Brackish lagoon caddis question

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by Travis Bille, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. I have been fishing Stone Lagoon on the far North coast of California since I moved here. Stone, and it's counterpart Big Lagoon are unusual stillwaters. Once a year to every few years, the sand spit separating the lagoon from the ocean breaks and the lagoon partially drains, and coastal cutts and steelhead, and to a lesser extent, salmon, migrate into the lagoon and become trapped when the sand spit closes again. They then spawn in the feeder creeks. The lagoons become progressively less brackish as they fill with fresh rainwater.

    Several times I have been fishing here and discovered caddis larva, still in the case. I have found at least 2 different species, and both times they were about a mile away from any inflow streams. Baitfish and scud type things are the main food items for the fish.

    So, my question is, are there any types of Caddis that can live in a brackish stillwater? I'm assuming that the caddis that I found were washed out of a feeder creek. But like I said, they were close to a mile from the creek, and were still alive and appeared very frisky.
  2. Hi Travis-

    Yes, see this link. However, I am unable to find any documented evidence of North American caddisflies living in the circumstances you describe. If you see one again, make sure to take photos.
  3. Thank you for the article! I will definitely take pictures next time. I think they were most likely washed into the lagoon. They were just so far away from the stream that I have my doubts. Thanks for your infinite wisdom on all things buggy!
  4. Hi Travis-
    Well, there could be numerous explanations for them being found so far from the nearest input stream, but it seems unlikely to me that a cased caddis could have gotten there on its own. Hopefully, you will persevere, and keep us posted.
    Yeah, don't I wish. ;)
  5. When paddling in the estuaries and tidal creeks here in Twin Harbors, and when heading upstream near the head of tidewater, I have noticed a "transition zone" where the organisms associated with the estuarine marine habitat suddenly thin out and get replaced by fresh water riverine organisms.

    The most dramatic example would be a spot on Andrews Creek, where I still see barnacles growing on old pilings as I paddle upstream. But only 100 yards upstream around a bend, not a barnacle is to be found, and there are lots of cased caddis clinging to the in-stream woody structure. Looks like they might be living their entire life cycle there, rather than having gotten washed down from above. This creek is small above tidewater, and it doesn't have much flow during the late summer.
    They look like October Caddis to me. Classic "periwinkles." They are in an area that gets intruded on by the brackish water of the estuary on any high tide, but really gets flushed on the big high tides.

    I wonder, Taxon. Is this a common occurrence in tidal creeks flowing into estuaries here in the northwest?
  6. Hi Jim-

    I doubt this occurrence would be unique to only a single tidal creek here in WA.

    However, I know Preston has considerable experience with Dicosmoecus, so hopefully he will see this, and be better able to answer your question.
  7. Sorry, most of my observations of Dicosmoecus have been in fresh water and I don't recall ever reading anything about brackish water caddis so I can't offer any help.
  8. Great subject for someone's Masters thesis.
  9. I found some pics that I took of the caddis and the woody structure on that section of creek. I'll try and get 'em posted here soon.

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