When most folks consider tying on a dry-fly imitation of a caddisfly, they go right to the Elk-Hair Caddis, the venerable pattern that has surely caught millions of trout since Al Troth invented it in 1957. But of course there are many other choices, and not all caddisflies look the same. Here’s a great buggy, buoyant pattern from the mind of by author and blogger Matt Grobert, which uses caribou hair, rather than the more common elk or deer. The Caribou Caddis has a messy, ragged profile that fish love. Here’s what Matt has to say about the fly:
I use it anywhere I might have used an elk hair caddis in the past, and for me, it works very well under most conditions. An elk hair caddis is primarily for use in riffles and runs, and although it may work from time to time on flat water, it isn’t the best choice. This pattern has worked well for me in every water type trout habituate, even lakes. The caribou hair wing provides an excellent profile, while also being supple and very buoyant. The only floatant you will need is Frog’s Fanny after a fish or two, to dry it out.
As usual, this video from Tightline Productions offers crystal-clear instructions for tying this useful pattern. The way Grobert slides the Zelon material rearward after a couple wraps to avoid having to cut it is a great technique. The multi-layered look, in which you see materials through a veil created by others, adds a lifelike quality to the fly. Here’s some proof that it works!
Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (e.g. Dai-Riki #305), sizes 14–18.
First Thread: Olive, 6/0.
Abdomen: Light Olive brown Hare-Tron Dubbin.
Underwing: White Zelon.
Wing: Natural caribou hair, cleaned and stacked.
Thorax/head: Natural hare’s mask dubbing.
Note: Change the abdomen color to match the naturals.