Here is the fly pattern sheet for the Elk Hair Caddis.



TMC 100, Daiichi 1182 or standard dry fly hook #8 – 18


Black, brown, orange, or olive 6/0 or 8/0


Fine gold wire


Green, olive, tan, or orange dubbing or peacock


Brown, grizzly of dun


Elk or deer hair


  1. Start thread on hook immediately behind hook eye and advance to barb.
  2. Tie in gold wire at the barb of hook.
  3. Dub body from back to front, creating a taper. Stop 2 eye lengths back from eye.
  4. Tie in hackle where body stopped and wrap back to barb using 5 – 6 evenly spaced wraps.
  5. Hold hackle and using wire, wrap forward in 5 – 6 evenly spaced wraps and tie off at end of body. Wiggle wire while wrapping forward to prevent catching hackle barbs. Trim wire and hackle.
  6. Prepare elk hair, stack and measure proper amount for wing. Tie in elk hair where body stopped. Using pinch wrap, take 2 soft wraps, then pull straight down to tighten thread around hair and hook. Continue to wrap another 5 tight wraps. Pull hair ends upright and wrap thread through ends (2 or 3 times) to strengthen and keep hair in place. DO NOT CUT HAIR ENDS
  7. Form head and using hair ends, pull upright and whip finish behind hook eye. Trim thread.
  8. Trim hair ends at same angle as hook eye, leaving some hair to look like insect head.


  • I like to select hackle which is one size smaller for each hook size…size 16 hackle for size 14 fly.
  • I trim hackle on bottom of fly even with hook point, allowing the fly to always land right side up, not on it’s side.
  • For added visibility, add chartreuse EP Fibers on top of the elk hair. Other colors and materials may be used as a substitute for EP Fibers.


  1. Hi John, looks like you’re going to have a great trip to Patagonia. I’ve had the issue you mentioned in your Elk hair Caddis link regarding flies rolling onto there sides, I’ve never read or heard your suggestion to help with this by trimming the bottom of the hackle flush with the point of the hook, thanks I’m going to try that. In looking at your examples it doesn’t look like you have trimmed the hackle is it not always necessary if the hackle is properly sized or is the hackle just trimmed immediately under the fly then left a little longer on the sides?


    1. You have a keen eye Bill! I started trimming the bottom a while ago, but those were taken before I started that practice. I have since started using smaller size hackle. Either way works. It’s up to the tyer.


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