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This topic is about the Caddisfly Genus Brachycentrus

This prolific genus includes the popular eastern early-season Apple Caddis and Grannom hatches. Their life cycles are ideal for the fly angler, and every stage is frequent trout prey.

Note that this species changes color dramatically after it emerges, and imitations of egg-laying adults should be a different color from imitations of emergers. Emergers have pale blonde, almost off-white wings and bright green bodies, while the egg-laying adults have light brownish gray wings and medium green bodies. Read more...

There are 4 more specimens...

The Discussion

RleePFebruary 26th, 2007, 1:58 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Gonzo: Please forgive the delay in replying to your most recent post.

Frankly, I don't recall too many more details about the Oil Creek caddis in question other than that they were a pretty solid #18, had a green body that was more the color of an unripe Early Transparent apple than it was a lime green, they were morning emergers and are the dominant aquatic insect in evidence in the calander slot between the stream's strong Grannom and sulfur hatches. It has been a fair number of years since I fished these bugs on Oil Creek let alone Oil Creek at all for trout. I do fish it annually for smallmouth when I come home in the summer for a spell. The lower, wider sections of Oil Creek have excellent sight fishing for smallmouth along the banks.
FlybyknightMarch 18th, 2007, 5:27 am
Milton, DE

Posts: 82
You can not go wrong with "The Caddisfly Handbook" An Orvis Streamside Guide by Dick Pobst and Carl Richards 1998.

Lightly on the dimpling eddy fling;
the hypocritic fly's unruffled wing.
Thomas Scott
GONZOMarch 18th, 2007, 2:13 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Dick,

While I agree that The Caddisfly Handbook is useful, I'd stop short of saying that "you can not go wrong" with it. It has some minor problems related to either production or editing, and it also contains some very curious choices by the authors.

As for the production/editing problems, compare the photo of the adult Glossosoma on page 72 with the photo of the adult Micrasema rusticum on page 74--they're the same photograph, only reversed. Similarly, some of the drawings in the "Fishermans Simplified Keys" are mislabelled. I'm also troubled by the fact that the only patterns represented on the pages describing each hatch are rather fancy representations of resting adults. These are often not the best imitations to use, especially during emergence.

My biggest misgiving involves what appears to be a subtle "cover-up" by the authors. Tucked away on page 121, they mention that "Anglers in Michigan have been calling Brachycentrus lateralis (which emerges in midstream in huge numbers) Chimarra." What they don't say is that they are primarily responsible for perpetuating that misidentification through both Selective Trout and Pobst's Trout Stream Insects. (The latter is rife with errors and misidentified photographs. Compare the photo of a "Chimarra aterrima" pupa on page 27 of Trout Stream Insects with the photo of a Brachycentrus pupa on page 59 of The Caddisfly Handbook--same photo.) Their misattribution of hatching activity may even influence and spill over into LaFontaine's description of Chimarra activity in Caddisflies.

Actually, I'm quite sympathetic to both the problems of identification and production/editing issues--we all make mistakes, so what's the big deal? It's not a big deal really, but the authors appear to go out of their way to disguise their former blunders. For example, they insist upon assigning a new common name--"black caddis" or "little black caddis"--to Brachycentrus species commonly known as grannoms. Little black caddis or little black sedge is a longstanding common name for Chimarra. While they claim that the name grannom "has no specific meaning" (pg. 3), I can't see how assigning the black caddis name to species whose adult wings often range from grayish brown to pale tan and have greenish bodies adds anything but confusion to the discourse. I can, however, see how it helps to hide their mistakes. In addition, while the Chimarra species are still important and widespread (though misunderstood due to the confusion), they relegate them to minor status and very minor mention.

Again, I do think that this is a useful book. But it would have been much more useful if these problems had been addressed more carefully and straightforwardly.

BeachvidMarch 20th, 2007, 12:18 pm

Posts: 14
I was most interested in reading your response to the caddis books referrenced. You are exactly correct and have probably only mentioned part of the problems. Having worked for the past 8 years on a caddisfly DVD program I hope to come out with one day (hopefully this fall), I can only say that after having studied and having researched this probably more than double what I have had to do on mayflies and having read most every sentence in the referrenced books at least several times, there is even more confusion than you mentioned. Having said all of that, I also should say that what they have done is as good as most anything else that has been done in regards as how caddisflies relates to trout. There is just an amazing amount of "lack of information". One example: Last early September at the Firehole River in Yellowstone we discovered a large hatch of white looking caddisflies that I proceeded to catch and identify as White Millers. I was pleased and caught several to macro video that night. The next day I did a segment on fishing imitations of them which happened to work very well. However, a week or so later, I discoved in my "books" there were no "White Millers" there or even in that part of the West. I felt very stupid for doing what I had recorded on video -catching trout at the Firehole on White Miller pupa imitations.
A few months later (December) in reading the Blue Ribbon website (West Yellowstone)I discoved that they had a "new" fly for the White Miller. The explanation given was that the caddisfly had always been there but had been misidentified as one of the other long horned species -Oecetis. This is not to cut Blue Ribbon for apparantly they had been misinformed over the years also. They have confirmed the caddisfly to be a White Miller (Nectopsyche) with an emtomoligist. I guess my catching a long horned caddisfly that was white, the right size and that fit all other discriptions of the Eastern version wasn't so bad after all. I want have to distroy the video hoping no one ever sees it.
How, anyone could be confused on this one - I don't know. The White Miller and the Oecetis called the Long Horned Sedge are as different as daylight and dark or I should say brown and white.
I am not one to come down on others because I appreciate everyone's attempts and contributions at understanding more about what trout eat. I could list 25 other examples of misleading information on caddisflies. I have put a lot of effort in studing them. I fished the entire month of April last year in Colorado following the Mother's day hatch on the Arkansas River, for example. I just hope that when I finish, I manage to do better than this is a "tan one, a brown one and a black caddis". I also hope that I don't make as many mistakes as I have found. Very interesting Gonzo. Thanks for the great observations.
TaxonMarch 20th, 2007, 1:31 pm
Site Editor
Royse City, TX

Posts: 1350

From your story, I'm a bit confused as to what you have concluded about the existence of Nectopsyche in Montana. However, I wouldn't do anything rash, like burning your video for example, as both Nectopsyche albida and N. diarina are reported to reside in Montana according to NatureServe Explorer, whose caddisfly distribution records may be incomplete, but I do believe to reasonably accurate. However, whether either (of those two) Nectopsyche species resides in the Firehole River, is the other question, of course.

In any event, you might want to take a look at my N. American Caddisfly Distribution query, which greatly simplifies access to USA state and Canadian province distribution records.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
GONZOMarch 20th, 2007, 2:32 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Beachvid,

Thank you. I certainly understand your frustration, but I am also very well-acquainted with the problems and pitfalls of trying to be an amateur angling entomologist. We all stand on the shoulders of those who preceded us in this pursuit, and we can learn from their mistakes as well as their insights. Jennings, Schwiebert, Flick, Swisher/Richards, Caucci/Nastasi, LaFontaine, Pobst, Meck and others have all made mistakes and misstatements that range from minor to egregious; but that doesn't keep me from admiring their effort or acknowledging the debt that I owe to all of them. It takes a lot of stones for a non-scientist to write about a field of study that is so relatively young and still in flux. Keeping up with the revisions to the taxonomy is often challenge enough.

Having said that, it's clear that some of the authors are more careful and knowledgeable than others. For example (and just for giggles--not really to be mean-spirited), anyone who is using Trout Stream Insects for reference might want to note the following (in addition to the fact that some of the taxonomy was outdated even at the time of publication):

page 27, bottom photo--not a Chimarra pupa, but Brachycentrus.

page 31, bottom photo--not an E. dorothea nymph, but Drunella lata.

page 33, top and bottom photo--not a Chloroperlidae adult and nymph, but a small Perlid (probably Perlesta).

page 34, bottom photo--not an E. guttulata nymph, probably varia (or simulans).

page 41, White Mayfly text--only the female adults have three tails.

page 57, bottom photo--not a Trico nymph, possibly Serratella.

page 63, photo--not an inchworm, wrong number of prolegs.

page 64, top photo--not a midge larva, but a black fly larva.

page 76, photo--not an Allocapnia or a Capnia nymph, but Taeniopteryx.

page 77, top photo--not a Taeniopteryx or a Brachyptera nymph, but Pteronarcys.

page 78, bottom photo--not Isogenus or Isoperla and not a Perlodid nymph, but a Perlid (possibly Perlesta again).

While some of these mistakes may be due to poor production or editing, it does seem like a lot to lay off on the publishing house (especially in an 81 page volume that is mostly photographs). BUT, lest anyone think that I'm exempting myself from this honorable list of mistake-makers, I'd be happy (well, sort of) to detail a few of the things I'd revise or delete in my own book. We all have feet of clay, and our reach often exceeds our grasp.


BeachvidMarch 20th, 2007, 9:17 pm

Posts: 14
My conclusion was that they are in fact White Millers. I was just having a difficult time thinking I could use that segment when I could not find any written evidence of it at the time. Obviously, Blue Ribbon (Craig Mathews) figured it out too because they have developed a pattern for it. Craig seems miles ahead of others I know in the area on the subject of aquatic insects and like many of us,my guess is, thathe was probably thrown off course by others that were supposed to have known. I doubt it just showed up there one day but who knows maybe they came through the gysers or blew out of old faithful. Kidding of course.
Although I didn't catch up on the White Miller issue using your information, I obviously could and probably should have. I do use information on your site for numerous purposes and I am one that certainly appreciates your work and effort. My name is James Marsh or I am not trying to promote my site. I am just thankful for your site as well as this one which I have carefully watched for a long time. Thanks to all of you, Jason, Roger and Gonzo.
I don't think I realized that everything you read is not necessarily true until I started writing for Sport Fishing Magazine back in the 1980s. It came to me clearly one day (when I caught a mistake I had made in an article on marlin fishing - that if the error had of gotton past my desk, it would have become an "untrue" fact. Ha. My own mother told me once, that if something is in a book, it is a fact. "People can't put things in books that are not correct", she said. Bless her heart and the many, many people that agree with her.
Thanks again.
TroutnutMarch 21st, 2007, 5:27 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737

Neat videos on your site. You're welcome to mention your site when it's relevant in-topic, or to a link to it in your signature. I like to be able to associate people with their work, and I think it makes the forum more personal when people can read up on each other. Also, unlike some many webmasters, I don't worry that clicking an external link is somehow going to stop people from continuing to use my site.

What kind of equipment do you use for your close-up videos? I'm going to do some better videos for soon using a Sony HandyCam. It's not as fancy as my still macro gear, but it should show the nymph swimming motions pretty well.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
BeachvidMarch 22nd, 2007, 3:07 am

Posts: 14
Thanks Jason:
I have several 3 chip camcorders but mostly use a Sony VX 2000. I also have the new high def models but can't mix the video with SD. The photos you see on the site were created from our Sony VX 2000 camera's still storage card which is low res 72 dpi. My wife Angie has 2 Cannon film cameras with macro lenses but just uses them for shots for printing. I sometimes scan these from slide film to digital and use some at 72 for the websites I have.
The macro is a Century 58MM +7.0 Achro diopter model which works with the 2000 model sony.
As you know, you must be able to change the lens on whatever camcorder you use unless you know of some type of adapter or setup I am not familar with. I am not all that camera smart, especially when it comes to still work. I would be happy to help more if you want to advise me regarding the particular camcorder you will be using.
Also, we catch bugs year round from coast to coast. I will be happy to help you acquire whatever you need and will even FedX them to you overnight at my expense(I guess I can ship live bugs)if you want. We are currently at Gatlinburg Tennessee (Great Smoky Mountain National Park)where hatches have started going crazy. Quill Gordons, paralips, several species of stoneflies, bwo's, several caddis species, etc. We will work the East from here to New York until mid June and transfer to Yellowstone for 4 months but will actually fish all over the nation scaring every trout we can spook. Check out our new site at www.flyfishingsmoky We will have a new one soon on Yellowstone.
James Marsh
BeachvidMarch 22nd, 2007, 3:16 am

Posts: 14
Ops...I want fedX them from the park because it is illegal.I have a permit from the park service to acquire, photo and release them only. It is illegal for anyone without a permit to catch any live creature in the park, much less take them from thier habitat. Outside the park it is no problem and that is what I meant. My luck is that the feds are auditing your site and misunderstood my first email. I don't want to be involved in any congressional hearing.
TroutnutMarch 22nd, 2007, 5:25 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
Hehe, very understandable! I've run across the annoying regulations on bug collecting, too. It seems there's always an accidental prohibition of it by a law intended for some other purpose. I had to wait for a permit from the NY DEC after being bounced around the phones from place to place to figure out if it was necessary. I also caused a bit of confusion in the Wisconsin DNR, where the fishing regulations indicated my kind of bug collecting was not allowed, but the statute did not, and the license-granting people knew that but some well-intentioned enforcement people didn't. Now I carry a copy of my letter from the right DNR guy explaining why it's legal in my wallet.

I won't ask you to ship bugs to me. That promises to be very tricky and they're likely not to make it alive. I have thought about, as a distant future kind of project, designing some aerated and insulated shipping boxes that could keep the insects alive, and then sending them out to people who promise to send good samples of nymphs. But that won't be happening anytime in the next few years.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
BeachvidMarch 22nd, 2007, 10:56 pm

Posts: 14
That is good news in the sense that I am not alone in having to deal with the "gray" laws.
My offer to send bugs was made out of pure respect for your work and site than more than anything else. Just for information, and mayby in hopes that someone else (maybe an entomologist) will tune in and offer advise, I will offer some experience.
First in order to clarify - I was talking about sending the nymphal state of the insects, not adults. Mayflies will die quickly anyway and the caddis and stoneflies wouln't be happy on an airplane. I have found that all but a few of the species that require a huge amount of oxygen survive longer than most bug guys would think. By lowering the water temperature to about 36-38 degrees F., I have been able to keep most nymphs alive for 2 or 3 days and longer. As I am sure you know, cold water holds much more oxygen than warm water. The temperature is inversely proportional to the oxygen content. That is why the bugs (and fish) move to calmer water when it is cold. If they didn't they would expend more energy than they could aquire food to replace.
By using the orginal water they are found in, slowly lowering the temperature to about 36 degrees F and enclosing the water and nymphs/larvae with about 2 or 3 inches of styrofoam and sealing it with tape, you can keep them alive for a while. I have been able to do this and return them to the stream they came from in good shape. You may can tell that I "are" an engineer and not a scientist.
I am not pushing you to try shipping insects. It is a lot of work and expense to say the least. I am just seeking your other readers advise and input.
MartinlfApril 30th, 2007, 3:43 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Perhaps someone can suggest some answers to the mysterious fish behavior on Clinton County PA's Fishing Creek during Grannom time. Before the big hatch this weekend, pupa imitations fished on the bottom dead drift seemed to work pretty well, but Sunday some fishermen (myself included) found that the fish generally wouldn't touch any sort of Grannom imitation, though one could observe a sporadic splashy rise to a flitting adult here and there. A few fish were taking Blue Quills later in the day, and lately not many fish have been feeding on the surface anyway, perhaps partly due to the higher water and colder temperatures. But I wonder if the fish gorge on the pupae during the most intense drift and emergence and just are not generally interested later in the day. This is not true on the Little Juniata, though, where fish feed all day long on Grannoms sometimes. I also heard conflicting reports about Penns Creek. One angler said he did well with Grannom adults there, while others said the story was like Fishing Creek, lots of bugs and few risers. A few years ago with low water I did find a nice pod of fish feeding on Grannom adults mid-morning on Fishing Creek, but several folks have noted that it's not the best place to catch a fish on a Grannom dry fly. I also wonder if the fish there key so much more to the mayflies, especially Blue Quills, which have been coming off for days now, that many of them ignore the Grannom adults, at least for a while. Or perhaps Blue Quills taste better. Do the Fishing Creek trout switch over to Grannom adults at some point? Of course much of the day, while the Grannoms are in the air, not as many are available as during emergence or egg laying, and this is the time when many of us are scratching our heads and wishing there was more surface action. I waited until almost dark to see if there would be any spent adults eaten, but gave up, like most of the other anglers, at dusk without seeing any significant surface activity. Might egg laying and spent adults have come later, in the dark, or perhaps a day or two after? Perhaps there are just too many factors to come up with any clear conclusions, but I wonder if anyone knows. Or has relatively well-informed opinions.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
RleePMay 2nd, 2007, 11:00 am
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Louis: I always noticed the same thing with the Grannoms on Fishing Creek. But I don't really have a clue as to why it is like it is. I always put it down to limestone stream persnickityness (sp)and generally jaded and overly well-fed trout. But certainly there is more to it than that. You may have at least a portion of the answer with your comments on the paraleps. There may be a Fishing Creek trout preference for the paraleps based in the familiarity of the paralep in its multiple maanifestations over the course of the season. There are blue quills on the water in Fishing Creek from mid April until Octover with only perhaps a break for 4 or 5 weeks through May and into early June.

I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but it's as good a theory as any...:)

I know that when I lived in PA, the remedy for snotty Fishing Creek browns during the Grannom was to drive up to Galeton and fish the upper end of Pine where the trout are not nearly such prima donnas and chase adult grannoms all day often darn near jumping out onto the bank in the process. But then again, there never were that many of them over 9 inches..:)
MartinlfMay 2nd, 2007, 11:37 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
Love the response. Those Fishing Creek browns are snotty at times, and I ran into a brookie that literally gave me the fin as he gulped down a paralep the other day. I may try your remedy one day. Thanks for giving me a good laugh. Also, when do the Blue Quills pause in May? I'm thinking of heading up again, but with high waters after last night's rain may have to wait a week or so.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
RleePMay 2nd, 2007, 12:57 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
>>Also, when do the Blue Quills pause in May?>>

My recollection (having been out of the area for some time) is that the early ones, the ones we always called Adoptiva, would sputter out by like May 5th or so, a little earlier or later dependent upon weather. Then the next ones, which I think we thought were P. Mollis would usually crank up around 6/10 - 15 and from there on, it seemed like there was one paralep or another around virtually until first frost. For the summer hatches, I always thought the spinners were the most fishable stage. There were always big rafts of them trying to lay eggs on the hardpan road up though the Narrows as well on any of the rest of the streams in the greater central PA area where they were found.
MartinlfMay 3rd, 2007, 5:11 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3233
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOMay 13th, 2007, 8:47 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681

As usual, Lee's recollection of PA hatches is excellent. The early, pre-pause paralep is adoptiva and the nearly continuous post-pause hatching is easy to understand because PA has eight other Paraleptophlebia species, many with overlapping emergences. (The mid-morning hatches that start around the second or third week in June are often comprised of strigula, mollis, and guttata.)
AndygMarch 23rd, 2008, 2:55 pm
Eastern Sussex co., NJ

Posts: 13
Haven't been there in a number of years, however, the Loyalsock above Williamsport had fantastic apple caddis hatches.
Bobv96June 11th, 2008, 8:42 am
Catawissa, PA

Posts: 3
I am an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer. Much of what I have learned about caddisflies comes directly from the caddis bible (Caddisflies, by LaFontaine). I am not a bug person but recognize the importance of learning the scientific names of all flies on streams that I fish.

The stream I most often fish is Big Pine creek(PA). I was wondering if there is a sight that has the species list for streams in Pa? If not, can anyone who has fished the stream give me some advice. I am sick of hearning generic terms like little black caddis, tan caddis,and green caddis at the local fly shops because that does not help me to tie the correct sparkle pupa or emerger imitations. Thank you for any help you can give.

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