Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate.

The first wildflowers have begun to pop open this spring and I thought I would include this information to help anglers associate the plant life in the forest with the life of the aquatic insects. By combining knowledge of the plant and animal kingdoms anglers can gain a stronger understanding of the life that surrounds them as they fish.



The Bloodroot is a member of the Poppy family. This flower is short lived and opens and closes in accordance with the sun and warmth and the cool nights and overcast skies of the early spring. The red/orange bulbous root of this wildflower was used as a dye by Native Americans. Its emergence is one of the earliest among the


wildflowers of Minnesota and Wisconsin and is more closely related to the emergence of the first Blue Wing Olive May flies of the last fly post. I am including it here to inform anglers that the sighting of this flower marks the beginnings of the major hatches for the year and to catch you up as to what to look for as you begin to associate flies and flowers. Anglers will also see Hepatica species in the forest at this time. Here is a link.

Keep in mind that phenology is closely related to climate and that the streams and forests of Southeast Minnesota will be about two weeks ahead, because of the southern latitude, than that of Western Wisconsin to the east of the Twin Cities.


Little Black Caddis


Cut Down Little Black Caddis

This pattern is a favorite of mine for the little black caddis hatch that is soon to come in Western Wisconsin and has been reported to have been emerging in Southeast Minnesota. The hatch length has varied over the years from one to two weeks long and the fish will gorge themselves on these little bugs early in the emergence. The versatility of this pattern enables anglers to use it as is for a high floating adult imitation through the faster riffles, or cut the bottom hackle flat to imitate a low riding insect when the fish become finicky. This pattern is a good one for imitating both the dark mayflies and caddis flies that will hatch throughout the season and can be fished effectively through both slow and fast water situations. I have a limited number of these flies in stock and for sale on the website. Get them while they are hot $1.95 each.

Little Black Caddis

Hook: standard dry fly #16

Thread: Black 8/0 or smaller diameter

Body: Black Super fine or Haretron dubbing

Wing: sparse black elk or black deer hair

Hackle: Black, heavily hackled