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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 3 more specimens...

The Discussion

GooseSeptember 26th, 2006, 6:39 am
Posts: 77Hi All! I was reading through the site and I happened upon the Grannom (Apple) Caddis page, which made me wonder. Here in PA it is called The Mother's Day Caddis, I believe. Adults, which trout rarely feed on, are imitated with black or peacock herl bodies. The pupa, or emrgers I guess, we imitate with a wet fly. It has a peacock herl body and brown hackle for the legs, etc. in a size 14. Is this the same Grannon as the apple Grannom? Just curious!
I still get confused by these caddis and I'm trying to narrow down a list of caddis patterns and colors to cover the largest percentage of the hatches throughout the year.
TroutnutSeptember 26th, 2006, 7:30 am
Administrator
Fairbanks, AK

Posts: 2220
Gonzo should be able to help you out with this one. He helped me straighten out the Brachycentrus pages recently, and he's from PA. I've heard of the Mother's Day Caddis too -- I would like to know which of these species it's associated with. From your description of the patterns, I don't think it's the same one as the Apple Caddis.
Jason Neuswanger
The Troutnut
GONZOSeptember 30th, 2006, 5:47 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Goose-

Grannom, American Grannom, Shadfly, Apple Caddis, Mother's Day Caddis, and Black Caddis are all common names applied to Brachycentrus species. Mother's Day Caddis is the most common Western nickname for Brachycentrus occidentalis, a Western "grannom," but I have also heard this name applied generally to "grannoms" here in the East.

In PA, it is useful to think of "dark grannoms" and "light grannoms." The species your flies are imitating are more typical of the dark grannoms. The "apple caddis" is a light grannom. Most of the important (PA) Brachycentrus species have overlapping hatch periods, so either dark or light imitations (or both) can be called for, depending on the stream.

Here's my current breakdown for important PA species:

Brachycentrus numerosus--Penn's Creek Caddisfly, Dark Grannom, Dark Shadfly; adults have dark-mottled wings and dark blackish green bodies; pupae usually dark with green lateral stripes and dark wingcases.

Brachycentrus lateralis--Striped Grannom, Dark Grannom, Black Caddis; adults have dark wings and pupae are typically dark olive with tan lateral stripes and dark wingcases.

Brachycentrus nigrosoma--Little Dark Grannom, Little Black Caddis; adults/pupae are smaller and darker than numerosus.

Brachycentrus appalachia--Apple Caddis, Light Shadfly, Light Grannom; adults have very light tannish or grayish wings (almost white when freshly emerged) and apple green bodies; pupae are apple green with tan wingcases.

(Brachycentrus solomoni and incanu are also found in PA. B. solomoni is very similar to numerosus, and incanu is rather rare.)

Most "grannom" activity in PA occurs from mid-April to mid-May. During that time, if you carry imitations of dark and light grannoms (adults and pupae) in sizes #14-16, you should have most bases covered.

You are right that the adult imitations are seldom very good during the emergence (pupa or emerger patterns are best). During the egg-laying activity, however, they are often very effective. The fish may prefer skittered, dead-drifted, or wet adult imitations depending upon the concentrations around their lies.
MartinlfNovember 4th, 2006, 7:26 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2260
Gonzo, I've seen apple caddis on the Delaware, but nowhere else. Is there anyplace near central PA where these bugs hatch?

Goose, and others, Bill posted the following on the Spruce Creek Fly Company site under Fly Tying and Patterns--Oh, checking for the title, I see the omnipresent Gonzo has already seen and replied to this post--for those who haven't it may prove interesting to go to the original source to see the entire thread.

Bill's post from SCFC:

Speaking of Grannoms, the first fishable hatch (FFH) on the "j" [Little Juniaa] occurred on April 15th last year while it was on April 11th the year before. (make your plans now).

This is the most exciting hatch of the year for me for several reasons:

First, it comes early, when we are starved for top action and it's on the entire "j", even above Tyrone.

Second, it sometimes lasts for two weeks or even more, taking us right into the early Sulphurs. (FFH 06, May 2nd).

Third, Grannoms give you all day fishing. Starting with larva/pupas in the morning, emergers around 10 am, adults dry on the surface mid-morning til noon, soft hackles for drowned adults through the day, then a return in the late afternoon/early evening of the skittering, oviposting adults and then finally spent flies at dark.

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

--Fred Chappell
GONZONovember 5th, 2006, 8:19 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hey Louie!

It's hard not to be "omnipresent" when you scatter your questions in three different threads! :) Just teasing, pal--I know I get carried away sometimes. (It's an unfortunate consequence of having too much time on my hands at the moment, and I enjoy the cyber-companionship and distraction.) Anyway, we have apple caddis (B. appalachia) right here in Cumberland County. They don't seem to hatch in the same density as I've seen on Pocono or Catskill streams, but I might not have hit a peak day. So many hatches, so little time (astream)!
MartinlfNovember 6th, 2006, 9:06 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2260
Hey, I'm delighted to have you omnipresent. I've been posting a lot myself, and for the same reasons. In fact, I posted right through an hour I had set aside for grading papers the other day, and now I'm behind. Anyway, thanks for the answers. As you see from Goose's posts and others, many of us have a number of questions, and it's so helpful and encouraging to get a bit more clarity on them.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
FlagsDecember 16th, 2006, 6:13 am
Northwestern Pennsylvania

Posts: 14
Gonzo: I enjoy you posts, thank you!
YOu discuss Pennsylvania Caddis in great detail but I would like to know if you have any personal experienc in fishing Oil Creek ( near Titusville, PA . It is a grand stream and has a very diverse insect population, caddis being one of the major insects. Hydropsyche,Brachycentrus and Nectopsyhce being very prolific on this waatershed really makes for an interesting season.
Do you have any observations on OIl Creek?

Regards,
Flags

Stay focused on what is important in life...........
BrettDecember 21st, 2006, 12:02 pm
Martinsburg, WV

Posts: 15
Gonzo is a real source of bug info! My own limited experience with the grannom family of caddis comes from the Cumberland Tailwater in southcentral Kentucky. There the hatch of {i}Brachycentrus numerosus{/i} begins in early May (sometimes late April) and may continue through mid-June. It is also referred to as the "Mother's Day" hatch on the river since the peak weeks are usually mid-May with decent activity continuing through Memorial Day Weekend. Here are a few key observations from that river.

1. Emerging caddis often have a lighter-colored wing, somewhere between light blue dun and blonde. Thus, for hatching flies, I use a hackleless blonde elk hair caddis #14-#16 with an apple green body. Egg-layers will have a greyer wing, but still possess the insect-green body with black segmentation.

2. Skittering your dry fly, especially if there is a chop on the water, is a good tactic to encourage strikes. Pray for a windy day, as fishing dries on glassy clear still water produces few strikes.

3. Generally my best fishing during the "hatch" is done using #14-16 green-bodied wet flies swung downstream on 5X tippet to feeding fish. This simple, but deadly tactic usually accounts for my largest fish during the hatch. One year while fishing the hatch I kept a fat 19-inch rainbow for the campfire. It had over 600 caddis emergers in its stomach. I have them preserved in alcohol in a jar on my desk. You can count 'em if you like.

4. As you walk/drift down the stream check branches that hang over the water for these guys. They'll be underneath in the shadows (they hate the sunny side). If I'm in my canoe, I whack an occasional "sweeper" limb to see if any fly off when disturbed.

The B. numerosus is well-named. It's emergences are often huge and long-lasting. It seems to particularly like our cold tailwaters in the Southeast. These are often big rivers. Look for larvae in large, broad riffles where they attach their inch-long tubular cases to rocks and logs. They can use their silk to "rappel" from one attachment site to another with better flow. How many other aquatic insects are cool enough to go rappeling?
Brett
Novice entomologist, fly-tyer and photographer
TroutnutDecember 21st, 2006, 8:44 pm
Administrator
Fairbanks, AK

Posts: 2220
It had over 600 caddis emergers in its stomach. I have them preserved in alcohol in a jar on my desk.


Now that's my kind of trophy!
Jason Neuswanger
The Troutnut
GONZODecember 26th, 2006, 1:55 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Flags,

I haven't had the pleasure of fishing Oil Creek, but it does appear to share some characteristics with some of the other medium-to-large "marginal" or "recovering" trout streams in the state. Like the Tulpehocken and the Little Juniata, caddisflies are very important, but most of the classic early season mayflies are not (Hendricksons, quill Gordons, blue quills). In some ways, this simplifies early season choices until the more tolerant and adaptable "sulphurs" make their appearance.

I don't see B. numerosus listed for your area, but the very similar B. solomoni is listed (along with B. appalachia, lateralis, and nigrosoma). All of these "grannoms" should comprise some significant early season opportunities on Oil.

I'll second Brett's observations on fishing them. (He fishes numerosus, but the information is applicable to most grannom species.) The color change from freshly emerged adults to "aged" adults is something I've mentioned in another thread, and you can see a good example of this by turning to the Brachycentrus appalachia page and comparing the color of the freshly emerged adult (underwater shot) to the aged adult. During the actual emergence, I usually find a good pupa pattern to be the most effective fly, but the grannoms offer better dry-fly opportunities than do many other caddisfly species (especially during their egg-laying activity).

I, too, have had some wonderful experiences with a skittered dry grannom at times (a Henryville Special, Elk-Hair Caddis, or my own Fluttering Sedge in appropriate colors), but it is not a totally reliable phenomenon. Spent or even wet versions of the adults are often more successful. This preference can vary from one day to another, from one spot to another, or even from one fish to another. The rise form will usually tip the fish's hand.

In addition to the variety of grannoms, your area hosts a great selection of Hydropsychidae. Common Ceratopsyche species such as bronta, morosa, sparna, and walkeri, and Hydropsyche species including betteni, hageni, brunneipennis, and scalaris are all recorded for your area. These "spotted sedge" species have tan, cinnamon, or mottled greyish-brown wings and body colors that vary from yellow or yellowish-green to cinnamon or greyish-tan. Again, I find a matching pupa pattern to be best for the emergence, but wet flies (for diving adults) or dry flies (for exhausted or spent adults) can be useful during egg-laying. Due to the prevalence of the Hydropsychidae throughout much of the season, an adult dry used as a searching fly (especially along stream edges and under overhanging vegetation where the adults drop down to drink) can turn up a few fish most anytime.

I'm especially interested in your mention of Nectopsyche. The only species of this genus that I see listed for your area is exquisita, which is one of the more colorful "white millers." Their cream-colored wings are marked with bands of tan and punctuated by four dark spots along the top rear of the (closed) outer wings. Their bodies also tend to be darker (more olive) than the cream or light green bodies of other common PA Nectopsyche. You may also have other Nectopsyche species that have yet to be recorded. I'm curious to know what kind of fishing opportunities these provide on Oil.

The catch with many of the later-emerging Nectopsyche species is that they frequent larger, warmer stretches and water temperatures are not always conducive to trout activity. I suspect that the dwindling supply of stocked trout in Oil could also be a factor with regard to this hatch, but I'd be interested to learn about any successes you've had while fishing this hatch.

I hope this information is useful. Let me know how it gels with your experiences on Oil Creek.

Best,
Gonzo
FlagsJanuary 4th, 2007, 10:42 am
Northwestern Pennsylvania

Posts: 14
Gonzo: I just saw your reply but I am at work now and do not have time to review it in a relaxed manner. I will go over it and discuss things with you though. It is supposed to rain and snow this weekend so I wont be going to Oil Creek.

I did mention Nectopsyche but I may have a wrond identity on this one. I am looking into that.

Here is a link to a web site started by Dr. Masteller of Penn State which you might find interesting. http://paaquaticfliesrus.bd.psu.edu

Thanks for your interest and ideas.....

Regards,

Flags
Stay focused on what is important in life...........
FlagsJanuary 19th, 2007, 9:43 am
Northwestern Pennsylvania

Posts: 14
Gonzo: YOU are quite astute on catching my mention of the Nectopsyche. I inadvertantly implied that I have seen it in Oil Creek when in actuality I overgeneralized areas and streams. The closest I can find it is in French Creek and most of the waters around Erie, PA as well as some in Slippery Rock Creek. Sorry for the error.

Tight Lines.........

Flags
Stay focused on what is important in life...........
MartinlfJanuary 19th, 2007, 11:55 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2260
I am curious about the color of the emerging Grannom pupa, especially as this relates to central Pennsylvania streams such as Fishing Creek near Lamar, Penns Creek, and the Little Juniata. Many in this area use peacock bodied wet flies to imitate the pupa, while the photo I have been able to locate shows different colors:

http://users.myexcel.com/dolfnlvr/Grannom/grannom.html

In addition I have seen descriptions of black pupa with fluorescent green showing through underneath, and this has been described as females with eggs.

Does anyone know of other photos or descriptions, especially for the central PA bugs? It'll be a while before I can do any seining of these critters, and I'm trying to settle on colors to tie up some for now.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GONZOJanuary 19th, 2007, 12:13 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Flags,

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Nectopsyche were found in Oil (particularly in the lower reaches). Coincidentally, I just recently noticed that Charlie Meck mentions that "tan- and cream-bodied" caddisflies were important in May on Oil Creek. Many of his hatch references are impossible to nail down because he mostly uses common (or color-based) names in his stream chapters. The tan-bodied caddisflies are likely to be Hydropsychidae, but the cream-bodied flies are more of a puzzle. Hydatophylax argus hatches around late May or June, but it is a giant (over 25mm) and I would think that would have been mentioned in his reference. Some Nectopsyche spp. have creamish bodies, though most PA species hatch later in the season. I'm told that Nectopsyche albida hatches earlier (especially in ponds), so that might be a possibility, but there's far too little information in Meck to even hazard an educated guess.

Best,
Gonzo

PS--Louis, check the SCFC site. ("In anticipation of Grannoms")
FlagsJanuary 21st, 2007, 2:26 am
Northwestern Pennsylvania

Posts: 14
Hello Gonzo:

Yes, I have seen Meck's commentary on OIl Creek and he may be correct about Hydatophylax argus. ( I am not knowledgeable enough to comment as I am a real neophyte when it comes to taxonomy ) I do think though that he may be getting some of his factual information from Mike Laskowski at Oil Creek Outfitters. ( He does mention him in his book "Trout Streams and Hatches of Pennsylvania". )
Mike IS the local expert on that stream and a great source for anyone going to fish the area ( Caldwell, Pine, Oil, Sandy, Little Sandy etc. ). He will share his knowledge and expertise and has research and photos of the insects of which he speaks.

As far as patterns go he has them down pat. One thing he and I knock around, especially with the Caddis, is the signifigance between pattern vs. technique and combinations thereof.

This past April, May, and June I had about 25 days in on Oil Creek and found that my most productive Caddis imitations were LaFontaine style ( brown and yellow and brown ang green ) as well as a CDC Grannom that Mike ties. On occasion I only used one fly all day long. On other occasions there were multiple hatches of caddis and BWO (#20 and #22 ) so it was a real good year for me.

If you have any particular questions about Oil Creek you could email Mike at OilCreek@juno.com and I am sure he will engage in any topic.

Talk to you later.............

Regards:
Flags


Stay focused on what is important in life...........
RleePFebruary 21st, 2007, 6:25 am
One Mile South of Lake LeBoeuf

Posts: 228
Just a few comments relative to the earlier discussion of Brachycentrus caddis in Pennsylvania, in Oil Creek in the specific.

The caddis that dominates the period around Mother's Day on Oil Creek with strong, sustained emergences is not a Brachycentrus. In taxonomic terms, I don't know what it is. But I know it isn't a grannom.

It is smaller for one thing. Adults are an #18 or a very anemic #16 at best. The body color is a pretty bright green.

So, while there are very significant Brachycentrus emergences on Oil Creek, this bug is something different and it's emergence window on the water is a couple weeks after the last Grannoms have disappeared..
TaxonFebruary 21st, 2007, 8:50 am
Site Editor
Mercer Island, WA

Posts: 1151
Lee-

My guess is that the caddis you describe as being on Oil Creek around Mother's day (2nd Sunday in May) may be Little Sister Sedge (Cheumatopsyche), which would have a green to greenish brown body. There are (21) Cheumatopsyche species in Pennsylvania, but given the size you describe, it may well be C. miniscula, whose males average 6-8 mm. in length.
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
GONZOFebruary 22nd, 2007, 8:34 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Lee,

Roger's guess is a good possibility. It may also be a Micrasema hatch. While this little relative of the grannoms (I call it the weenom) is not well-known and little is written about it in the fly-fishing literature, it can be important on many PA streams. We often have a strong emergence of one of the Micrasema species (possibly charonis, but I'm not sure) around the time you describe on the Brodheads. (By the way, #16-18 is not out of range for some Brachycentrus species, but most PA species hatch in the mid-April to early May period.)
RleePFebruary 22nd, 2007, 8:52 am
One Mile South of Lake LeBoeuf

Posts: 228
>(By the way, #16-18 is not out of range for some Brachycentrus species, but most PA species hatch in the mid-April to early May period.)>

Yes. I learned this when we came to the Midwest a few years ago and I began to do most of my fishing in the Driftless Region. (The fishing isn't bad once you get by the angry locals with guns, roving packs of rabid coydogs, wild parsnip that can cause hideous and disfiguring chemical burns and the horrible drudgery of one 12"-14" wild brown after another with barely any relief whatsoever...:)) But I'm a native Pennsylvanian by birth and tromped the better part of the NW, NC and SC regions of the state flat for a good many years fishing. And I do not recall any significant Brachycentrus after the late April swarms of the "small 14, big 16" Grannoms. But in SW Wisconsin and NE Iowa, while this same grannom is the main event, there seems (I'm not all that entomologically savvy) to be a progression of smaller Brachycentrus down to a real #18 that last well into June in some years. Or at least, that is what they seem to be.
GONZOFebruary 22nd, 2007, 4:06 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Lee,

Most of the grannoms I fish are larger as well, though this is primarily numerosus and appalachia. B. nigrosoma can be smaller, but I don't think this is the species in question. (Even though it is found in the Oil Creek area.)

By the way, I did a quick check of the distribution records for Venango County. I found 5 Cheumatopsyche species listed (campyla, gracilis, gyra, halima, and wrighti), but no record of Micrasema. (Though Micrasema could be involved in the later, smaller "grannom" hatches you're seeing in your new stomping grounds.) These records are not definitive, but I'd have to say that Roger's guess about Cheumatopsyche is probably better than mine.

Still, size, body color, and even emergence timing are not a lot to go on. Can you provide any other observations about wing shape/color or perhaps habits?
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