Caddisflies are hardy insects that can be found on a wide variety of freshwater habitats around the world. They are more tolerant of water pollution than many aquatic life forms, and are often times the most abundant food source year round. Pump the stomach of any of your caught trout… chances are good that there are caddis in there.
It would be silly to not spend extra attention to detail when it comes to your caddis box. I take pride in mine, and it is the one fly box that I’m always confident in.
As you can see there are several patterns of several different stages of life in this box, but I want to focus on the caddis pupa. This is the most vulnerable stage in the caddisflies’ life cycle. Not only are caddis helpless during this stage, but they spend the longest amount of time in front of trout as they float downstream and up to the surface. When you see trout feeding on adult caddis I guarantee there are just as many, if not more, caddis pupa being taken. I often fish a dry-dropper in these situations, and catch way more fish on my caddis pupa (dropper).
Let’s get to the pattern! As with every fly, there are endless patterns and variations of those patterns. I have narrowed it down to a few go to pupa patterns, but if I had to pick one it would absolutely be Gary LaFontaine’s Deep Sparkle Pupa. This fly has fooled so many fish that its almost unfair. I’m by no means a great angler, but I have frustrated many fishermen around me with this fly.
I owe Kent Klewein, of Gink & Gasoline, a case of beer for his 2012 article: The Only Two Caddis Pupa Patterns I Really Need to Carry. We all owe Gary Lafontaine much more for the 20 some years that he dedicated to fully understanding the lifecycle of the caddisfly and how trout feed on them. If you take anything away from this post, it should be that you need to go read Klewein’s article, and when you finish you need to read it again (click on link above)! It was not the first time I’ve come across this pattern, but this article really helped me understand how to fish it.