Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Golden Trout, Jul 8, 2013.
Elk hair, deer hair, cdc, partridge, preformed, etc. Please share your choice and why you use them.
Elk hair mostly. I have tied micro caddis with cdc, but unless the lighting is perfect I can't see it. I have to fish those as a trailer behind something more visible. Cdc as an underwing looks good. Sometimes a synthetic like widows web is viable option.
Runoff here in Co. was somewhat early this year. And as the powers that be wanted to fill reservoirs, I was fishing caddis on the Colorado in June. With somewhat high water, visibility was a slight issue, especially with anything white, which matched the foam. My personal dilemma was floatability. As long as my fly was high and dry, I got hit. Although not so high, my most productive fly was an EC Caddis, which is Ralph Cutter's elk wing caddis with a parachute.
Deer hair. ...unless I want to see the pattern on the surface and in that case, I go with bleached elk hair. So I switched from deer hair to bleached elk hair.
The reason to use deer hair is that the wings of the caddis adults around these parts are closer to the color of deer hair than elk hair.
However, fish do not seem to consider the wing color when deciding to eat a hatched caddis so I do actually use bleached dear hair because it is easier to tie with and much easier to find on the surface.
Elk hair is my go to wing material mainly for how it floats, but on slower water I like to tie up a henry's fork caddis with cdc and wood duck flank for the wing because it gives a nicer profile.
Gregg: When you say "nicer profile", do you mean an opaque wing in non-flight mode?
Ha, I guess "nicer profile" really isn't the proper word choice here, but when tying it with the cdc and wood duck it does look more like a wing in non-flight mode like you said and I suppose I just like the look of it. Now this fly pattern does have a low profile, which I also like for slower water.
1-Coq de León.
dyed orange or bleached elk hair so I can see it in low light
All of them, if I'm fishing free stones around here, I pretty much fish a EHC with or without some poly in the wing, or a King River Caddis or small Stimulators if I'm targeting a Caddis hatch. When I fish the Missouri I use many different stages of caddis, from up wing deer hair types, or as the season and hatch progresses I'll switch to CDC down wing types like the Double Duck and eventually to no hackle downwing spents, mostly make with individual CDC or synthetic wing materials.
Back when I fished for trout instead of steelhead, the caddis pattern type I used depended on what the natural caddis were doing and the type of water I was fishing. The Elk Hair Caddis a great pattern, but there are time it is nearly worthless or not very effective.
When caddis adults are lying flush on the film after egg-laying in the eddies and slow-water areas, a fly like Solomon's Delta Wing Caddis is the ticket because it lies flush in the film and the wings are awash like the natural.
The Lawson Partridge Caddis in another one that is very good for smaller caddis after egg-laying on smooth flows.
The Henryville Caddis with floss body to match the color of the naturals and hackle clipped top and bottom is another good one after the caddis egg-layers are lying dead on flowing water. Harrop's quill winged caddis imitation I think he calls it the Harrop Natural Caddis, but I'm not sure about that) is even better for that situation. These are best if you spray the quill before making the wing with Krylon's Fixative to make them more durable, otherwise, the wings only hold up for a few fish.
And lest I forget, Lafontaine's Emergent Caddis Pupa, which lies in or just below the film is the best fly I've ever used during the actual emergence (not evening egg-laying flight) of caddis regardless of species, size, or color of the emerging caddis. It is not easy to find this fly though because it takes a little longer to tie than a normal soft-hackle wingless wet.
I like the elk hair daddis. For added visability I add a pice of poly over the wing. If I need the pattern to sit flush in the film I just trim the hackle along the bottom.
I use deer hair, but only because I find it easier to work with and can use less to get the right 'look'.
First choice is usually elk but for a long time (back in the 70s) I tied with mink tail. Can't remember who, but one of the fly fishing prophets of the day made the mink tail caddis pattern a big deal, at least back east. I developed a pattern making the body with tight palmered wraps of grizzly hackle then clipping it short. This made a neat spikey body plus it was a way to use the previously unusable feathers on the neck (was pretty frugal in the day). Mink tail fibers for the wing and hackle wound up front and clipped flat on the bottom even with the hook point. The browns on my home waters near Rochester and in the Catskills were fond of this pattern. This pattern is best used on calmer waters and won't float well on rough waters; that is when the elk hair patterns come out.
I pondered mink wing caddis for a while and then I remembered where I read it. I think the name was Fishing the fly as a living insect by Leonard Wright in the 70's. He also added a twitch to the fly as he was fishing it.
That's it! It also struck me that the value of twitching a dry fly was such an Ah Ha! moment. Anyone even starting to fish a dry fly figured that out pretty darn fast. The 70s were a great time for fly fishing and tying innovation but I think some authors under pressure to come up with something new would throw out anything that came to mind and hype it as the next best thing. I do miss the passion and excitement of those days but then I was in my 20s with no kids and a serious fly fishing obsession. Ah the good old days.