PUPA COLOR: Body--Tan, brown, or yellow-tan. Shroud--tan or light green

ADULT SIZE: 10-15 mm

ADULT COLOR: Wings--Mottled brown and gray. Body--Brown, green, brown-green.

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Caseless (free living) larva. Larva has dorsal plates on the three sections of the thorax. Body, wing, and shroud colors can vary, so it's always best to check a natural insect where you are fishing. Body and wing colors will darken when the insect is ready to lay eggs.

 

Click on the fly name to see the pattern. Click on the presentation to learn how to do it.

STAGE PATTERN SIZE/
COLOR
PRESENTATION WHERE
Larva Uncased Caddis 12-14
Green, tan, brown
indicator, tight line Riffles, runs, just below riffles
Pupa Soft Hackle 12-14
Body: tan, brown, yellow-tan, green
surface swing, shallow nymph Riffles, runs, just below riffles
Sparkle Pupa 12-14
Body: tan, brown, yellow-tan, green; Shroud: tan
indicator, tight line, shallow nymph Riffles, runs, just below riffles
Deep Sparkle Pupa 12-14
Body: tan, brown, yellow-tan; Shroud: tan
indicator, tight line Riffles, runs, just below riffles
Adult X Caddis 12-14
Body: brown, green; Wing: brown and gray
standard dry fly Bankwater near foilage
Parachute Caddis 12-14
Body: brown, green; Wing: brown and gray
standard dry fly Bankwater near foilage
Elk Hair Caddis 12-14
Body: brown, green; Wing: brown and gray
standard dry fly Bankwater near foilage
Goddard Caddis 12-14
Natural gray
standard dry fly, skating Riffles
Egg-layer Diving Caddis 12-14
Body: brown; Wing: black
surface swing, shallow nymph, rising nymph Riffles, current seams, backeddies below riffles
Soft Hackle 12-14
Body: brown; Wing: black
surface swing, shallow nymph, rising nymph Riffles, current seams, backeddies below riffles