We now have special hooks that are made by Partridge called the Klinkhamer and the new Klinkhamer Extreme. These are designed specifically for tying caddis emergers that sit in the surface film.
Spirit River produces a product called Diamond Brite made from ultra fine Mylar, which in turn generates a subtle amount of translucency and a touch of flash. This material is ideal for creating that bubble of gas effect so often imitated in an emerging pupa. There is a whole range of colours that will match anything you wish to create.
The colour Golden Stone was used as a medium for the body I put together in the pattern featured featured here.. It is one that I created to effectively match emerging caddis pupa that is stuck in the surface film. We could say it is a cross between a Klinkhamer and a regular caddis emerger that has just hit the surface.
Body: Diamond Brite Golden Stone
Sheath: Cream Silky Fibres from Enrico Puglisi
Legs: Four strands of natural Deer Hair
Post: Trigger Point “Quick Silver” fibres from Enrico Puglisi
Hackle: Golden Badger, four turns and tied off on post.
They say we have around 500 species of Caddis here in Australia including a salt water species, which is not unlike a small Bogong moth. The first and only time I have seen them was off Phillip Island a couple of years back. At the time we were chasing Mako Shark and trying to catch them on a fly but that’s another story. The truth is I did see these Caddis moths flying over the surface and bouncing over the waves, so at a guess it was most probably them
Caddis moths are found along most of our waterways and as a food source they are a real favourite of Old Speckles. The larva and the pupae are the most commonly taken, whilst the adults are arguably not as popular. One of the key reasons for saying ‘arguably’ is that many believe that caddis skip across the surface. In some species this is true; many of the books that are written overseas about Caddis feature this skitting aspect.
The dominant skitting family that they write about is called the Limnephilidae and is found in huge numbers in America, with fifty-two genera and over three hundred species. The famous Cinnamon Sedge of England and Europe also belong to this family. Yes, we do have this family here in Australia but we only have one genus that throws only three species and it is only found in south east Australia in high mountain streams.
I am not saying that some of our Caddis do not skit but it is not as an important feature as it is in the Northern Hemisphere.
What has always been a little confusing for a lot of anglers is the key difference between a moth and caddis. Being closely related, they can at times look so much alike. The easiest way to split the difference is that moths’ wings are scaled, not hairy as is with the caddis. When you touch a terrestrial moth’s wings you get dust on your fingers, this does not happen with a caddis. Their mouths are different in that a typical moth’s mouth is coiled, as you see on a butterfly, where the caddis has a long, pointed mouth.
For many the late Gary LaFontaine introduced us to the ultimate caddis pupa, the Deep Sparkle Pupa, way back in the early 1970s in his work, Caddisflies. Throughout his life he wrote a number of books and today they are still required as ‘must haves’ for any library. In another of his books, Trout Flies, Proven Patterns, he writes of caddis pupa, 'The insects hesitate at two levels, drifting along the bottom until they inflate the pupal sheath and struggling at the surface until they break through the rubbery meniscus. Later during the actual hatch, trout concentrate more on the emergers in the film'.
Ashley Artis from Tasmania is the distributor of Spirit River here in Australia and is, himself, an expert fly tyer; in fact I believe he is one of the best in the country. Ash has introduced me to two of his favourite Caddis emergers. These patterns are so effective that they are sold on the international market through Spirit River in America. That has to be one heck of recommendation in its own right. For those who do not tie their own flies, they are available through retail outlets across the Australia that deal with Spirit River products.
Hook: Kamasan B100
Inner body: Spirit River Diamond Brite, Olive dubbing
Outer body: Spirit River Body Flair, Dark Sand
Thorax/Head: Spirit River Fine & Dry dubbing colour Callibaetis
Wing: CDC puff Natural Mallard
Notes: The lighter pattern varies only in the colour of the inner body which is Light Olive Diamond Brite dubbing.
Those who fish up around the Goulburn River would know
of Warryn Germon. Warryn is the sort of flyflicker that sits and watches. He
also targets fish and once he has found a speckled critter that takes his
fancy, he will haunt that fish until he catches it. It may take a few
nights to do that but as he has said, he has the time and why not; he lives
on the river and can fish it most evenings. With the intimate knowledge of
this river system that Warryn has, it is only expected that you would ask
him for his favourite Caddis emerger.
The true importance of emerging Caddis hit home to Warryn around 10 years ago. In fact it was the year after the big flood and the last time that Lake Eildon filled up. That year the caddis exploded and as many of the flyflickers who were around at that time would testify, it was just like the old days, fish and bugs everywhere. This pattern in the hands of an expert such as Warryn is one of the deadliest in a fly box.
The pattern that evolved from Warryn's vice is now known under two names, the Muskrat Emerger or Warryn's Caddis Emerger.
Hook: Mustad R49s Caddis hook (the hook used on this sample was a
Tiemco caddis hook)
Size: 18 to 14 with size 16 being the key size
Body: Natural muskrat fur
Ribbing: Copper wire 4 turns
Thorax: Brown hare’s fur from mask
Post: Dri-Vis white
Hackle: Grizzly saddle hackle