Tying the Carey Special (Stillwater Dragon or Caddis Imitation)

This a great stillwater pattern popular in the Pacific NW and B.C. and for all I know beyond. I have never fished it for stream born insects but imagine it could serve well as an October Caddis. The dubbed body can be replaced by a wound body of yarn, chenille or the classic…peacock herl. The hardest part of the fly is winding/wrapping a balanced wing with the ringneck pheasant rump feather. Do not over hackle the pattern…more is not better. In the spirit of not leaving well enough alone…the fly could have a small filoplume tail and be tied on a straight shank hook. Here I tied it on the TMC 200R hook with a straight eye. Many do not like this hook because of lost fish. I have not had the problems with this hook.

“Originally called the “Monkey-faced Louise”, until receiving the name Carey Special. It was aptly named the Carey Special from its originator, Colonel Carey. Doctor Lloyd Day of Kelowna found a groundhog on his fishing trip and asked Colonel Carey to tie a fly from the hairs. Today, it has many colors, and is usually tied with pheasant rump rather than groundhog.

A Carey Special can simulate many insects, including dragonfly nymphs, caddis nymphs, mayfly nymphs, and leeches. The Carey is by far one of the most popular lake fishing patterns in British Columbia. Look in any local angler’s fly box, and it will probably contain a Carey Special. It is an exceptional trolling fly, and a great searching pattern.

The most common way to fish the Carey Special in British Columbia’s lakes, is to troll the fly on or near the bottom with a full sink line. At other times, success can be found while trolling the fly at intermediate depths, or near the surface. Often variations in the retrieve will elicit strikes. Short tugs of about 2 to 3 inches, or long slow pulls of about 8 to 12 inches, followed by a pause should be tried.”  (Sport Fishing BC)


Also, query here for Lake Bait Stillwater Nymph Pattern (8-3-08) for a worthy variation of the Carey Special (this one has the little tuft of marabou/filoplume tail). The Carey Special is suggestive of dragons and damsels and stillwater caddis. It is a productive stillwater pattern and a good basic pattern to practice beginning fly tying skills: ribbing, wrapping a body of yarn, peacock herl or chenille and tying in a feather by the tip and wrapping a wing the length of the body. If you want to take the fly in a different direction then consider a body of red, orange, yellow, chartreuse, purple. Something to note…look at the heads below…chunky. Look at the one above…more streamlined. I found the peacock made for a thicker tie off and I used heavier thread below. By the time I had tied in and wound the wing, I had a pretty thick thread head. I would recommend 8/0 and minimize the thread wraps to lessen buildup. The goal is to secure the materials for a durable fly, but aesthetically the fly can look clunky if a little care is not taken. There are two important points in fly tying: the bend and the eye. The fly can look too thick at the rear or front when care is not taken to securely tie in materials with minimal thread wraps while using a thinner thread (14/0 or 8/0 instead of 6/0 or 3/0.

3 Responses to “Tying the Carey Special (Stillwater Dragon or Caddis Imitation)”

  1. 1 Kim Kaufman
    March 8, 2011 at 14:31

    I have fished the Carey Special in Georgetown Lake, MT with great results, trolling it with a full sinking line. The rainbows love it and I have caught a number of large brookies as well.


  2. November 23, 2009 at 11:28

    Great looking fly Gary.


  3. 3 FlytoFly
    November 23, 2009 at 10:40

    I like this pattern-very nicely tied!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Below @ “The Past” you can search back to 2008 month by month

November 2009
« Oct   Dec »

Please visit MUNCY DESIGNS (click)

Welcome to SwittersB & Exploring. Please Share, Comment & Like Away!

Please subscribe just below. Use the Search box to search topics.

Enter your email address to subscribe to the SwittersB blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,026 other followers

The Past

231!!! Countries Visiting SwittersB~Thank You!!!

free counters

Blog Stats: There are lies, damn lies and statistics

  • 4,665,116 Visits/Views (WP Original Stat~Pre Flag Counter Stats)

%d bloggers like this: