The Elk Hair Caddis

The Elk Hair Caddis

The Elk Hair Caddis or Deer Hair Caddis (Latin ‘Trichoptera’) The Elk Hair Caddis was first tied by Al Troth of the USA sometime during 1957, it is considered a ‘searching’ type pattern as it resembles the form of adult caddis flies or small stoneflies.

Troth created the pattern and first fished with it that same year in eastern Pennsylvania. The fly was inspired by several palmered flies that Troth liked to fish, the Little Red Sedge fly being an example, which featured a hair wing. Originally tied to imitate the Green Caddis hatch, the Elk Hair Caddis has since been tied in a variety of wing, hackle and body colours to simulate different caddis and small stoneflies.

Caddis or Sedge flies have two pair of wings, the front pair being longer than the rear, it is important to note that this is a characteristic that Troth must have studied meticulously during his creation, as the pattern of movement on the surface of the water is what trout are attracted to. At rest, their wings lie close along the body in an inverted V. Caddis flies do not have a tail, but many have long antenna. The wing shape in Troth’s design is the key element to this fly as it causes maximum water disturbance on the retrieve that replicates that of an adult emerging caddis as it tries to scuttle to the bank for safety. It’s fast movement, produces a very prominent ‘V’ shaped wake on the surface that most anglers will have witnessed, and one that trout are constantly on the lookout for. Troths design was further enhanced by using a typical stubby roof wing profile, that simulates a wide range of small to medium caddis flies.

Although of American origin, it is now used all over the world and is a very popular addition to any fly box. I first used this fly on the river Dart this year following the advice of an accomplished fly fisherman who swore by it. Following several fruitless excursions on this river using the entire contents of my fly box without success, he convinced me to try the Elk Hair. I had not come across this design before, so was interested to see if it would change my luck. I used it for the remainder of the day without success, but he had none either, so I wasn’t put off. Perseverance as always is key. I look forward to reporting my success with this fly in the not too distant future.

Tying the Elk Hair Caddis Tying the Elk Hair Caddis is a relatively simple affair, and I would recommend visiting for a clear and concise method on how. Providing clear pictures and sensible comments at each stage of the construction as well as recommended materials this site offers everything required.


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