Fishing with Rod Discussion Forum

Fishing in British Columbia => Fly Fishing Cafe => Topic started by: RalphH on August 23, 2020, 09:32:31 AM

Title: What's in my Flybox 9 - Elk Hair Caddis
Post by: RalphH on August 23, 2020, 09:32:31 AM
The Elk Hair Caddis:


Hook: Standard Dry fly (ie TMC 100) #10 to #18
Thread: 6/0 or 8/0 brown or cream
Hackle: brown dry fly or to match natural
rib (optional): fine gold wire
Body: brown, olive, tan, bright green or cream dubbing to match natural
Wing: Elk hair or deer
Head: ends of the wing hair snipped to form a stub

This is an Al Troth pattern. Troth was a professional tyer and guide in Montana.

The Elk Hair Caddis is a pretty generalized pattern that took the trout fishing world by storm in the 70s and 80s. By varying the size and the color of the wing and body it's can be a reasonably good imitation of any adult caddis  an angler will encounter. It also floats well. The fine wire rib was meant to protect the hackle  as the hackle stem is brittle and may be cut by trout teeth. I don't use it as I found the fine wire is just as likely to be cut.

This fly can also imitate smaller species of stoneflies.

For the most part caddis emerge immediately on reaching the surface of a stream. They may flutter on the surface to dry their wings. Once they fly off the surface they will spend some hours on streamside vegetation then take to their mating flights above the water. Females lay their eggs while skittering on the surface or even diving under water.

Both when they emerge and when they mate and lay eggs caddis, cause quite a commotion on the surface. Unlike mayflies adding action to the presentation can be very effective.

While casting an Elk Hair Caddis upstream dead drift works (particularly as a searching pattern) casting across or downstream stream, keeping a tight line to the fly and letting it wake on the surface or even submerge can be really effective.

The hair stubble head on the pattern enhances thus action on the fly helping to create a distinct wake. Some tyers stiffen this by putting a drop or 2 of head cement on the stubble.

Trout feeding on caddis will often make very splashy or vigorous rises which is your que to fish a caddis pattern. Be wary that sometimes the trout are actually chasing diving females to bottom as they dive to lay their eggs. Imitate this by attaching a small BB shot to your leader, cast upstream and swing the fly as the line moves past you.
Title: Re: What's in my Flybox 9 - Elk Hair Caddis
Post by: clarki on September 01, 2020, 10:37:41 PM
Timely, Ralph. Thanks.

My son caught his first cutthroat on the fly, and his first trout on a dry fly, on a store-bought elk hair caddis last Friday. There were no caddis, or other bugs that were apparent, on the water, but, in the shadows and cool of the evening, the fish in the pool were looking up, and the fly represented something edible. Three fish fell to it on a dead drift.

But alas, one fish broke him off and another fly was snapped off on an errant back cast so I was looking to replenish my supply, either through purchasing or trying my hand at tying. I think I have most of the supplies you mentioned so I just may give it a whirl.

Title: Re: What's in my Flybox 9 - Elk Hair Caddis
Post by: RalphH on September 02, 2020, 10:34:51 AM
Very nice fish! Particularly for the 1st one.

Even very experienced Coastal Cutty anglers discount how well they can respond to dry flies. Haig-Brown wrote about his dry fly fishing on the Campbell as did Arthur Mayse for the Oyster. I have caught cutties on dries in many places in the Fraser Valley be it streams, lakes or the Fraser itself.
Title: Re: What's in my Flybox 9 - Elk Hair Caddis
Post by: clarki on September 04, 2020, 11:40:31 AM
Due to my many years fishing for ct in fresh and salt with spoons, my earlier forays with a flyrod were mainly with streamers cuz I was used to pulling shiny things through the water! :)

Now that I'm carrying a flyrod more and more (or sometimes only a flyrod) I'm starting to look at the water, and ct,  differently. My first ct on a dry fly last year helped to reframe my thinking too.