The late Gary Lafontaine is a great writer, tyer, and fisherman who brought a bit of science to the study of macroinvertebrates and the fish that eat them. We have a lot of caddis here in the northeast, and Caddisflies has explained a lot of their behavior. His classic Sparkle Caddis Pupa and Emergers came from this book.

While many of us consider ourselves compulsive fishermen, fly tyers, and possibly entomologists, we really pale in comparison to someone like Gary Lafontaine. Here's a guy who was so interested in the life cycle of the caddis that he spent 10 years on researching caddisflies and their adaptations - 211 hours of it underwater, wearing scuba gear and watching feeding trout and hatching bugs. He spent time observing the 4-stage emergence period:

  • Bottom drifting, up to 100 yards
  • Ascent, from bottom to surface film
  • Hesitation drifing, right below the surface film
  • Shedding of pupal skin, emergence, and flight - usually quickly

Nothing profound, but how many people do you know who study caddis cases drifting along the bottom for 100 yards? All of this research culminated in the Sparkle Caddis Pupa, and Sparkle Caddis Emerger. These are a couple of patterns that look very little like a pupa or an emerger, but instead have a shell of trilobal Antron to catch bubble and reflect light - a feature that Lafontaine figures will key in the trout. (I like this book for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that I catch a lot of fish with these two patterns. I tie them in yellow, with an orange ostrich head for the Deerfield, and olive for the Sugar. I suspect the yellow is a bit of a Sulphur imitation rather than a caddis, but hey, it works for me.)

The book is rounded out with some pages of color photos - both of the flies and the naturals - as well as hatch charts, some identification information, tying instructions, and fishing information. The species identification might be a tad on the academic part for some readers, but it's nothing you have to wade through. The book contains a lot of very nice pen & ink drawings of the various species, with their cases.

While it might be enough to know that "bright green caddis pupa" work well on the Contoocook, and "dark olive caddis pupa" seem to work well on the Sugar in Newport, you can't go wrong by learning just a bit more about this species that's so fundamental to the Monadnock Region.