Elk Hair Caddis

~By: Lance Dean | February 12, 2017

As I stand hoping the indicator attached to my line sinks, the warm June air and still water calms my nerves and relaxes my muscles. Fishing always helps me get away.  Get away from work, get away from life and just get away from everything but the anticipation of the bite.  Fifteen yards to my right, I noticed little dimples appearing and disappearing from the surface of the lake.  As I crouch, bringing my head closer to the surface of the water I can see trout just underneath it picking off one insect after another.  This gorging tells me to change my strategy so that I don’t go back to camp skunked.  After bringing my fly in and setting up my rod for dry flies, I open my fly box to find a dry fly pattern that is sure to trick one of these trout into biting.  My fly box is full of many fresh flies that where obviously recently tied, most of which are nymphs, but there are a few dry patterns that I always carry with me.  I consider these my go to dries.  After inspecting these dry flies, I settle on a size 14 Elk Hair Caddis.  I tell myself, the hackle legs and elk hair wing are going to be just what the doctor ordered.  I carefully take the fly from the box and secure it to the leader with clinch knot. Then delicately cast my fly, presenting it right to the edge of the group of dimples that are still disappearing and reappearing.  Excitement explodes within me, as I watch a trout gulp my fly and come to the realization that he was hooked. During the fight, I remember why I enjoy fishing dry flies just as much as I do nymphs.  It was quite a site watching that trout come up to eat the fly.

The Elk Hair Caddis has become a classic pattern, one of which can be considered amongst many other flies as “old reliable”.  Reliable because it seems to catch fish consistently especially to rising trout.  I learned to tie the Elk Hair Caddis from Charlie Craven’s Fly Tying Basics where Charlie goes into great detail to explain how to tie this awesome caddis imitation.  It was going through this chapter of the book where I was introduced to a different technique for tying caddis style wings with elk hair.  Cutting the hair to size before securing it to the hook was a new to me and a technique that I not only felt was a more logical way to tie these types of wings in, but it also allowed for a prettier looking tie in point on the fly rather than the tie the hair down and trim ‘til it looks as pretty as you can get it method.

Tying in the wing isn't the most complicated part of tying the Elk Hair Caddis, but wrapping and weaving the ribbing over the hackle in such a way as to keep the wraps from trapping down the fibers may be the most complicated part of the Elk Hair Caddis. It is similar to tying in the rib on a Wooly Bugger just with smaller, stiffer hackle fibers. Just remember to be patient, go slow and practice over and over until your Elk Hair Caddis looks the way you want it to.

Anyway enough of my ramblings…Please enjoy this demonstration of me tying the Elk Hair Caddis. And as usual please follow fishbaitsflybox.com by clicking HERE. “Like” Fishbait’s Fly Box on Facebook by clicking HERE and subscribe to Fishbait’s Fly Box on YouTube by clicking HERE and then click subscribe.

Elk Hair Caddis
HOOK: TCM 100 size 14
THREAD: Rusty Brown 6/0
RIB: Ultra Wire - Copper - Br
ABDOMEN: Rusty Brown Superfine Dubbing
HACKLE: Saddle Hackle - Brown
WING: Yearling Elk Hair


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