I’ve spent some time on my favorite river over the last couple of weeks waiting for hatches and rising fish. Some days, I was rewarded…other days I sat a lot and watched the river. While waiting, I decided to look in the streamside vegetation to see if I could locate some bugs. I thought it may help decide what fly to tie on my leader. I found quite a few caddis and was able to take some close-up images of them. What better time to provide a glimpse into my world. In addition, I’ll share my favorite Caddis imitations I use to imitate them. And it works in nicely because I’ve been tying a lot of Iris Caddis for a customer as well as filling the provider box.

6 Dozen Iris Caddis | www.johnkreft.com

The image above shows six dozen Iris Caddis in tan, three dozen each in size 14 and 16.

Here are two images are of Caddis I found while waiting for the fish to rise. These bugs move quickly, but I was lucky.

Caddis | www.johnkreft.com

Notice the “bad hair”? Besides the tented wings, it’s a distinguishing feature to identify Caddis.

Caddis Eyes | www.johnkreft.com

The next two are from last year.

Fly on Waders | www.johnkreft.com

I think the one below might be an Alderfly. I don’t see the telltale hair on the head. Do you think the fish care?

Caddis from Madison River | www.johnkreft.com

I’m lucky at times using my Olympus TG-6 to capture these images. You can see all the camera gear I use in my updated post – Camera Equipment for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying.

Here are three dry flies I use that have been very effective for me. Just change the body color to imitate different Caddis.

And olive versions of an Improved F Fly and X Caddis.

Caddis Patterns | www.johnkreft.com

I’ve found the olive Improved F Fly is an excellent imitation for a size 16 little olive stonefly I find flitting along the water’s surface. The tan version is a favorite fly we fish on the Madison River, MT.

Improved F Fly | www.johnkreft.com

The link below will take you to my latest YouTube video demonstrating how I tie an Iris Caddis.

Be sure to like and subscribe to my RiverKeeper Flies YouTube channel for future videos.

Lastly, while not associated with the Caddis theme, here is a close-up of a cranefly I was able to capture…another lucky moment.

Cranefly | www.johnkreft.com

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

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  1. So John, how do you fish the Iris caddis? I tied some over the winter, but have yet used one on the river.

    1. Thanks for the Comment Bill.

      I fish it like any dry fly. It’s a great imitation for hatching caddis in the evening, one I use on the Madison in Montana. But I’ve also used it at other times with success as well.


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