Some fly patterns stand the test of time. Like the clean and powerful
lines of Greek and Roman architecture, their elegant profiles carry the
best elements of the past into the future.
Way back in the
1950s, a native-Pennsylvanian-turned-rugged-Montana-trout-bum named Al
Troth wrapped some thread about a bit of elk hair fibers roughly
matched to the length of a hook shank. Did he know he had created
perhaps the most effective adult caddis imitation of all time?
Elk Hair Caddis Tan Caddis is an elegant imitation of an adult Tan
Caddis, and should hold a prominent place in any angler's well-stocked
trout fly box.
- An elegantly simple fly pattern developed by native Pennsylvanian and legendary Montana fly fishing guide, Al Troth
- Tan Caddis imitation in the adult life stage
- Use as either an impressionistic searching fly or as a realistic imitation when matching the hatch
- Check under rocks and streamside debris for tan caddis pupae and match size and color before offering a fly
- Fish on a dead drift high in the surface film
- Hatches can occur throughout the day across North America
- The most prolific hatches occur in eastern North America during late summer (August) and through the fall (October)
- SIZE 14
When and Where to Fish the Elk Hair Caddis – Tan Caddis
caddis adult can be fished as either an impressionistic fly pattern
when searching for trout or as a realistic imitation when matching the
hatch. There are literally thousands of highly localized species of
caddis native to lakes, streams, and rivers across the globe. With so
much variation it's often a best practice when fishing a caddis hatch
to match color and size of the local species as closely as possible
rather than worry about imitating a single specific species. This fly
is highly effective in medium to high energy water; riffles, runs,
tailouts, and current seams are prime real estate for this fly. Tan
colored caddis and sedges can be active throughout the year, and are
prolific in the northeastern United States from late summer (August)
through the fall (October).
How to Fish the Elk Hair Caddis - Tan Caddis
this fly in the surface film of medium and low energy environments on a
dead drift. Before you make a cast, be sure trout are actually feeding
on adult caddis in the surface film and not on cripples or emergers
just below the surface. Use a dead drift or a swing strategy and make
sure to observe the feeding lanes the trout are using and place your
fly directly within these lanes. Caddis do not spend much time as
adults on the water after hatching; this fly is most effective while
sexually mature adult caddis return to the water's surface to deposit
eggs. Eddys and slower pools can be excellent collecting areas for
these returning caddis. Make a delicate presentation in this slower
water and be sure to use longer leaders and a quiet stalking approach
before casting to fish in these slower areas.
Caddisflies are relatively large aquatic
insects that provide hungry trout with an excellent source of
nutritional protein. There are literally thousands of species of caddis
across the globe so it's often helpful to generalize caddis by their
color and size; an angler would have to have a thousand fly boxes to
match every local species of caddis.
Not surprisingly, there
are many species of tan or "pumpkin" colored caddis available to trout.
Most anglers will refer to an olive caddis as a "Northern Casemaker," a
"Cinnamon Caddis," or an "Autumn Caddis," which are most of the time
probably not wrong, but are just as often not right. Again, the
important elements of caddis imitation are size and color, not
Caddis, unlike mayflies and
stoneflies, undergo complete metamorphosis, experiencing larva, pupa,
and adult stages within a typical life cycle, rather than just a single
nymph stage. During the larval stage, caddis look like tiny, segmented
worms. These wormy creatures are classified as either cased caddis
larvae or free-living caddis larvae.
Ideally, caddis emerge
from their pupal shuck as quickly as possible as they are extremely
vulnerable when hanging in the surface film. Once the winged adult
caddis has fully emerged, it continues to act with a keen sense of
urgency, wasting no time to flitter from the water's surface and to the
safety of nearby trees and stream-side vegetation.
caddis live significantly longer winged lives than mayflies and will
spend up to two or three full weeks away from the water. When they're
finally ready to mate, males will gather near their home water to form
a swarm. Females will join the swarm to have their eggs fertilized.
Once the mating process has been successfully completed, females will
deposit their eggs on the water's surface, propagating the species.
Tan Caddis Adult Life Stage
emergence, tan caddis do not spend much time on the water as newly
hatched winged adults. Rather, they flitter quickly away to the shelter
of streamside vegetation and debris to seek suitable mates. These
adults can be away from the water for up to three days while
propagating the species. Once the fertilized females are ready to
deposit their eggs, they return to the water's surface, leaving their
precious cargo behind. Selective trout will often zero in on these
vulnerable females and feed voraciously on them as they lightly dap the
surface this way and that. After mating, adult males often fall spent
into the drift and collect in slower eddys where trout gather to feast.
About the Tyer: Al Troth
Troth was a true pioneer of modern fly fishing in America. Born and
raised in Pennsylvania, he literally reshaped the face of trout fly
tying when in 1957 he created the elegantly simple and wildly popular
Elk Hair Caddis, a fly pattern that has served as the inspiration for a
host of similar modern trout flies. Shortly after showing off his new
caddis imitation on the great fly water of Loyalsock Creek, Troth
headed west to the great roaring waters of Montana where he quickly
became a revered fly fishing guide and master fly tyer.
Leland on Umpqua
In 1972 a man
named Dennis Black and his fly tying skills found themselves in high
demand. Mr. Black, then a professional production fly tyer, was famous
in the industry for his unsurpassed skill and speed with whipping up
tremendously beautiful and precisely constructed flies. It wasn’t long
until this young fly tying superstar realized that he ought to take his
consistent approach to quality to the next level. Shortly after this
realization, a small army of fly tyers had banded together to support
Mr. Black’s vision. With the likes of Dave Whitlock, Jack Dennis, and
Andy Puyans, Mr. Black was officially in business.
Dennis Black’s new
company Umpqua Feather Merchants quickly extended its reach and fly
production capabilities with expansion into India, Sri Lanka, and
Thailand, where the world’s first and full blown “fly tying factories”
were built. Since those early days, only the highest standard of
excellence has marked Umpqua and this commitment to quality and
efficiency continues to spur the company forward. Dennis Black’s
innovative vision for “fly production” has truly revolutionized how the
fly industry operates and has ultimately made the majority of
production flies better. From the first “royalty system” for rewarding
the most creative professional fly tyers to streamlining production
systems and offering a range of other products, Umpqua Feather
Merchants just seems to “do it all.”
Today, Umpqua Feather Merchants
is without a doubt the world’s best and most prolific supplier of hand
tied fly fishing flies as well as fly tying hooks and materials, and
they recently got better! Umpqua’s brand new, state of the art
headquarters in Louisville, Colorado marks another paradigm shift in
the way fly tying business is done. From its vast warehouse to its
specially designed inventory management and tracking system, Umpqua is
poised to continue its energetic trajectory and lead the way for the
next generation of flies and fly tyers.
Umpqua on Umpqua
you may or may not know, we're the largest producer of quality
hand-tied flies in the world. We also make available through your local
fly shop a wide array of the finest fly-tying hackle and Tiemco hooks.
At Umpqua we offer everything the angler needs to a have a first
class fishing experience. (Everything that is, but the water and the
Umpqua on Dennis Black and the “Obvious Quest”
idea first took shape in the hands of our founder, Dennis Black, back
in 1972. As a fast and facile professional fly tyer, Dennis was known
for his skill and speed at producing hundreds of dozens of flies each
year for the larger mail order houses. But he was also quick to realize
how fast the demand for excellent flies would outstrip the abilities of
cottage industry types like him.
The Obvious Quest: To create
excellent flies in sufficient supply – without sinking his standards.
In response, Dennis developed (with characteristic care) a methodical
plan: First, he enlisted the tying expertise of the likes of Dave
Whitlock, Jack Dennis, Andy Puyans and others, to help him set the
standard of excellence for Umpqua flies.
Next, Dennis established the
first of what would eventually be five separate fly-tying “factories,”
first in India, then in Sri Lanka, and finally in Thailand. The primary
focus at each of these factories was on producing the very best fishing
flies possible, constructed of the very best materials available. From
the beginning, the quantity of flies produced was secondary to the
quality and excellence of each fly pattern. These high standards were
assured by the personal involvement of the fly designers themselves,
and by the ever-increasing skill, imagination and creativity of the
Umpqua production fly tiers. Today, you will find no flies more
skillfully tied than those available from Umpqua Feather Merchants.
Finally, Dennis created a system of royalty payments, to reward
professional tyers like Whitlock, Lefty Kreh, Randall Kaufman, Larry
Dahlberg, and Bob Popovics for uniquely good patterns.
Today, Umpqua produces umpteen thousand dozen flies, from micro-scopic
midge imitations to the huge patterns favored by marlin and sailfish.
And the "Umpquality" – you’ll see for yourself.”