Fly Tying: 3 Simple Caddis Patterns

16 January 2017
Comments: 2
16 January 2017, Comments: 2

Fly Tying: 3 Extremely Simple Caddis Patterns


The old fly tying adage is always: “I got into fly tying to save money…but that didn’t happen”.  It’s understandable, there is so much cool stuff out there and new flies to tie, it’s hard to save money.  We really get it.  We work at a fly shop and still save our pocket change for packs of hooks or a new bag of dubbing.

However, if you are budget minded (or just someone with an empty fly box and lots of time to kill), it is likely that you are looking for ways to cut costs on your fly tying.  Maybe you are even a guide who needs some fast guide flies to put your clients on some fish.  Over the next few months we are going to be posting a fair amount of fly tying videos and many will have one thing in common: simplicity.  Simple flies tied with as few materials as possible, but still catch lots of fish.  You can crank these flies out by the dozens and not feel too bad when they get lost in a tree.

First up are 3 simple caddis patterns that work great wherever you find an abundance of caddisflies.  On our local Animas River, caddis are a staple and these flies have proven to be simple and effective.

Micro Muddler Caddis Dry

The Micro Muddler Caddis Dry is a quick and easy fly to tie that imitates a skittering or diving caddis. While you can fish this fly dead drift, the best way to fish it is with twitches and pulses that imitate struggling emerging caddis OR an egg laying caddis. Downstream swinging is also another fantastic presentation for aggressive trout eating diving caddis.

This is a perfect fly to learn spinning and trimming hair if you have never tried!

Hook: Tiemco TMC 3761 #12-16 or your favorite stout 1-2x long nymph hook.
Thread: Semper Fli Nano Silk 18/0 as it is thin but very strong for spinning hair on small hooks
Body: Hare-Tron Dubbin in your favorite caddis colors.  Dark gray, olive, tan, and dark brown work great for us.
Wing and Head: Yearling Elk

Stupid Fast Caddis Pupa

You may remember the Stupid Fast Caddis from about a year ago.  This is one of those bugs I can’t keep in my fly box.  It just works.

Hook: TMC 2487 or your favorite curved nymph hook #14-18
Thread: Olive Semper Fli Nano Silk 18/0, 8/0 Uni Thread, or 70 Denier Ultra Thread
Abdomen:  Nymph Green Semper Fli Bodyspan
Wingbuds: (Optional)  Mottled Grey Kreelex Flash
Thorax:  Hare’s Mask Dubbing

Simple Cased Caddis 2 Ways

Variation 1 Materials

Hook: Straight 2X Long Nymph Hook, Size 10-18
Case: Turkey Tail Fibers
Rib: Small UTC Copper Wire
Caddis Body: Chartreuse Floss
Head: Black Thread, 6/0-8/0 for smaller hooks
Weight: Can be tied with lead wire or beads

Variation 2 Materials

Hook: Straight 2X Long Nymph Hook, Size 10-18
Case: Turkey Tail Fibers
Rib: Small UTC Copper Wire
Caddis Body: Chartreuse or Green Thread
Head: Green Thread, colored black with sharpie, 6/0 (8/0 for smaller hooks)
Weight: Can be tied with lead wire or beads

There you have it, 3 quick and simple flies that produce fish.  Hopefully, the simplicity of these bugs has you thinking about how you can simplify other flies in your box.  Twist up a few of these flies this winter and let us know how they work for you on your local water in spring and summer!

Andy McKinley
Andy manages Duranglers Flies and Supplies online store and web content. When he is not plugging away in the basement of Duranglers, he can be found in the shop talking weird flies, throwing spey casts for few fish, eating pizza, drinking coffee, painting, and raising a family in Southwest Colorado.

His fly fishing writings have been published on blogs such as the Daily Drake and Simms Wading Room.

2 responses on “Fly Tying: 3 Simple Caddis Patterns

  1. Mike Canino says:

    When trout are aggressively taking caddisflies, I’m a big fan of using the micro muddler caddis as the dry fly in a dry fly attractor nymphing rig (“hopper – dropper”). The elk hair makes it really buoyant so the dropper nymph won’t sink it as easily, plus it’s pretty bushy and visible so it serves well as an indicator. For the nymph fly, I’ll put on some caddis emerger or pupa nymph pattern. This combo tends to do the trick when the trout are whacking caddisflies!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *