Czech Nymphs •Maggots •Killer Bugs
Caddis larva are broken down into three distinct groups, the free living, net spinning and case/shelter building groups. Each of these groups have distinct behavioral characteristics important for the angler and fly tyer to understand. Free living caddis are predatory in nature, do not build shelters and crawl around the rocks in search of other macro invertebrates in which to feed upon. Net building caddis spin funnel shaped webs and feed on detritus filtered from the current captured in the nets that they construct. Shelter building caddis build protective shelters that they carry around with them as the crawl amongst the cobble feeding on the bio-film that grows on the rocks.
It is interesting to note that free living caddis larva species emerge in small numbers throughout the season and are always available as opportunistic prey items throughout the day and long into the evening. Emergence activity of the free living groups will typically be in small but predictable numbers all season long. This makes them a top choice for the angler to imitate when no specific hatch activity can be observed. I generally prefer to start my angling day with a heavy Czech nymph probing the depths hoping to take advantage of opportunistic feeding activity and switch to a caddis emerger pattern when I actually detect emergence activity.
The Czech style nymphs offers the fly tyer a great foundation in which to design a fly pattern that mimics the Hydropsyche and Rhyacophila genus of net spinning caddis fly larva. This style covers the most important factors, size, the curved shape and colors nicely.
Czech nymphs are often tied very skinny and weighted with flat lead tape to increase their ability to sink fast into riffled water and match the neutral buoyancy of the natural. I tie some with a double layer of flat lead tape in order to get into the deeper water or with the addition of tungsten beads. I also tie skinny Czech Nymphs, closer to traditional methods for fishing shallow water in summer and Fall.
The classic Czech nymph and style of fishing should be part of every tactical anglers tool kit.
My favorite color combination of Czech nymph. One of that I frequently run out of in my fly box as I am always giving them away.
I originally devised this color combination to cover the yellow/green stones of summer. I use this fly when the Yellow Sallies are hatching. Even when the Sallies are not hatching, this color attracts a lot of attention.
Another Czech nymph that I adapted to match the size shape and color of the Hydropsyche caddis that I have been sampling around the west. I find plenty of these in spring gastric samples to indicate that this is nymph of significant importance. My angling logs agree.
I love crossover patterns that imitate several possibilities at once. I have had success over the years with variations of a czech nymph tied with stonefly colors. The Green Papaya is one such example of a Czech Nymph in stonefly regalia.
This large pattern is weighted and designed to be fished in the riffles anywhere that golden stones reside. Anglers bound for the Deschutes or Madison should definitely have these in thier box. I recently used them on the Yampa river in downtown Steamboat Springs to pick up some difficult fish hiding in the pockets behind boulders.
Maggots • Grubs
The Bank Maggot Depth Bomb is a dirty water special. It’s runoff season and when you can start fishing again, you are going to want to have these in your box. Extra heavy to get those slots where the fish stack to avoid the getting swept away in the spring flush.
A Killer Runoff pattern
This fly fishes best following a typical western summer monsoon or anytime the water is high or slightly off color. Of course, it still works in clear low flows but I found it is my ace in the hole when the water has been disturbed.