Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to tie an Elk Hair Caddis

Sometime switching to a #12 PBR is all that works.....

I recently started to tie flys again and now remember why I stick to nymphs and streamers.  Wrapping hackle is hard, it costs too much and I just can't manage to not crowd the eye on a #18 Parachute Adams.  There is nothing worse than having the right fly that you know would work but you can't tie it on because the eye is totally covered with material.  I found a piece I wrote a while back about tying Elk Hair caddis flies.  There are a few stages in fly tying.  Everyone starts out as a beginner and rarely does anyone become an expert.  I'm pretty much a intermediate tyer which means I can tie serviceable nymphs  buggers and Clousers.  Thats about it.  Here are two versions of how one should go about tying an EHC, one for the beginner and one for the intermediate tyer.

Start with a size 8 2x long heavy gauge nymph hook.  (only hook left in Cabelas fly tying kit)

Wrap half a spoon of tread to coat the hook shank. 

Tie in a purpule marabou tail. (strictly out of habit because all you tie are wooly buggers and purple is the only color that came with the cabelas kit)

Cut off marabou

Tie in copper wire (no extra fine silver)

Tie in brown rooster saddle hackle at the base of the feather that is about 2mm thick.  (Again, the only feathers you have are for wolly buggers and you already tried partrige and that looked dumb)

Wrap saddle hackle forward and tie off. Cut excess and watch it unravel. Rewrap and tie off too far back.

Trim saddle hackle to the right length since the barbules are big enough for a 2/0 pike fly. 

Add 2.7 oz head cement to secure and matte down what you are loosely referring to as hackle

Cut off 3x too much deer hair (whats the difference Elk, Deer? same thing)

Don’t stack the hair.  I know, “what do you mean STACK the hair?” Don’t worry about it you don’t have a stacker anyway.

Don’t trim it just tie it in too close to the eye

Loop twice around like you read and pull down with slight pressure. SNAP

Screw it.


Start with a size 12 dry fly hook.  This is the only size you have and its two sizes too big for the water you fish. 

Don’t use gel spun thread.  I know, “what’s gel spun thread?” You don’t have any. 

Wrap on pearl flash

Tie in wire at bend

Tie in dun cabelas brand bargain dry fly feather back from the eye.  At least it’s the right size…..

Wrap hackle back and secure by wrapping wire forward towards the eye.  Secure wire

Cut elk hair and stack.

Measure and cut to proper length. 

Make two loose wraps around hair pull to secure


You can try this a few times but go ahead and get some GSP.  

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