Fly Patterns - Spring Pupa

                             Spring Pupa


I know, it’s not springtime.  But that doesn’t mean that this little fly won’t work for you. If you turn over rocks in most any freestone stream, you’ll find little “green rock worms.” These bugs are caddis larvae. Without getting into the entomological intricacies of caddis species, some caddis larvae make cases and some are free-living. If you look closely at what you find on rocks or amongst the debris on the stream bottom, you’ll notice that the bright green “worms” can be of both types. In other words, there will be some crawling about, and others inside their cases. If you grab one of the little square cases and open it up, you will see what I mean. The little cased variety engage in “behavioral drift” from time to time at certain times of the day. This just means that they leave their cases and drift downstream where they establish a new home and build a new case. I don’t know (and entomologists say they don’t know either) exactly why this happens, but it indeed does. And, luckily for fly anglers, the fish know about this phenomenon. The Spring Pupa is actually just a chartreuse Fox Poopah, tied in exactly the same way as the regular Poopah series flies. In my experience, this fly works well as an imitation of either a free-living caddis larva caught in the current, or a cased caddis larva engaging in behavioral drift. I use it as a “stinger” (a third fly) off the bottom fly in a two-fly nymph rig. It saved the day for me and my client recently just above Pollard Flat on the Upper Sac, where it accounted for a good number of very large rainbows.


Tying Instructions

1. Smash the hook barb unless you are using a barbless version of the hook, and slip the bead around the bend. Cover the shank with thread.

2. Tie in a piece of crystal flash (will be used as ribbing) just above the hook barb, and move the thread to the bead. At that point, tie in another piece of crystal flash.



3. Wrap this piece of crystal flash back to where the first piece was tied in, and forward again to the bead. Tie it off there. This forms a shiny underbody.


4. Cut a piece of Ultra-Chenille to 1.5 times the length of the shank. Using a lighter held away from its tip, singe it lightly so that it is rounded off. With the singed end pointing to the rear, tie it in just behind the bead.


5. Rib the abdomen, using 4 or 5 wraps.


6. At the same spot, tie in the legs on the underside of the hook, “beard” style. Make this very sparse; otherwise, it will detract from the principal elements of the fly. In other words, we want a hint of legs—nothing more. 






7. From a wood duck flank feather, cut two barbules and tie them in behind the bead, tips to the rear. When tied in, they should be just a tiny bit longer than the end of the body. This represents the antennae.



8. Tie in a piece of black ostrich herl behind the bead, and take 2 or 3 wraps. Tie it off and whip finish behind the bead.



Tying Tips

1. Don’t add weight to this little gem; in my opinion, it kills the action of the fly, and distorts the shape of the underbody.

2. Cut and singe a dozen bodies at a time; it will save you a lot of tying time, and will result in more uniform, consistent bodies.


Tie the Spring Pupa on as a dropper, or as a third fly off of your point fly in a nymph rig. Set the hook at the slightest hesitation of your leader. Go rip a few lips, and….see ya on the creek.




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