SBS Tied-Down Caddis SBS


At one time, this was a very popular fly. So much so, I used it as one of my patterns for the Fly Wrap Up column in the 1994 issue of Flyfishing magazine.

When I first started flyfishing, there were no fly shops in town. I was on my own to obtain flies and figure out what they were supposed to be used for. I shopped the Payless store in town that had a stock of patterns in clear plastic bins. They sold the Tied-Down Caddis and I thought it must be a dry fly patterns and used it as such. I learned to flyfish in a small Oregon Cascades stream and the fly was a hit with the native cutts. Much to my surprise, I found it worked equally well when it sunk and I fished it subsurface.

Later on, when I started fishing the Metolius, an orange Tied-Down Caddis (TDC) fished with a sink-tip line was the preferred method for catching the planters.

So you can use this pattern either way -- dry or wet. I'm not aware of many dry flies that work as well subsurface as they do on the surface. The TDC may very well one of the few universal wet or dry flies ever created.

There's many ways to tie a TDC. Some folks tie an Elk Hair Caddis and then tie down the hair wing so it forms the shellback. Others us the but ends of the tail fibers and pull them over to form the shellback.

This is how I do it. This particular pattern was in the second issue of my column so it's a tad old ... the pattern still works, just the same.

Tied-Down Orange Caddis:

completed fly.jpg


Hook: Mustad 94840 or similar 1x fine dry fly hook, TDE, sizes 8-16
Thread: Orange
Tail: Deer or elk hair (I prefer bleached deer hair)
Shellback: Deer or elk hair
Hackle: Brown, dry fly quality
Body: Orange poly wool or antron dubbing ... something synthetic if you want it to float

Secure the hook in the vise, select, clean and align 8-10 hair fibers and tie-in above the hook barb. The fibers should extend the same distance as the length of the body.

For the shellback, tie in 10-15 stacked hair fibers in the same manner as the tail. The hair fibers must be long so they can be folded over the length of the tody. Tie-in the hackle, dry fly fashion.

Dub or wrap a body with synthetic dubbing or poly yarn. Leave ample room for the head.

Palmer the hackle through the body, tie off and trim away the tip of the hackle. Grasp the shellback hair fibers and with a slight twist, pull the fibers forward over the body. Anchor the thread down just behind the hook eye and either finish with a tapered head of trim the hair crew-cut style. Whip finish and coat the head wraps and shellback with head cement.

Note: It's been my experience that if you use the pattern as a dry fly, it's best to use a hackle feather for palmering with fibers that do not extend below the hook point. Otherwise, the pattern has a tendency to roll on the surface. As an alternative, you can always cut the hackle fibers short after installing.

Tied in larger sizes, the pattern can represent an adult Golden Stonefly and of course, an adult October Caddis.

Go Fish!
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WFF Supporter
Gene, years ago I was camped at Hosmer, tying some emergers on a picnic table. A guy in the campsite next to me came to visit and watch me tie. He was from California and had fished the lake for many years, I was a noob. He showed me how to tie a tied down caddis exactly like yours and I tied up a half dozen or so. That evening he offered to take me out in his boat and we cruised through the channel to the upper lake. There we fished till dark with the TDC and had constant action on Atlantic salmon. I still use that fly to this day, it is exceptional when caddis appear at dusk.

Thanks for sharing, Ive
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I've, it really is one of those strange patterns. It has no wings and instead, looks like a floating scud. Yet subsurface, it doesn't really look like a scud... or any aquatic creature for that matter. I have no idea what the trout think it is when it is floating or subsurface.

The only thing I know for sure is that it works. Another of the old patterns you don't hear much about these days but it still does work.


I used this one and the Spruce fly exclusively for probably the first 7 years I fly fished, and caught hundreds of cutthroat on Oregon coastal streams. Sometimes I tied it in yellow, always a color the cutties like. I would fish them dry until they became emergers, LOL, but I also tied them with some weight and fished them as nymphs, perhaps with shorter palmered hackle.


The use of orange or yellow bodies is the standard. I too use yellow bodied TDCs as much as I do the orange version. It seems that yellow does work better for the smaller streams... especially when fished dry.

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