Tuesday Ties - Elk Hair Caddis – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Category_Vintage -

Tuesday Ties - Elk Hair Caddis

The Elk Hair Caddis the iconic caddis pattern and (in my opinion) one of the first dry flies anyone new to tying should attempt. This fly work good in a variety of colors, with peacock and tan being some of the most popular, but olive, black, dun and others work well too. The tan one in a 14 or a 12 have be very popular around here for the Spruce Moth that shows up mid summer.

Hook: Standard dry fly hook
Body: Dubbing or peacock herl
Hackle: Dry fly hackle
Rib: Ultra wire
Wing: Elk hair

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Start the fly behind the eye of the hook and secure the wire down the majority of the hook shank. Next take your body material, whether it be dubbing or herl, and tie the body. Peacock herl is a popular choice around here for Mother’s Day Caddis and evening caddis in the summer. If you choose to use dubbing than try to use synthetic or a synthetic mix. Natural dubbings absorb too much water. I used Superfine dubbing here to get that nice tight body. Now tie in a hackle feather to match the hook size.

When winding the hackle you can adjust the fly to the water you will be fishing. For soft calm water I like as little as three wraps of hackle; this allows the fly to ride lower and more naturally in the water. For heavier riffle and such I prefer 6-7 wraps of hackle to keep the fly afloat. However many wraps you make with your hackle make sure you ‘catch’ the hackle feather with wire and use the wire to secure the hackle down.

Time to add the wing. Hair selection is important when it comes to dry fly wings. The two things you want to look for are short tips and how hollow the hair is. The earlier in the season the animal was harvested the shorter the tips. On the other hand though the really early season hair isn’t always hollow enough and won’t be as buoyant. If you press down on the hair with a finger nail it should flare some. The other thing to consider when tying hairs wings is over-dressing the fly. It’s different for every fly, but it’s always the case that is take less then you think to make and adequate full wing. So, having selected your hair you need to remove any broken tips and the under fluff. Now stack it in a stacker and tie it in right on top on the hook. Various pinch techniques can come in handy here. Trim off the hair to form a head and tie off the fly.