Welcome to Not Quite Entomology

Welcome to Not Quite Entomology! This is a different approach to matching the hatch, or learning which insect the fish are really eating. The flies and methods to make it all work will be here as well. We hope this series will inspire you to go out, look on top of and under rocks, check the stream-side vegetation, really investigate your favorite water and learn which are your local trout's favorite foods!


The Little Black Sedge

Old Rupe!
By Old Rupe


This is my favorite fly of the year. I just finished tying twelve dozen of them. Here in the east it's more popular than Chevy Trucks. It's the fly I wouldn't leave home without. I actually fish it all year long as other later hatches are so similar that the early spring Chimarra imitations carries throughout the year.

Technically it's from the Philopotamidae family, making it a net spinner. There are three genera here in the United States, but I only fish Chimarra. The literature says there are seventeen species but I am familiar with C. aterrima only. It's an eastern hatch but what a thing. On the Mad River, Ohio and the AuSable in Michigan it rules. I see it here interspersed with the Hendrickson hatch (E. subvaria) which starts in mid April. Trout will in the course of the day switch from Sedges to Hendricksons to Sedges and back so it's not a hatch for dummies.

Typical Caddis Case and Adult

Before noon I fish the soft hackle emerging pupae, down and across with the Al Campbell twitch, and then a Troth Elk Hair Caddis as the dry. In the early afternoon I use a parachute to access the Hendrickson hatch. Later I fish the egg-laying sedge tied with a pronounced green egg sac, and finish the day working on Hendrickson spinners. Some days the Hendrickson emerger can be the event of the day.

This hatch or one of its brothers (remember there are seventeen species) hatch all over the eastern United States and a size 18 Troth Elk Hair Caddis, with a peacock herl body, seems to work anywhere there are trout. The early on soft hackle pupae imitation, with a dirty yellow-orange body, or orange silk thread body and the diving egg layer with its super-sized green egg sac are really all the flies I need. I fish the slightly-weighted egg layer under an indicator. This year I intend to try some slightly flashy bodies on the emergers and egg layers, essentially doing the same that LaFontaine's sparkle caddis does. I'll think I will fish the emerger from the center to the shore more.

I find this fly in the riffles of slower moving chalk stream types, like the AuSable in Michigan, and on certain parts of the Little Manistee.

It's a gentlemen's hatch, a 10-2 event. Time for a leisurely breakfast and a 9 AM arrival to fish the emerger. Where else can you, in the usual course of the day, fish two major hatches.

I don't fish the sparkle pupae, but not because it doesn't work. I feel the fly works not because of an imitation of the 'air bubble,' but that it's an attractor which allows a fish to key in on the imitation from a greater distance. The subtle shine fails to spook the fish. I will catch a lot of flak over this but I don't buy the 'bubble attractor theory.' The fly works. I just hate to fish a fly whose effectiveness is predicated on what I consider nonsense.

This hatch and the Grannom are the two major caddis hatches of the year. At least here. Don't miss either. They are worth traveling to fish. Old Rupe


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