Shop Orvis Today!

Rough Water Caddis Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Rough Water Caddis
1X-long dry-fly hook (here a Dai-Riki #300), size 14.
Olive, 6/0.
Natural deer body hair, cleaned and stacked.
Grizzly rooster saddle hackle, trimmed on the bottom.
Tan Super Fine dubbing.
Change the colors to match the naturals.
Show / Hide Rough Water Caddis Transcript

Video Transcript:

This is the name of this fly. It actually means animal or beast in Norwegian. The pattern was originated by Norwegian fly tier whose name is this: ______. I won't do the pattern or the tier the disservice of trying to pronounce either of their names, and simply refer to this wonderful little fly as a Rough Water Caddis.

For a hook, I’m going to use a Dai-Riki #300 dry fly hook in a size 14. Start by mashing the barb and then getting the hook firmly secured in your tying vise.

For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of olive 6/0 Danville. Get the thread started on the hook shank behind the eye and take wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. End with your tying thread about an eye length behind the hook eye.

I’ve chosen to use natural deer body hair here but you can use dyed to match the color of the naturals. A scant 1/8th of a pencil diameter bundle is all you need. Remove the fuzzies and shorts from the butt ends of the clump and then place it in your stacker tips first. Here, I’m using a large diameter stacker to get things roughly aligned so I can snip the ragged butt ends off square. I like to then stack a second time in a smaller stacker to really get the tips aligned and then snip the butts off square again.

Measure to form a tail about a half a hook shank in length and transfer that measurement rearward. While keeping the tail the correct length, pinch the hair at the tie-in point with the thumb and index finger of your left hand. Give your bobbin a quick counterclockwise spin so the thread will jump slightly rearward when you take 2 loose collecting wraps. You can then pull down to close the wraps, all the while keeping the bundle on top of the hook shank. Make 2 or 3 angled wraps through the deer hair butts, pulling rearward to the tie-in point in the process.

Start taking open spiral wraps rearward, binding the clump to the top of the hook shank. Stop at a point just above the hook barb, reverse direction and take open spiral wraps forward back to the original tie-in point. Lift the deer hair butts up and back to expose the eye and take a few wraps to build a thread dam and prop up the butts. Reposition your thread to the original tie-in point. Get hold of the butts with your left hand and snip them off, leaving a small angled head on the fly.

For hackle, I like the dense, stiff barbules of rooster saddle hackle, here, grizzly, but hackle from a regular neck will work just fine. Again, you can adjust color to match whatever’s coming off. Err on the side of smaller for the hook size as the body of the fly is already bulky and will become even more so in the near term.

With the shiny side of the hackle facing you, pull down about 1/4 inch of barbules on both sides of the stem. Give them a snip to form a small triangle and then strip another 1/4 inch or so of fibers from just the top of the stem. At this point, you can snip the triangle even smaller if you like. The triangle will be used as a tie-in anchor to stop the somewhat slick stem from pulling out from under the thread wraps. Place the anchor on the near side of the hook, just behind the deer hair head, and take thread wraps to secure it. Give the stem a little fold forward to help keep it out of the way.

For dubbing, I’m going to go with tan Super Fine. Once again, use whatever you want to match the naturals. Pinch just a small wisp of dubbing and build a very thin noodle on your tying thread, the thinner the better. While pulling the hackle forward and out of the way, start taking wraps down the body with the dubbing noodle. You can see why you need to keep the noodle thin. End right at the base of the tail.

Get hold of the hackle and take one complete wrap over the thread wraps at the tie-in point, followed by open spiral wraps down the body of the fly. You can really see here how dense and bristly the rooster saddle hackle is once it's wound. Continue taking hackle wraps all the way to the base of the tail and then secure the hackle with a couple wraps of tying thread. Continue taking open spiral thread wraps up the body, zig zagging as you go, to keep from trapping hackle fibers. Pull the head back to position the thread just behind the hook eye. Do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free. Using just the tips of your tying scissors, snip the excess hackle off close to the base of the tail.

This pattern is meant to float in the surface film, so the hackles on the underside of the hook are trimmed off close leaving a nice, fanned appearance to the top side.

To me, this is an absolutely brilliant, suggestive rather than imitative caddis pattern thats construction allows it to float through just about anything.