How to Tie: The X-Caddis

In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Charlie Craven ties a Craig Matthews pattern that every fly fisher should carry with them during the spring and summer months, the X-Caddis.

Difficulty: Intermediate

For the past few weeks, we have covered winter fishing patterns to make you more successful on the water. Although winter fishing pricks the ears of some anglers, many decide to spend the winter months behind the vise in preparation for warmer weather and hatches. One of the most prolific hatches across the United States is caddis, which is why we will be thinking ahead to spring and summer this week. In this article, we will talk about the X-Caddis, a caddis dry fly with its shuck still attached, created by the legendary Craig Matthews.

The X-Caddis is a special dry fly due to its presentation and how it sits in the water. The shuck of this fly is created by the Zelon material, and serves as an indicator of a hatching and possibly struggling caddis at the top of the water column. Without hackle on the body, the X-Caddis will ride lower on the surface of the water, kept afloat by the deer hair wing. The dubbing used for the body of the fly can also be changed to imitate the specific caddis hatching in your waters.

Charlie Craven recommends the X-Caddis to be tied in sizes 18-24, but larger sizes will also work. Matching the hatch while on the vise has been a concept talked about frequently in the how to tie series, and applies to this fly as well. Changing sizes and colors will allow you to imitate other insects, such as a downed moth or mayfly. The profile of the X-Caddis is what makes it a trout magnet and why it should always be in your summer fly box.


  • Hook: #14-24 TMC 100 SPBL
  • Thread: White GSP 50-Denier
  • Shuck: Ginger or Amber Zelon
  • Body: Brown or Olive Superfine Dubbing
  • Wing: Natural Deer Hair

Now you know how to tie the X-Caddis.

Video and ingredients courtesy of Charlie’s Fly Box.

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