Elk Hair Caddis
July 19, 2007
- 18 - 8 Dry fly
- 6/0 or 3/0 Uni
- Fine fur or synthetic dubbing
- Fine gold wire
- Elk or deer hair (Coastal Deer)
- Brown (From neck cape)
The Elk Hair Caddis is meant to imitate a fluttering adult caddis, though it will also work as a spent adult. Looking not unlike a stonefly, cricket, even a small hopper and several other insects, this dressing also makes an effective searching pattern.
How to fish:
When fishing a caddis hatch the Elk Hair Caddis should be fished using standard dry fly tactics. If you suspect fish are taking spent adults aim for a drag free drift, but if you suspect the fish are after newly hatched adults (look out for slashing rises) employ some judicious twitching of your artificial. Standard presentations will work when using the Elk Hair Caddis as a searching pattern.
For ideas on fishing the Elk Hair Caddis and the Sizzling Sedge read this article »
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1. Start the thread a short way behind the eye – where the front of the body will be.
2. Catch in the gold wire on the near side of the shank. Hold the wire parallel to the shank and run the thread to the end of the shank.
3. Dub your body material onto the thread. Try and create a slightly tapered rope.
4. Wrap the dubbing rope forward to form a gently tapered body.
5. Prepare and catch in a cock hackle feather from a neck cape – shiny convex face outermost.
6. Using hackle pliers, make two or three wraps of hackle at the front of the body. Stroke the feather barbs toward the eye to avoid catching them with successive wraps.
7. Palmer the hackle to the rear of the body.
8. Tie off the hackle with one or two full counterwraps of the gold wire. Once the hackle is secure continue wrapping the wire forward. Try and make one wrap of wire per wrap of hackle. Gently play the wire through the hackle with a wiggling motion as you wrap. This helps prevent flattening the hackle barbs.
9. Aim to finish the rib on the underside or to the side of the hook shank.
10. Cut away the waste hackle and wire when you’re done. Don’t cut the hackle too close at the rear. Form a smooth base of thread wraps to take the wing. Allow the thread to hang down where the first wrap of thread will go to secure the wing.
11. Hand stack or prepare a small bundle of hair with a hair stacker. Use enough hair to form the impression of wings while still allowing the body to be seen through the wing when viewed from above. To gauge the wing length offer it up to the hook – the wing should reach the outer edge of the bend or a little beyond.
12. Swap your pinch grip on the bunch of hair then hold in place over the shank at the tying in point. Click image 13 to view a layered photograph illustrating the positioning.
13. Bring the thread up between thumb and wing, then complete the loop taking the thread down the far side of the hook, between index finger and wing. Hold the wing in place firmly and pull the thread down good and tight. The thread should be near breaking point. Make another firm wrap before releasing the pinch.
14. When you release your pinch grip, the hair will flare slightly. If you want you can now make a single wrap of thread around the hair only to gather it; otherwise, make progressively lighter wraps of thread toward the body gathering the hair as you do so.
15. Wrap the thread forward again and either make a whip finish over the hair wing; or if you’ve enough room, make the whip finish under the front of the wing.
16. Cut away the butts of the hair to leave a tuft over the eye of the hook. Add head cement to the whip finish – I also put a drop of Dave’s Fleximent on the tuft. You should end up with something like this.
This pattern was designed by Pennsylvanian, Al Troth, devised to fish the caddis hatches in Montana. It first came to public attention in The FlyTyer Quarterly, 1978, though he'd been tying it for some time by then. While all its component parts, including the hair wing, can be seen in earlier patterns, it was Troth who came up with this unique design to imitate an adult caddis.
By varying the size of hook, and by varying the colour of body, hackle and wing you can imitate just about every species of caddis.
The original masterpiece, Caddisflies, by Gary LaFontaine.