Saturday, September 5, 2015

Great Gray Spotted Sedge Variants

     As the ancient Egyptian seers predicted, the last full moon of August was certainly the transition moon. Weather patterns have rearranged favorably. A few nights ago, under the porch light, I discovered the first great gray spotted sedge (Arctopsyche grandis) of the season.

Great gray spotted sedge show at the end of August on the U.S. upper Columbia, just prior to the larger October caddis (Dicosmoecus); & although Arctopsyche grandis produces great hatches on some western rivers, it emerges sporadically from my home water, more a seasonal presence than a meetable hatch.
GGSS is a large insect, the body about 5/8 of an inch long & the wing about an inch long. The wing is thick & waxy, like October caddis.

Just as anglers keep a mental catalogue of the larger fish they’ve caught, so do trout keep a catalogue of the larger insects they’ve caught – drakes, salmonflies, carpenter ants, wasps, grasshoppers – & eat them (& the artificial) opportunistically through the big insect’s respective seasons. The big ones are memorable.

So it is on my home water. And even though GGSS pupae & adults are most active around dark, the imitation generally fishes well all day when these insects are present.

 As with October caddis, winged wetfly variants of great gray spotted sedge fish best for me.

For swinging:

Hook: #8 TMC 200R

Thread: camel UNI 8/0

Abdomen: 50/50 blend of Wapsi Superfine BWO & Hareline Light Olive on dubbing loop of Pearsall’s primrose yellow silk

Thorax: 50/50 pine squirrel & Hareline Brown on dubbing loop of tying thread

Wing: turkey tail (alternate wing: pine squirrel tail)

Hackle: brahma hen ~ & finish.

Soft-hackle variant:

Hook: #8 TMC 200R

Thread: camel UNI 8/0

Rib: copper wire

Body: green tinsel/thorax: 50/50 pine squirrel & Hareline brown on dubbing loop of tying thread

Hackle: gadwall/brahma hen ~ & finish.


  1. Your turkey tail winged spotted sedge is also shown on the most recent The Evening Hatch U.C. River write up as one of 2 best choices now ! They bent ion "the professor" as the source . . . Are You known as "The Professor" ? If so can you elaborate for U.C. fly fishers like me that are not aware ! ? Thanks Steve. (again, though it has been awhile) I use anonymous but I prefer FlyFinaticLou