Longhorn Caddis

Common Names: Longhorn sedge, longhorned case maker
Scientific Names: family Leptoceridae; the genus Oecetis is often encountered

Members of this family have long antennae--hence their common name. The longhorn sedge (the genus Oecetis) is the family member that you will encounter most frequently on Western lakes.

Larvae live in narrow cases and crawl or swim--after a fashion--in search of food near weed beds. Thus they are vulnerable to trout, and it is possible to imitate their behavior with a slow retrieve or a lift-and-settle presentation near the bottom. Unfortunately it is difficult to do this without getting hung up on the bottom or in the weeds.

A pupa pattern can be simply cast and slowly retrieved; use an intermediate line so the fly is subsurface. However, there are several more effective presentations. One is to cast a lightly-weighted Soft Hackle and let it slowly sink. Don't touch it! Just let it settle for 10 or 20 seconds, then slowly draw it towards you until it is near the surface. Repeat this lift-and-settle process until you have retrieved the fly and can cast again. Another presentation is to cast the fly on a short line and let it settle to near the bottom; then draw the fly steadily to the surface in a near-vertical retrieve.

Adults can be found on the surface, and females will swim below the surface to lay their eggs. A dry fly works in the former case; try an Elk Hair Caddis with two long hairs tied in at the head to imitate the long antennae of the natural. Give the fly an occasional small twitch (very occasional; very small) as it rests on the surface. To imitate the latter case of egg-laying females, try a Diving Caddis pattern presented with a slow retrieve.

Characteristics

LARVA COLOR: Black or brown

PUPA SIZE: 7-15 mm

PUPA COLOR: Black or brown body

ADULT SIZE: 7-15 mm

ADULT COLOR: Wings--black or brown. Body--Black or brown

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Cases can be made of different material, depending on genus. Antennae of adults are very long. Case, body, wing, and shroud colors can vary, so it's always best to check a natural insect where you are fishing. Body and wing colors will darken when the insect is ready to lay eggs.

Click on the fly name to see the pattern. Click on the presentation to learn how to do it.

STAGE PATTERN SIZE/
COLOR
PRESENTATION WHERE
Pupa Soft Hackle 8-16
Body: black, brown, white
verticle retrieve, slow retrieve Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Sparkle Pupa 8-16
Body: black, brown, white; Shroud: tan
verticle retrieve, slow retrieve Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Adult Elk Hair Caddis 10-16
Body: black, brown, white, cream
chuck-and-sit Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Parachute Caddis 10-16
Body: black, brown, white, cream
chuck-and-sit Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
X Caddis 10-16
Body: black, brown, white, cream
chuck-and-sit Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Egg-layer Diving Caddis 10-16
Body: black, brown, white, cream
slow retrieve Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Elk Hair Caddis 10-16
Body: black, brown, white, cream
chuck-and-sit Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
Parachute Caddis 10-16
Body: black, brown, white, cream
chuck-and-sit Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers
X Caddis 10-16
Body: black, brown, white, cream
chuck-and-sit Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers