October Caddis Hatches

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October Caddis Hatches
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October Caddis Hatches
October Caddis Adult. Photo: Mark Bachmann
Big fish on the surface is the attraction.
The Pacific Northwest has some spectacular giant caddis hatches. Most of these hatches are in the fall, but some cold spring creeks have hatches through much of the winter and into the spring as well. The fat bodies of winged adults are in colors that range from light tanish orange to yellowish orange to bright orange to burnt orange. Wings are usually gray but there are also brown tones. There are apparently a number of different sub-species in what is commonly called October Caddis or Fall Caddis or Giant Caddis.  Most belong to the family Dicosmoecus.
They range from California to Alaska. 
This steelhead ate an October Caddis dry fly. Photo: Patty Barnes
The larva of these giant caddis build tube-like cases.  During the winter months when the larva are tiny, these cases are made from vegetable matter attached to a foundation of silk.  As the larva grows in size through the spring months they abruptly switch to cases made from small gravel.  You can observe these larvae crawling around on the streambed dragging their cases with them as the forage for algae and decaying plant and animal matter.  During the the summer months of June and July Dicosmoecus larvae are important trout foods.  Daily behavioral drift cycles occur in the early afternoon, usually peaking about 4:00 P.M.  They are one of the few families of caddis that leave their cases before behavioral drift cycles.  This makes them extremely enticing to large trout.  In August these larvae seal themselves in their cases and by September they are ready to emerge as adults.
October Caddis Cased Larva (under water). Photo: Mark Bachmann
Emergence occurs from late afternoon until dark.  The pupae usually swim and crawl to shallow water, but some emerge mid-river. Many actually crawl from the water to hatch on rocks along the shore.  Even when adults are not active, you can tell if October Caddis have been hatching by observing their shucks on stream margin rocks.  If prospecting with a dry October Caddis pattern doesn't turn up any interest, try a pupa pattern.  Pumpkin orange color is usually the best.   Try fishing your pupa suspended from a dead drifted dry fly.  This technique can be very productive late in the evening when both egg laying adults and hatching pupas are both active. Steelhead as well as trout can be fooled by this trick.
Egg laying occurs in the afternoon and evening.  The big fate juicy females flop around on the water exuding their eggs.  They are a prime attraction for fish of all sizes.  Fishing a big orange body dry fly can be productive any time of day if you fish in shady spots under overhanging trees.  Some caddis are active during moderate temperature days.  Most of the big caddis rest in the shade of vegetation throughout hot days.  These caddis are perfectly camouflaged to hide during the day and wait for evening flights.

October Caddis, Dry
October Caddis is the big fall hatch. This pattern has a tightly stacked elk hair wing for maximum floatation and feelers for realism.
Item Description Size Price To Top
11461 Sloan's Paralyzer October Caddis, Dry 10 3 for $6.25

Tied Down Caddis, Orange
Sometimes called the Full Back Caddis, it is effective for representing both large caddis and stone flies.
Item Description Size Price To Top
5070-06 Tied Down Caddis, Orange 6 3 for $5.25

Improved Sofa Pillow
This fly is generally use as a stone fly imitation, however it is also a very good October Caddis.
Item Description Size Price To Top
6075-08 Improved Sofa Pillow 8 3 for $5.25

Tungsten Bead Head Pupa
Trout and steelhead will target October Caddis pupas. The pupal phase of this life cycle happens inside of a stone encrusted case which is attached to the under side of stream bed rocks. At emergence, the pupa cuts its way out of the case and drifts along the bottom of the river until it reaches a place where it can crawl out of the water. Fish usually target the pupas as they are drifting along the bottom of the river.
Item Description Size Price To Top
18120 Tungsten Bead Head October Caddis Pupa 6 3 for $5.85

18121 Tungsten Bead Head October Caddis Pupa 8 3 for $5.85 

18122 Tungsten Bead Head October Caddis Pupa 10 3 for $5.85 


Oct'phat Ass Oct'phat Ass
Heavily weighted October Caddis pupa pattern commonly used for both trout and steelhead. October Caddis usually crawl out on mid stream boulders or stream side vegetation to hatch. However a long drift period can happen before they crawl out of the water. Emergence usually happens strongest during low light conditions.
Item Description Size Price To Top
ST195 Cone Head Oct'phat Ass October Caddis Pupa 8 3 for $5.85


Peaking Cased Caddis Larva
Trout often intercept cased caddis larvae as they are drifting down the river.
Item Description Size Price To Top
9115-06 Peaking Cased Caddis Larva 6 3 for $5.25
9115-08 Peaking Cased Caddis Larva 8 3 for $5.25
9115-10 Peaking Cased Caddis Larva 10 3 for $5.25

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Six Compartments (sizes vary).
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Item Description Price To Top
M-5500 Red Label Fly Box $4.95
FREEFLYBOX Red Label Fly Box with 2-dozen flies, until December 31, 2009. FREE

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty