This time of year finds us either going crazy from cabin fever or beating up the white fish on the Weber. I prefer the white fish, with an occasional brown thrown in for good measure. These caddis patterns are a favorite and effective pattern all year long, but seem to be a staple during the winter months. There are several very good patterns and this small selection does not come close to covering all of them, but these are some of my favorites. I have lumped them all together as they are basically the same to tie.
The hooks for these patterns are standard nymph hooks, Mustad 3906 or DAI-ICHI 1550 in sizes 10 to 20. All may be tied with 6/0 or 8/0 thread in a gray or brown color. The basic materials are as follows: LATEX CADDIS: 28 gauge gold wire ribbing, latex sheet body, Hungarian partridge beard, peacock collar. MUSKRAT CADDIS: Muskrat dubbing body, Hungarian partridge beard, peacock collar. LACE CADDIS: Larva lace body in olive, grey or yellow, peacock collar. CHAAEMY CADDIS: Striped chamois body, hungariani beard, peacock collar. LACE EMERGEIL Same as lace caddis with a soft hungarian partridge hackle. CELAMOIS EMERGER. Chamois strip body, red fox squirrel thorax, Hungarian partridge soft hackle.
The actual tying of these flies is very basic. Getting them to look just right isnt hard once you know a few "helpful hinte.
The latex caddie is tied by first putting on the gold ribbing and extending it off the back out of the way. Next cut a 1/4 inch wide piece of latex sheet and attach it onto the hook at the same spot where you will want the peacock collar to begin. Then wrap back over the latex and wrap it forward overlapping each wrap to form a forward taper in the body. The body should take up about 3/4 of the hook length. Next, rib the body with the wire pulling tight to further segment. Add a beard that extends nearly to the point of the hook, tie in the collar, form a small head and finish.
The Muskrat caddis is basically the same procedure, only there is no ribbing, and you are using dubbing for the body, This pattern may be modified by changing the color of dubbing, such as using an olive or pale yellow.
The trick on the lace caddis is tying the Larva Lace at the same Point on the hook as you want the collar to start and wrapping back over it to the bend of the hook. The lace looks good because you can we the thread wraps showing through the body giving it a mottled look. You may also try using a different color of thread to give the body a contrasting color.
The chammy caddis is a favorite of most everyone who fishes the Provo, or the Weber, and is very popular wherever you find cased caddie in the water. Again, it is tied the same basic way as the others. iar
The only problem with this pattern is overcoming the large lump on the bend of the hook where you tied in the chamois. This problem is solved on the other patterns by tying the material in where you start the collar. In the case of the chammy caddis, this would make the body much too fat and close off your hook gap. The simple way to overcome this problem is to cut the end of the strip into a wedge shape and only tie in the tip of the chamois. This will give you a smooth body.
The emergers are tied the same as their counterparts with the exception of the soft hackle and the thorax on the chamois. Use a red fox squirrel blend for the thorax and comb it out to simulate the emerging wings and legs. Then add a soft hungarian partridge or barred teal hackle. Soft hackles are not difficult to tie once you stop trying to get them to wrap like a normal hackle. Do not leave any space to wrap them other than the normal space for the head. When you select a feather it will be small, but you will only need a few wraps. When YOU wrap the feather, the barbs will stick out everywhere. Don't worry too much about this. Also do not trim the tip of the hackle. Just release your pliers. Once the feather is tied down, pull all the barbs back around the hook and finish the head over the top of the hackle. This will hold them down over the body and take care of the ones sticking out all over.
As I mentioned, these are some of my favorite caddis patterns. You will be able to fish them in a variety of circumstances and on many different waters. Even during a caddis hatch when you can see the insects coming off the water, try the emergers with the down stream swing technique. Often the trout will be feeding on the emerging caddis and not breaking the surface
Another point to be aware of is the size of the fly. It won't make much sense to fish a size 12 pattern if there aren't any live bugs this size in the river. Roll over a couple rocks and have a look. Fish the same size imitation that you see in the stream This will vary from location to location even on the same river.