I had seen this fly in catalogs and on websites forever, but never paid much attention to it until Josh and Jason came back from a trip to Montana. They gave me a couple of Green Meanies, said they caught some big fish with the pattern, so I started using them on some of my local streams here in the Driftless area of Wisconsin. And I caught fish with them.
The ones they gave me were small, like 20’s, and they worked just fine. But many of the caddis flies in the Driftless are larger, say a size 14 or 16, so that’s how I started tying them. Using a larger hook also makes it easier for me and my tired old eyes to tie the fly on to my leader, which doesn’t hurt.
This fly is basically the sister fly of the Blacksmith, which Jason has showcased in his article and video. The Blacksmith is meant to imitate the case of the American Grannom caddis fly (I think; we’d have to consult Gary LaFontaine’s Caddisflies to make sure), while the green Meanie imitates the critter inside of that case. Check out the photo to see what I mean.
Josh probably uses a size 22 hook and three or four materials to tie this fly, and he might catch more fish with his fly than I do with my tie, but this version is simple and fast, and I do just fine with it.
Hook: Any nymph hook size 14-22.
Thread: 8/0 black.
Head: Gold or black bead to fit hook.
Body: 5-6 strands green Krystal Flash.
In addition to imitating a caddis larva, in smaller sizes the fly is also a great midge larva imitation.
When tying these smaller sizes, go to your local craft store and buy some tiny craft beads. They’re a great, cheap alternative to beads specific for fly tying.