While still living in Pennsylvania early in my fly fishing career, my father and I rented a small cabin along the Beaverkill River in New York during the middle of May. During one day early in our week we encountered a dense grannom emergence, and I managed to catch some fish on a dark cahill wet fly, but I felt like a better imitation would have resulted in more fish landed.
When I returned to the cabin that evening, I pulled out my recently purchased Caddisflies by Gary Lafontaine and researched what patterns imitate grannom pupa. This was my introduction to the bright green emergent caddis pupa. I must have had fly tying materials with me, as I remember producing some caddis pupa as well as some egg laying adult patterns, and the next day I arrived at the river prepared. That following afternoon I was armed with the bright green caddis pupa, and I experienced one of the best days of fishing in the east prior to my relocation to Colorado. I recall two doubles where I had two fish on my line at the same time.
After I moved to Colorado, I continued to knot a bright green caddis on my line whenever I spotted a fair amount of adults in the air or in the streamside vegetation. I discovered that the sparkle yarn pattern was just as productive in the west as it was in the east.
Historically I’ve experienced the most success with the bright green caddis on the Arkansas River in April and early May when the grannom hatch is at its peak. I fish the pupa on a tandem nymph rig with a split shot and impart various types of movement to the fly in the hours before emergence or egg laying, and this approach yielded a significant amount of success. Unfortunately due to unusually cold high murky water conditions during the spring of 2014, I never encountered the caddis pupa friendly conditions that I seek.
I did have some decent success on the Eagle River in early July during the post runoff time period. During one outing with my friend Todd I was landing quite a few nice fish over a short period of time so I gave him some to test. Todd quickly became a huge fan of the bright green caddis pupa.
I counted my stash of bright green caddis pupa and discovered that I had 28 carry overs in my bin, so I planned to tie an additonal twelve to bring my inventory level to 40. I’m happy to report that this goal has been reached, and I anxiously anticipate a more productive caddis season on the Arkansas River.