Tips for tying an Elk Hair Caddis Dry Fly including a materials list, instructional video, and much more. Improve your fly tying skills here.

The Elk Hair Caddis is a hugely popular pattern across much of the US. Caddis hatch in droves and provide big meals for trout of all sizes. Whether you're fishing from the bank or from a drift boat, this fly is a must-have in every angler's dry fly box. A Caddis works well when fished as a dry fly on the surface or skated in choppy water. Here are step-by-step instructions to tie this popular dry fly.

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Hook: Daiichi 1170 Traditional Dry Fly Hook, Size: 16

Thread: Danville Flymaster 6/0 Thread, Color: Tan

Wing: Hareline Elk Hair Natural

Wire: UTC Ultra Wire, Color: Copper

Body: Hareline Strung Peacock Herl

Underbody: Hareline Bugger Hackle Patches, Color: Grizzly

Step One:

Tie in the Copper Wire. This wire is going to be used to rib the body of the fly. Tie the wire in by wrapping back to the bend of the hook then wrapping forward to just behind the eye. 

Step Two:

Tie in the Peacock Herl. Choose 3-4 herls to make the body of the fly more durable. Similarly, tie in the herl by wrapping back to the bend of the hook then wrapping forward to leave your thread about a hook's eye behind the hook eye. 

Step Three:

Wrap the Peacock Herl forward. Before wrapping the herl, twist the strands to create more durability. After twisting the strands, wrap them forward from the bend of the hook until they're close to the thread. Tie off the herls with two wraps behind the herls and two in front. After they're secured, break off the excess tips.

Step Four:

Choose one hackle feather and tie it in at the eye of the hook. Select a hackle feather that's about 1.5x the width of the hook gap. Strip the tip of the hackle to make tying it in easier. Make sure the shiny side of the hackle is on top when tying it in. Finally, trim the stem of the hackle feather. 

Step Five:

Wrap the hackle backward to the bend of the hook. Catch the hackle with the copper wire then wrap the wire forward. Once you reach the eye of the hook, tie off the copper wire and helicopter the wire to break it off. Snip the excess hackle.

Step Six:

Tie in the wing. Clip a medium-sized chunk of Elk Hair and comb out the excess hairs. Stack the tips in a hair stacker to make sure the tips are even. Measure the Elk Hair so it extends just past the bend of the hook. Catch the Elk Hair with two loose wraps before adding a few tight wraps. Throw a whip finish. 

Step Seven:

Grab the butts of the Elk Hair and trim them at the same trajectory as the hook eye. Add some head cement to increase the durability of the fly.

And that's the Elk Hair Caddis. The Elk Hair Caddis is a great pattern for small stream trout and works well throughout the US. Follow our YouTube channel for more fly tying tutorials and be sure to check back for more step-by-step fly tying instructions.


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