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> > Caddis fishing in Northern Michigan

BcvizinaFebruary 16th, 2010, 2:24 pm
Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
I've done quite a bit of reading on mayflies, but I am now looking into caddisflys. I faced a problem immediately on decipher local hatch charts into scientific names. It seems nearly impossible to find out what type of caddis will be hatching on my home waters. Also, the change in the population from seemingly similar rivers of caddisflys throws me off a little more.

I am looking to fish mainly mayflies, but if there are also prolific hatches of caddisflys, I want to fish these hatches as well. Does anybody have an emergence chart of caddisflies with scientific names? Fishing charts or reports from the Au Sable and Manistee, and up to the tip of the mitt. What type of intensity do these hatches bring about?

TaxonFebruary 16th, 2010, 3:28 pm
Site Editor
Royse City, TX

Posts: 1350

Some of the more prolific hatches of caddisflies have common names assigned at the genus level. I believe these were assigned by Gary LaFontaine in his book, Caddisflies.

Just click Adult Caddisfly Identification, and then click the Lookup button without entering anything in the selection boxes, and all those genera will display.

Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
BcvizinaFebruary 16th, 2010, 6:41 pm
Northern Michigan

Posts: 30
Alright thanks, now all my problems are solved. Great site by the way. Lots of great information.

Thanks again,

Jmd123February 16th, 2010, 10:41 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Brent, my advice would be to tie a variety of colors in Elkhair Caddis from sizes 10 to 20. Pure white, cream/straw, light grey, light tan, medium grey, medium brown, and a few little black ones (some with grey wings) should cover most if not all of what you will encounter in northern MI. I never encountered many on the Maple but the Rifle has prolific caddis hatches all summer long, skimming over the water as dusk sets in.

As the fellow I learned fly tying from once said, "Caddisflies are the cottontail bunnies of the aquatic world." Meaning, they are everywhere and it pays to have some in your box at all times. The Elkhair Caddis has been a killer for me over the years and not just for trout - they are great for sunfish and smallies in warmwaters, too. They do not get the attention of the big mayfly hatches - and nowhere near the amount of information is available about them - but there have been many times when caddis hatches were the order of the day and the fish will go for them bigtime!

Good luck and see you up there sometime this season! Especially if I move to the Tawas area - my old boss said he might be able to hire me in the next couple of months...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnFebruary 17th, 2010, 7:22 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Google "Michigan Emergence Chart" (Damn it!) and pick the first one that pops up there. It's subtitled "Trails to Trout" or something like that. It has the common name and scientific name of mayflies, caddis, and stones...It also has the times of year to expect them to be hatching and the time of day even. It even lists the U.P.

If you are just starting out and tying your own start with the major hatches listed and you will have to be observant for the off species not listed on the chart. This will give you more than enough to keep you busy.

You should start a streamside journal and take some time out from fishing when you are on the stream to check out and record what you find. I have these things from the first year I fished...As all of you know I have a problem with being long winded and need a good editor, but I still get a kick at some of the stuff I wrote down when I was first starting out. I have used those small surveyors books. They are usually hardbound, small, and orange or yellow.

Keep your journal in a ziplock and take a water proof pen maybe even a measuring tool. Always carry a small aquarium net to help nab the naturals from the surface. I used to carry those little film containers and keep a bug here and there for the bench later. If you write this down you will have an idea of what's happening on your home water the next time you show up there. (Gary Borger actually had a color chart that you could carry in your vest and you could place the natural next to the color that it matched and write this number in your journal and match it at the bench later).

Don't get fixated on every bug you see or even their names...You can figure that out later. If it's a size #20 green bodied caddis with grayish wings and you actually saw enough of them that the fish were on them...What more do you need to know?! Put a #20 in your vise and have at it...There is nothing like figuring out what's going on, on your own, and taking your creation out for a test drive and have it catch a trout.

The guys on this site with a scientific background will tell you that observation, testing your observations, and being able to dublicate your findings is what it's all about. The "bug" side of things is just another aspect of our sport that makes it more interesting than napping on the bank waiting for your glob of worms to be sucked in and your bobber to sink...While you are at it pick yourself up a good Michigan bird book...You will find some interesting critters hanging around streams and they are not all wearing vests...

I have had problems over the years with carrying a bit too much stuff in my vest. It was a standing joke around the Au Sable that my back surgeries were not an accident. I have pared this back a little and every angler needs to figure out what he thinks he'll need on his own. This is a good job for mid-winter.

I used to have breakfast and hit the stream and hike for miles until midnight...I needed more shit in my vest than some guy that fishes for shorter periods of time and never leaves the access site. I actually have an entomology kit I purchased from a supply house! Brent...I guess there's just not enough time in the day to get done all the play we would like!

Good luck! Enjoy it! Don't over think it!


Brent...I have fished with some of the best anglers around and have sat with them on the banks like the traditional Brits of old waiting on the "feed" and had some young kid coming downstream, who knew jack-shit about what he was doing, who was just pounding them with an old Wooley Bugger a friend tied on for him...That's what's great about this sport...There is room for just about everyone's fantasies about how this old world works and it does work, just enough times, to convince us we are on to something...Even when we are flat out wrong in our conclusions!
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123February 17th, 2010, 10:32 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
GEEEZ, Spence! Don't your fingers hurt after all that typing??


No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TNEALFebruary 18th, 2010, 5:15 am

Posts: 278
enter michigan fly hatches in your search bar... you will find fairly reliable hatch charts that way... our caddis hatches are prolific and produce both numbers and size of fish during the day,, have fun..
OldredbarnFebruary 18th, 2010, 11:18 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2608

Check your private emails on this site. Click (my home) up next to where you log-in and out. I have left you a couple emails there.

For those of you from elsewhere, other than Michigan, Mr. Neal here is one of "THE" tyer's of the old traditional Au Sable style flies up in Grayling (ground zero for Michigan angler's). For decades his wonderful flies have sold around Grayling in wooden glass topped display cases from Grayling to Lovell's up on the North Branch.

Tim and Jerry Regan are the two that are keeping the old flame burning for a tradition that really needs to be written down somewhere! So many have creept through the Grayling area over the years and scattered our unique tying style to the four winds and presented it as their own...In my humble opinion...

The Borcher's Drake, the Robert's Yellow Drake, the Madsen's Skunk and Barber Pole, the Harris Special (a really over looked stone fly pattern IMHO outside of Michigan), just to name a few.

It's good to see him nosing around Jason's site...I was beginning to think that Jon and I were the only Michiganians here!


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123February 18th, 2010, 6:01 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
That's "Michiganders", Spence!


No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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