Caddis larva patterns are hard to beat and this one, although quite small, is very easy to tie - even for novice tiers. It’s a great way for those new to tying and fishing small flies to get into the game.
Here I’m going to tie a Micro Caddis Larva on a size 22 Dai-Riki #135 scud emerger hook. Plunger-style hackle pliers make handling these hooks much easier than fingertips alone. Start by carefully mashing the barb. Barbed hooks this small can be exceedingly difficult to remove from a fish’s jaw.
I like these flies to be neutrally buoyant so use a midge-sized black glass bead as opposed to one made of brass or tungsten. Just drag the hook through the beads and you’ll eventually snag one. Get the hook and bead assembly firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise with the bead pushed all the way forward.
For thread I’m going to use black Veevus 16/0, in order to keep bulk to a minimum. Get your thread started behind the bead and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.
The only other material used in this fly is rabbit fur dubbing and I’ve found the pattern works well in light rust, natural, pale olive and chartreuse. I’m not sure the color is all that critical but I do like to carry a selection as the naturals seem to vary quite widely. Here, I’m going to use light olive, which is probably my favorite. The smallest of pinches is all you need. The hardest part about tying this fly is keeping the dubbing noodle as thin as possible. You really want to do little more than color the tying thread.
Start taking wraps so the dubbing begins pretty far down into the hook bend. After you get a full wrap of dubbing around the shank, pinch the thread and give your bobbin a good clockwise spin. Don’t be afraid to spin a lot here. What this does is cord up the thread and twist the dubbing into a rope in the process. The result is an even thinner dubbing noodle that when wrapped around the hook shank produces in a slender body with a somewhat segmented look.
When you reach the bead, give a few extra turns of tying thread, spin your bobbin counterclockwise to uncord the thread a bit, and then complete a 4 or 5 turn whip finish. Seat the knot well and snip or cut your tying thread free. If there are any truly wild-looking hairs, snip them off close, particularly from the back of the fly. I tend to leave the underside alone so the fibers resemble the legs and gills on the naturals.
And that’s the Micro Caddis Larva, small, super-effective and still easy to tie.