I’m currently reading — and loving — “Caddisflies” by Gary LaFontaine

First of all, I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to read this book. OK, so it’s out of print and even used copies are pricey. (This would seem like a good time to thank the currentseams follower — he knows who he is — who so generously gifted me a used copy in excellent condition. Tightest of lines to you, good sir!) But still. Next, I can’t believe I’ve never tied nor fished his sparkle pupae or sparkle emerger patterns. Methinks I have been missing out some bravura action. Like the book, I’ve known about these patterns for years, I’ve just never…egad.

So much of what I’ve read thus far resonates, particularly the bite triggers theory as it applies to fly tying caddis patterns. (Saltwater fly tyers should read those passages, and transpose them to what they’re tying. But most won’t. They like their big googly eyes and realistic flies too much.) I’m particularly interested in the upcoming how-to fishing sections. In the meantime, I have some materials to order…

15 comments on “I’m currently reading — and loving — “Caddisflies” by Gary LaFontaine

  1. Brian Larson says:

    Suggest you look seriously at materials. Modern made for fly tying materials are not quite the dame as what he used. He use rug/craft yarn. It is a bit finer and fuzzier than the for tying stuff. Also check out Jack Dennis’s videos, now on line, for seeing Gary tie them.

    • Steve Culton says:

      I’ll do that. Thanks!

      • Gary says:

        The Antron did change over the years.I have some cards of the original material that I bought from Dave Goulet when I bought this book, his shop was in Massachusetts at the time. Do yourself a favor and watch the technique Tim Flagler uses to create the bubble effect with the Antron for the emergent version. I think Gary would approve it.

      • Steve Culton says:

        Thanks for sharing this. That’s so cool that you got in on the ground floor! I’ll check out that video, too.

  2. Tom says:

    If you have not been using Gary’s sparkle caddis enmerger for the last 40 years you have been missing out big time. For an even better pattern check out Davy With one SLF trans caddis. It’s on u tube.

    • Steve Culton says:

      Thanks for reminding me on what I’ve been missing! Mock indignation aside, I’ve loving all the comments on this subject. Apparently I struck a chord — or should I say, Gary struck a chord that’s still resonating. It all makes me very happy.

  3. Tom says:

    That is Davy Wotton

  4. I was lucky enough to have a veteran angler send me a copy for free. It’s off the hook with an insane amount of Intel under the water and on the vise.

    Justin Aldrich


  5. Steve says:

    You can find pretty good material at Yellowstone Angler for those patterns.

  6. Thomas A Maguire says:

    LaFontaine’s 1st book “Challenge of the Trout” is also excellent and is very reasonable used on amazon.

  7. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the Zoom presentation last night, I learned a little bit more about the nuances of wet fly tying and presentation.

    I also have and cherish my LaFontaine’s “Caddisflies”, and have referenced it in the past.

    I was your newer attendee to your Zoom presentations, I came in last night simply as “Glenn”, and I wanted to tell you I first signed up for your weekly emails this past year after coming across your ideas regarding drop-shot nymphing. Your ideas and opinions perfectly aligned with mine, it was as if you were in my head! I am now going to be so bold as to suggest that you perhaps touch on your drop-shot techniques in a future Zoom presentation, and I was wondering if you ever combine wet fly techniques with drop-shot nymphing…I know they’re different animals, but it’s all fishing, right?!

    Thanks for what you do, keep up the good work!

    Glenn Dotterer

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Glenn — thanks for the note and thanks for signing up for both email alerts and the Zooms. I always appreciate feedback from my readers. I don’t know if we’ll get to a drop-shot Zoom this spring as I am probably going on Zoom hiatus as the weather warms up — we should all be out fishing — but it’s certainly a worthy subject. I won’t go into greater detail as I have time-space continuum issues at the moment, but I almost always use a soft hackle as the top dropper on my nymph rig, and I’ll often let the team of flies swing up once they pass the dead drift phase of the drift. I suppose when I add a split shot to the middle dropper of the wet fly team and present deep, that counts as a quasi-nymphing energy. Hope that helps! Steve

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