Caddis Egg Laying

Jed Hollan from the Little Red Fly Shop sent me an email on a phenomenon that he observed while fishing. He generously has allowed me to post it on my blog. Thanks Jed.

Dr. Borger:  I am attaching a photo of an angler’s wading boot covered in eggs.  This occurred at Libby Shoal on the Little Red River near Heber Springs, Arkansas about two weeks ago.  Two anglers waded out of the river that day with their waders covered in eggs from the knees down.  We are currently experiencing bwo, midge, caddis and sulphur hatches.  We have also experienced large dragonfly hatches and a small hex hatch.  What are these eggs?

Looking forward. Jed Hollan, mgr.

little red fly shop / 35 swinging bridge drive, heber springs, ar 72543 / 501-887-9988 /


Jed, Most definitely they are caddis eggs. Time to fish a diving caddis pattern. If you don’t have one, fish an adult pattern with a split shot to get it right on the bottom–like nymphing. This can be deadly when the adults are egg laying.

All my best, GB

Some caddises lay eggs by diving into the water and swimming to the bottom where they crawl about depositing their eggs directly on the substrate. Others—most of them , in fact—crawl beneath the water to lay eggs. In fact, in this instance the adults landed on the anglers, climbed down their waders and laid eggs in their shoes. This is what Jed has photographed. The fly fishers didn’t see them because the caddises fly upstream and so land on the angler’s backs.  I’ve seen this before any number of times on waters around the world.

Many people mistake egg laying activity for a hatch because the female carries an air bubble with her when she goes underwater. At completion of the egg-laying process, she rises to the surface where the bubble pops open and the female flies off. A hatch will most definitely show cast-off pupal husks drifting in the film. If you see adults pop off the surface and no evidence of pupal husks, it’s egg laying time.


  1. JB says:

    Makes me think of those halcyon days on the Bighorn when we shot with our old Video-8 cameras and the “humpback” browns were plentiful…