Elk Hair Caddis

DescriptionThe Elk Hair Caddis was originated by Al Troth fromMontana. It is without a doubt one of the most used dry flies for caddis hatches. I bet almost every fly shop has Elk hair Caddis for sale in their fly bins. Make sure to tie up a few of these for your fly box. Even if you do not have trout to fish for where you live, the panfsih will eat these things like crazy. You can add some small rubber legs to the sides of the head to make them have more life when you twitch them while fishing. Have fun with this one. It has some god techniques that will help with other patterns you may tie.


Hook: Tiemco 100, Size 8-20 Thread: Ultra Thread 70 Denier color to match the body Body: Superfine Dubbing – Olive, Tan, Cream, Yellow, Brown or Grey Wing: Elk Hair Hackle: Grizzly Rooster Hackle Ribbing: Monofilament Tying Thread or Tippet Material Note: You can use Ice Dub in different colors for the bodies and add a little Krystal flash to the wing for a different look.


Lets Go Tie a Elk Hair Caddis ↓

Step 1

Place the hook securely in the jaws of your tying vise.

Step 2

After starting your tying thread on the hook tie in a short piece of tippet material or monofilament tying thread. 5X tippet is a good size to use for most Elk Hair Caddis.

Step 3

Wrap towards the rear of the hook over the tippet material until you get to the spot on the hook shank where the hook bend starts to curve. You want to stop right where the bend begins.

Step 4

Place a small amount of Superfine dubbing on the tying thread. It is best to use a small amount of dubbing to make sure it will twist up nice and tight on the tying thread so the fly has a tightly dubbed body.

Step 5

Now twist the dubbing material between your pointer finger and your thumb so it tightens up onto the tying thread. This will make a rope of dubbing on the thread so it can be wrapped like yarn on the hook to make the body of our Elk Hair Caddis.

Step 6

Wrap the dubbing forward on the hook shank from the bend towards the hook eye. Stop wrapping the body about three quarters of teh way up the shank. It is important to leave enough room to tie in the hackle feather and elk hair that will make the wing.

Step 7

Now prepare a hackle feather for the body hackle. A Whiting Farms 100 pack hackle that has been pre-sized makes this very easy. You can also use a hackle gauge to make sure you are using the right size feater for the hook size you are tying on. Example: if you are tying on a size 12 hook you will want to use a hackle feather that has the right length fibers for that size hook. This will make the fly float right on the water when you take it fishing.


Step 8

Trim the soft fuzzy stuff off the bottom of the hackle feather and then trim a few of the fibers along the stem of the feather so it looks like a comb like in the picture.

Step 9

Next, tie the end of the hackle feather in right in front of the dubbed body. The shinny side of the feather should be facing up or away from the hook.

Step 10

Use your hackle pliers or fingers to wrap the hackle feather over the body towards the bend of the hook. Make sure to leave equal spaces between the wraps so the dubbing color of the body shows through. Stop wrapping where the dubbed body first starts at the very back of the hook shank. This method of hackle is called palmered hackle. Many flies use this hackle technique.

Step 11

Now start to wrap the tippet material ribbing over the hackle feather so it will not unwind. The ribbing helps make the hackle feather more durable so the fish do not break stem of the feather.


Step 12

Keep wrapping the ribbing forward leaving spaces between each wrap until it is at the front of the body. Tie down the ribbing material with your tying thread with several wraps of thread. Then trim off the ribbing as close to the hook as possible.

Step 13

Lift the tip of the hackle feather away from the hook and trim it off as close as possible to the hook. Congratulations, you just finished the body of your Elk Hair Caddis!

Step 14

It is time to select a small amount of elk body hair for the wing. It is always better to use to little hair when you are first learning to tie with elk and deer hair. If you try to use to much it is hard to make it work and can be frustrating. I like to fan the hair out in my fingers and try to get the hair fibers so they are one on top of another. They do not have to perfect. Then I try to use a width of hair tht is about the same as the gap of the hook (the distance between the hook point and the shank). You would use more hair on a larger size hook and less on a smaller size hook. Practice and see how much hair works best for you. It will get easier the more you practice.

Step 15

Use your scissors to trim the elk hair clump off of the hide.

Step 16

Hold the natural tip in your finger tips and comb through the elk hair with a hair comb or an eyebrow comb like the one in the picture. You can buy these at the grocery store for a couple of dollars and they work great for cleaning out the soft under fuzz. It is important to remove the fuzz so the hair will stack in our hair stacker to even all the tips for the fly wing.

Step 17

After the fuzz has been combed out, the tips of the hair can be put into the tube of the hair stacker. The natural tips go into teh stacker first. Then tap the stacker on the table a couple of times. Our poodle always thinks someone is knocking on the front door and barks when I use the hair stacker!

Step 18

Now hold the hair stacker on its side and slowly pull the tube out of the base.

Step 19

Once the tube is pulled out you will see the even tips of the elk hair for your fly wing.

Step 20

Remove the hair from the tube and hold it on top of the hook shank to measure the wing length. The tips of the hair should go a little past the bend of the hook like in the picture.

Step 21

Hold the elk hair and the hook shank in your fingers so you can make a couple of loose thread wraps around the hair and the hook and then tighten the thread wraps by pulling the bobbin. Do not let go of the hair and the hook until you have made 6-8 more tight wraps of thread in exactly the same spot on the hair. It is very important to keep tight pressue on these wraps of thread otherwise the wing will be loose and may even spin around the hook shank.

Step 22

You can see that all the elk hair is tied in on top of the hook directly in front of the body.

Step 23

Pull the long ends of the elk hair back over the top of the fly and make several wraps of thread in front of the elk hair to form the head.

Step 24

Now whip finish the fly in front of the elk hair. After the whip finish is done you can cut off your tying thread.

Step 25

Hold the long ends of the elk hair up away from the hook shank and cut them so they make a sort tuft of hair for the caddis fly head.


Step 26

Way to go! You finished the Elk Hair Caddis. This is one fly you will want to fill up your fly box with. Have fun and try different colors and different dubbing materials for the body. Ice Dub makes some really fun bodies and the fish like them too.


Instruction and photos from http://www.tylerbefus.com/fly-tying-tutorials/pattern.cfm?id=28

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