How to Fish With the Caddis Pupa

by Nathan Fisher
Caddis fly pupae are a prime food source for hungry fish.

Caddis fly pupae are a prime food source for hungry fish.

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Throughout all of its phases of development, the caddis fly is a preferred food source for many species of fish. Used to imitate the insect at the stage of development between a larva and adult, the caddis pupa is fished as a wet fly meant to simulate the moment when the caddis fly emerges from its underwater cocoon. Fishing with a caddis pupa imitation, when the flies are hatching, can be highly productive; fish will often feed on caddis pupae to the exclusion of all other food sources.

Items you will need

  • Monofilament leader
  • Sinking fly line
  • Fly rod
  • Caddis pupa fly
  • Scissors
Step 1

Tie a 4-foot leader of 6-lb. test monofilament line to the end of an 8 or 9-weight sinking fly line on a matching weight fly rod.

Step 2

Wet the end of the monofilament leader with saliva, to help the line slide tight when tying off. Tie the fly line to the leader with a double square knot. Tie a caddis fly pupa imitation to the end of the leader with a triple half-hitch knot. Pull the knots tight and trim the tag ends of the lines to 1/4 inch with a pair of fishing shears.

Step 3

Examine the surface of the water along the edges of lakes and rivers where there is an abundance of aquatic vegetation, such as weeds, reeds or cattails. Concentrate on areas where the dull green cocoon casings are floating on the surface of the water, indications of hatching caddis fly pupae that will have attracted fish.

Step 4

Cast the line above the vegetation. Allow the fly to drift naturally or work the fly slowly into the feeding area. As strikes will usually occur as the fly is moving up or down in the water, use short, soft twitches of the fly rod to keep the fly active. As the fly is drifting, pull in just enough line to keep enough tension on the line so you will be able to feel a strike.

Step 5

Set the hook and play the fish gently. To simulate the emerging insects, caddis fly pupa imitations are tied to smaller hooks that are easily broken if you attempt to set the hook too hard or try to play the fish too aggressively.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tying a strike indicator to wet fly line can help detect when a fish has taken the fly before you feel the strike. Strike indicators work similar to bobbers and the length of line between the indicators and the hook must be adjusted for the depth of the water at which you are fishing.


  • "The Fly-Tying Bible: 100 Deadly Trout And Salmon Flies"; Peter Gathercole; 2003
  • "Baits, Rigs and Tackle"; Vic Dunaway; 2002

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images