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The Brian Chan Stillwater Caddis Pupa


The Caddis is a great fly to utilize during early to mid-summer evenings on most of the best fly fishing lakes in the Kamloops area! Although this fly tying segment is dedicated to the caddis pupa, it is important to have a bit of an understanding of its entire life cycle before proceeding.

Here’s some history:

Like chironomids, the caddisfly life cycle consists of a full metamorphosis including stages as egg, larva, pupa, and adult. For up to 2 years the larva inhabits rocky shoals and weed beds along the lake bottom. Once ready to emerge the larvae pupate in their casing at the bottom of the lake and crawl out from it looking completely different. During this short stage of life it swims quickly in an angle upward using it’s long oar like legs, it’s antenna sweeping backwards the length of the body. Once free from the pupal shuck the adult will spend a few seconds with it’s wings upright drying, then it folds them down in a tent like shape over the body and begins to jump and scurry across the water surface attempting to fly. Once airborne it flies to the shoreline foliage returning during the day to drink. After mating has occurred the females return to the water surface to deposit their eggs by skimming across the surface.

OK … back to the pupa …

The sedge pupa can range from a 1/4 inch to over 1 inch in length. Body colour is dependent on it’s natural environment but light brown to dark greens are the norm. You will find the pupa emerging wherever you found the larvae in the spring, usually in 10 – 20 feet of water with a weedy bottom. Our preferred line is a full floater with a long leader but an intermediate sink or sink tip also works well. Either way keep the retrieve slow.

The pattern:

One of the best caddis pupa patterns we have used for the lakes in the Kamloops area is Brian Chan’s Still Water Pupa.

Brian Chan's Still Water Caddis Pupa

Here’s the material list:

Hook: Tiemco 200R size 8 – 12
Thread: Olive 8/0
Rib: Lime green super floss

Body: Arizona synthetic peacock dubbing
Wing case: Pheasant tail
Thorax: Peacock herl
Legs: Pheasant tail fibers
Beard: Peacock angel hair
Head: Peacock herl

And here’s the tying instructions:

  1. Wind the thread onto the hook and tie in a piece of the lime green super floss.
  2. Dub in the Arizona synthetic peacock and form the abdomen to 3/4 of the hook shank.
  3. Counter wind the rib over the body and secure.
  4. Tie in the wing case back over a small portion of the abdomen.
  5. Add in 2 – 3 strands of peacock herl by the tips and wind forward to form the thorax.
  6. Take 3 – 4 pheasant tail fibers and secure in place on one side to form the legs – repeat for the other side. The legs should extend to the bend of the hook.
  7. Pull the wing case over the thorax and secure in place - trim the excess.
  8. Add a sparse amount of peacock angel hair for a beard.
  9. Tie in a strand of peacock herl and build the head.
  10. Whip finish.

This pattern can also be found in Philip Rowley’s book: Fly Patterns for Still Water: A Study of Trout Entomology and Tying. We also highly recommend Morris & Chan on Fly Fishing Trout Lakes. And of course, much more information on Caddis & Sedges can be found on our websites Caddis page!

OK that’s it folks … now tie some up and get out and fish it! Oh and stay tuned cause coming up next is a dynamite caddis adult pattern for some exciting top water action!

……. Tight lines folks!

For more information on fly fishing and tying Caddis please check out the  following books (the last 2 are highly recommended!):

Life Cycle of the Caddis Fly

Caddis Super Hatches: Hatch Guide for the United States

Morris & Chan on Fly Fishing Trout Lakes

Fly Patterns for Stillwater: A Study of Trout Entomology and Tying

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About krazy

....... fish, hunt, repeat!
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