Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tying the Elk Hair Caddis

    Pennsylvanian Al Troth's classic pattern made it's entrance into the commercial world of fly fishing in 1978 via The FlyTyer Quarterly.  Tied personally as an adult caddis imitation for western waters, variations of hackle and dubbing color and hook size can mold the pattern to cover the appearances of spent caddis or small hoppers, while maintaining a simple design and buoyant frame.  The Elk Hair Caddis is a staple dry fly for trout, and makes for a great beginning tier's pattern. 

* The following pattern is a classic color combination, suitable as a caddis or small hopper pattern.*

Photo by Matt Reilly

Hook:          # 18 - 8 Dry Fly Hook
Thread:       Brown or tan 3/0
Body:          Yellow Poly-dub or natural dub
Rib:             Fine gold wire (optional)
Wing:          Elk or deer body hair
Hackle:       Brown


  1. Clamp hook in vice and wrap thread to the bend of the hook.
  2. Secure a length of fine gold wire at the bend of the hook and bend out of the way.
  3. Tie in a 5-inch length of poly-dub (my preference), or create a dubbing rope from a natural hair and wind forward to the eye to create an even under-body.
  4. Select a piece of brown hackle and clip the base of the quill free of fine under-feathers.  Tie in, and wind in even wraps towards the bend of the hook.
  5. Secure the quill with a few wraps of gold wire, and cut off the tag end.
  6. Wrap wire forward towards the eye, taking care not to trap any hackle fibers.  Secure with wraps of thread at the eye.
  7. Select a pinch of deer or elk body hair, and, using a hair stacker, even out the tips.
  8. Behind the eye, tie in the clump of elk hair with a few wraps of thread.  When secure, create a head of thread at the eye under the hair butts.  Trim the tag ends to create a tight, even tuft.
  9. Make a few last, solidifying wraps over the hair, whip finish, and cement the head.

No comments :