With the 2012 early trout season fast approaching I am starting to think of some patterns to use on the Northern Wisconsin freestone streams. One of the abundant aquatic insects that I see crawling on the rocks along the bottom are large stick-case caddis larva. The stick cases are close to an inch long, or longer, and house a pretty big. juicy morsel for trout. I suspect the trout first notices the stick-case slowly creeping along on top of the rocks along the bottom and eventually they realize there is food to be had inside. The trout eat the case and all digesting the larva and the case goes out with all the other waste.
In the Spring when hatches are few and far between a caddis pattern that some what resembles a caddis living in a case can save the day. Crawling the imitation slowly along the bottom of pools and back eddies can be effective way to fool trout that are looking for an easy meal. I recently saw someone on a forum showing a palmered hackle pattern clipped short and I decided this year I would try something similar for my caddis larva in a case.
Peeking Cased Caddis Larva
and here is another tied pretty much the same way but with a yellowish head..
Tying this Peeking Cased Caddis Larva pattern is pretty simple to do. Wrap the hook with thread and then wrap lead-free wire around the 3/4 of hook shank. Then take 2-3 long, wide hackles (1 dark barred ginger, 1 dark dun, and 1 brown) and tie them in at the bend. Then take 4 strands of peacock herl and tie them in at the bend and wrap forward to about 1/8″ from the eye of the hook. Then grab the hackles and wind them forward to about 1/8″ behind the eye. Trim the hackles so 3/8″ of hackle is left all around the hook. I tie in a short grouse hackle and wind it one turn around the hook to represent the legs. Last make a fairly big head using the thread and tie it off. Apply some super glue to the hackle to make them firm and keep the fly from falling apart from a trout’s teeth. Use head cement for the head section.
I decided to add my Gannom larva peeking out of its case. The Grannom has a rectangular case but I don’t feel we have to be exacting to fool the trout.