How to Tie: The Elk Hair Caddis

In this week’s “Flylords: How to Tie” video feature, our friends from Trident Fly Fishing bring us their take on one of the most famous flies in the game. Here we have how to tie the Elk Hair Caddis.

Learn About This Fly

Difficulty: Beginner 

Created in 1957 by the pioneer fly fisherman, Al Troth; the Elk Hair Caddis has been a staple to the game since most can remember. Originally tied to imitate the green caddis, famous for their massive hatch in central PA every summer, this fly has undergone hundreds of variations, and has since grown far from its original inspiration, the red sedge fly.

The caddis fly is known as a notable favorite amongst hungry trout and steelhead looking for a topwater snack. When caddis are in their early stages of life, they are submerged larvae that float amongst rivers and streams (and are a very popular nymphing pattern amongst anglers). Once conditions are correct, larvae molt into the caddis fly, of which there are over 14,000 different subspecies of. Due to their lives surrounding water, it is clear as to why trout are accustomed to looking for these tasty buggers.

The deer hair caddis is a common fly amongst anglers, and usually a favorite as well. capitalizing on their elk hair (or deer hair) wings, these flies are excellent for faster flowing water, as their meaty frames will enable them to stay afloat for longer drifts. Also note, this pattern can also be highly effective in imitating stoneflies.


  • Daiichi 1170 – Size 12
  • 6/0 Thread – Tan
  • Copper Wire
  • Peacock Herl
  • Hackle – Feather
  • Elk Hair

Now you know how to tie the Elk Hair Caddis!

Video and Ingredients courtesy of Trident Fly Fishing

Article written by Flylords Team member Wills Donaldson 

How to Tie: Green Caddis Larva

How to Tie: Crane Fly Larva

How To Tie: The Copper John

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