Posts Tagged ‘Caddis pupa


Fly Tying: Simple BH Caddis Pupa

This is a very simple Bead Head (BH) Caddis Pupa pattern to tie and quite effective tumbled through a riffle. It has had some success on lakes, but less so. The green sparkle braid gives a nice translucent look to the abdomen. I have used the bright green and the tan with good success. A small piece of braid tied in and burned off at the end…a small noodle of dubbing spun onto the thread and then wrapped one to two times behind a tungsten bead. The hook this time is a size 16 curved shank pupa hook. This is a perfect beginner’s pattern for Caddis Pupa. 

Green Pupa Sparkle braid SB


Fly Tying: Latex Body (Segmentation)

CP1 SwittersB

This seemed somewhat innovative several decades ago…wrapping narrow sections of stretchy latex up the hook shank, one slightly atop the other to form a plump, segmented body. Yet, you rarely see it now.  I rarely think to do it. It is a simple technique in the scheme of tying and with color markers (upon lighter colored latex strips) can appear very realistic. I include a nice Step by Step (SBS) tutorial from a 2007 post by Overbrook on the SE Fly Fishing Forum. It provides a nice visual re the segmented appearance of wrapped latex.



Fly Fishing Heritage: Short Circuited

No, this Fish Net Caddis Pupa has nothing much to directly do with this post. I just thought I would throw it in as another derivation of a simple pupa pattern using my salvaged strands of green fishing net I pulled from a hoarding cleanup in which I am immersed.

I have alluded to my multi-year commitment to my mom’s and aunt’s hospice care and in the aftermath of their deaths, to the cleaning up of their hoarding messes.

I have also mentioned my Uncle, who gave me my first fly rod and provided an example of a classy outdoorsman, who hunted and fly fished. He died too young. His special shop behind the garage was where I recalled gazing upon his fishing gear and eyeing the elk, antelope and deer antlers affixed to the wall.

 After his death, my Aunt filled the room with meaningless stuff but not, it appears, before getting rid of almost all of my Uncle’s fishing and hunting gear. What a shame. She sealed off the room. And, then socked in so much stuff before the entry way that it has stood like a tomb for 42 years. 

An old calendar has hung in that shop for many years and modestly attests to my uncles love of fly fishing.

 Yesterday and today, I gained access and entry into that room. Hours were spent removing the meaningless stuff, animal nests and hodge podge of obstacles to get to the places where there might be signs of my Uncle. I found traces of him: hunting knives neatly hung, an old camping stove, an ax and a half dozen empty cardboard fly rod tubes. I shook each one for weight or signs of something. All were empty. The rods long gone. No reels, no lines, a few spools of old mono and nary a fly box. Really nothing.

The man that handed me my first fly rod 50+ years ago may have left a legacy of  treasures, but my Aunt or someone else discarded every last piece of gear. So, I have the same recollections I always have had minus some old reel or rod that I probably wouldn’t use, but would wonder how he so enjoyed the sport with such primitive gear. Still, I would like to have found something beyond old, musty cardboard rod tubes.

This was my Uncle's style and organization. Vastly different than the chaos that beset my Aunt (and, my Mom)


Fly Tying: Macrame Caddis & FishNet Caddis

Nothing exceptional here. Basic pupa patterns that utilize the materials I found yesterday in a hoarding house. Tucked away in boxes since 1982, the materials  worked out just fine. An old macrame plant hanger from the 60’s & 70’s and a very old fish net were cut up for sections that formed the abdomens of the flies.

The two ply macrame yarn was cut for length and the yarn sections were separated. The piece of yarn was tied in at the mid section of the shank and wrapped back over toward the rear. The thread was advanced up to the end of the typical abdomen’s length. I then twisted the yarn tight like a Serendipity pattern and wrapped the yarn forward. The abdomen was completed at about the 2/3 point. The thread was half hitched off and cut. The bead was pushed back against the abdomen and then the thorax/head was dubbed for a spiky efffect.

The FishNet Caddis is a scraggly affair. Again, nothing too unique here beyond the fishing net used for the abdomen. In this instance the bead head is pushed against the eye of the hook and the deer hair thorax is wrapped in behind the bead and the abdomen.


Fly Tying: Pupa & Parachute

Hare's Ear dubbing with a little Peacock Ice Dub blended in and used to dub an abdomen/thorax. I continue to enjoy the deer hair placed into a dubbing loop and wound once for a collar. The shank is wrapped with tungsten wire.

I like this pattern. I struggle with the parachute wing. I work at reducing bulk in the thorax area and paying more attention to the hackle wraps. The quill abdomen is wrapped and overlaid with a thread ribbing, then a thin coating of head cement is applied. Last year, my quill bodies easily fractured so I am reinforcing them this time around. I am not certain a thread body with contrasting thread ribbing isn't easier, more durable and provides the contrast for segmentation.

Haven’t been able to tie in last week or two. I find I don’t have the attention span to tie complicated flies of late. Throwing together fuzzy, dubbed pupa patterns is preferable to the more tedious parachutes, but those flashy reared parachutes are a magnet.  



Fly Tying: Smooth or Dubbed Bodies

I frequently use a heavily weighted Caddis Pupa pattern as a point fly (kind of a Czech Nymphing rigging). The question of whether to tie a dubbed abdomen or a smooth abdomen has never been settled for me. I tie both and frankly have success with both styles. The scraggly, dubbed body has trailing fibers that suggest life and attracts, I think, by creating a shroud of bubbles about the fly’s body.

The smooth bodied Pupa pattern (latex wrapped to create smooth, segmented abdomen) keeps that wet, translucent look to the fly. The smooth body’s complimented with the gently dubbed thorax, which gives a hint of movement.

Which is better? Tier’s discretion and fish’s selection. Try them both. Match the fly’s weight to the water’s depth and speed (streams).


Old Fly Boxes Yield Gems

Today, I found an old fly box in an old gear bag in the garage. The box was empty save one row of about a dozen of these little tan Caddis. I honestly don’t remember tying them, but believe the gear bag has not been used in maybe 20 years. The fly box was from the Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters, Oregon. I used to frequent the shop in the glory days of Harry & Dee Teel. I seem to recall fishing these on the Crooked River (Oregon).

It is a simple dubbed hare’s ear abdomen, a beard of Partridge feather fibers, perhaps duck or mallard from a primary feather and a dubbed thorax to cover the tie in points for the wings and beard. Tied to represent a Caddis pupa, it does not have any weight on the shank. Back then the ubiquitous bead head had not quite emerged.


Fly Fishing: Rising or Diving Caddis

LaFontaine Sparkle Pupa (SwittersB)

Caddis patterns are fun to fish because the take is often aggressive. Whether you are swinging a pupa pattern along bottom or swinging it up toward the surface, the takes are solid. Fish often leap out of the water on lakes in pursuit of emerging (escaping) Caddis. But, another consideration is female Caddis returning to the surface and diving down to lay eggs. This diving (sinking) presentation is less often considered, but has been successful for me on lakes. I have  seen feeding activity and mistaken it for feeding upon emerging adults. Rising or Diving, the Pupa like patterns are a good offering. Even a dry (Elk Hair Caddis/Hairwing patterns) pulled under can serve in a pinch with a bit of shot (if allowed) a foot or so above the fly, or with a sinking line, or a heavier bead head nymph above the Caddis pattern. Many of the Caddis Pupa/Bead Head Pupa patterns, one sees these days, will suffice for this presentation. Check Google Images (or Scroogle Images-less selection-if you are a rebel) for patterns and see the variety of tying options. Bright greens are attractive, as depicted here, but earth tones are always a good bet.

Bead Head Pupa (SwittersB)


Fly Tying: Overdressing the Fly

Often, simple, underdressed patterns are better producers. I tend toward the ‘if one wrap is good, two is better’ style. Give the materials, you apply to the shank, room to move, pulse, wiggle. Overdressing causes much of the materials to collapse or compress and be of little value other than thickness. Usually, this is too much thickness if you look at real life insects. 

Overdressed Shroud on Beaded Caddis Pupa

The above pattern has an Antron shroud similar to LaFontaine’s Caddis pupa patterns. It is a little heavy and the underbody of amber brown beads will be lost. The below pattern is a slightly better result with an Antron/CDC shroud.

Slightly less shrouded pupa

Below is an even sparser shroud; perhaps too sparse. However, this gives you an idea of how one pattern can have several looks with the application of materials that either reveal or hide important parts of a pattern’s body.

Sparse Shroud, Beard/Underwing



Fly Tying: Caddis Pupalicious II

Ok, I have these OCD moments that fixate me upon some facet of tying. Over the years: peacock, ostrich, CDC, Ice Dub, craft store boas. Of late, deer hair collars for legs/antenna/wings on Caddis Pupa/Adult patterns. I first saw this over on Westfly when Jeff Morgan was twist dubbing deer hair. I have since become increasingly fascinated with the possibilities.

This is a simple, beginner’s pattern “guaranteed” to produce. Ok, I had to throw in that sort of thing. But, I instinctively do know this is a worthy pattern for rivers or lakes. Remember presentation is critical to any pattern: is this pattern being dredged in riffles, swung and lifted up through the water column, diving down to lay eggs? 

Regardless, here is how you tie it: The hook can range from a size 10 to 16, given the materials used; they take up space so a smallish hook in not practical. Here it is a size 12, 2xl shank, nymph hook. The thread  used was black 8/0. I wrapped a layer of lead onto the shank at the mid point, about 6 wraps and overlaid those wraps with thread, then head cement.

Then I created a dubbing loop and inserted strands of a synthetic dubbing material between the thread loop. The loop was spun into a dubbing noodle and then wrapped up the shank like a small rope. About two thirds of the way up the hook shank (the abdomen area), I stopped and tied off the dubbing noodle, removing the remainder.

The thorax/head area remained. I formed another dubbing loop and applied tacky wax. I took pieces of cut deer hair, black in color, and touched dubbed (Gary LaFontaine concept) them to the tacky thread loop. The dubbing crook is carefully spun and the deer hair is trapped between the tightening loop. One again a few wraps of the dubbing (deer hair this time) are wrapped in the thorax area. Tie off the extra upon reaching the head area and cut. Then form a thread head and finish. Mix up the body colors to match the various Caddis in your waters, the deer hair could be black, brown, or even natural. 

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