Wisconsin Fly Fishing for Trout

Genus Pycnopsyche - Great Brown Autumn Sedge caddisfly

During the Spring throughout Wisconsin's northern woodland freestone creeks and rivers it is not unusual to find large, stick-cased caddisfly larvae in the shallows on sunken logs or in the dead leaves near the banks. The large caddisfly larvae inside it's stick case is Genus Pycnopsyche. Trout have been known to eat stick case and all to make a meal of the large larva inside.

Pycnopsyche stick case caddisfly larva

When Summer comes they seem to disappear and go dorment when their food osurce of debris and dead leaves dwindles. By late summer they reappear in the shallows and often clusters of stick cases attached to logs with the larvae sealed inside while going into pupation to become an adult.

Pycnopsyche stick case caddis

Pycnopsyche pupae

Pycnopsyche pupae emerges from it's sealed stick case during September and crawls or swims along the bottom of the stream to the bank to become a winged adult, called the Great Brown Autumn Sedge. Most fly fishermen in the Midwest prefer to call it the October Caddis, which is really Genus Dicosmoecus found out in the Western states. Both Pycnopsyche and Dicosmoecus are from the same family of caddisflies, Limnephilidae with similar characteristics and look very similar in size, shape and coloration.

Great Brown Autumn Sedge (Pycnopsyche)

Great Brown Autumn Sedge (Pycnopsyche)

Pycnopsyche sp, adults are nocturnal and appear at dusk, After mating the females crawl back into the river or stream to lay their eggs. Some females may drown, giving the trout an easy meal. Swinging a soft hackle pattern may be very effective in the twilight hours, or early morning.


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