by J Stockard Pro Tyer: Luke Stacy, Virginia Beach, VA, find Luke on Instagram

Brief: The CDC and Elk Hair Caddis has been a pattern that has worked exceptionally well for me when the Caddis are coming off strong here in Virginia. I think the combination of the wing profile from the elk hair paired with the “bugginess” the CDC provides in the thorax area makes this fly irresistible to trout. This pattern is fairly easy to tie once you’ve tied a few and I think it is far too effective not to have them in your box. I usually fish this pattern on a nine foot, 6x leader, with a soft hackle or lightly weighted nymph tied on behind it. Give the pattern a shot and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Hook: Ahrex FW501 or Firehole 419 BL Standard Dry Fly Hook (size 14)
Dubbing: Vicuna fine Olive Dun (any fine or superfine dubbing will work) or Hareline Micro Fine Dry Fly Dub
Wing: Natures Spirit Select Cow Elk Natural
Thorax: CDC
Thread: Veevus 10/0 Brown


1. Start your thread roughly 1/3rd of the hook shank length behind the eye of the hook. Begin wrapping your thread to the back of the hook bend and trim your tag end off with scissors. Stop your thread where the barb of the hook is (or would be if you tie on barbless hooks).

2. Create a tapered abdomen using dubbing. The dubbing noodle should be thinner towards the back of the hook and thicker as the dubbing progresses up the hook shank. Your dubbing should stop at the 1/3rd mark where you initially began tying in your thread in step 1.

3. Trim a healthy portion of elk hair from your patch and comb out all the under fur and stack the hair in your hair stacker. Keeping the hairs aligned, remove the hair fibers from the hair stacker and tie the hair in at the 1/3rd mark previously mentioned. Typically, when I tie in elk/deer hair I initially place a loose wrap of thread over the hair and then position the hair how I want it and then tighten down on the hair with the thread and place a few more wraps to “save” my work. I then grab the butt ends of the hair in roughly 1/3rd increments and I place a thread wrap in between the clumps until I reach the front of the hair. At this time the hair should be well secured and I gently pull the butt ends of the hair towards the eye of the hook and trim the ends at a forty-five-degree angle. Once the butt ends of the hair is trimmed, I spin my bobbin counter clockwise to flatten out my thread so I can utilize the width of the thread to compress the butt ends down and create a downward ramp towards the eye. Re-position your thread to the original 1/3rd mark. This should be at the base of where the elk hair was tied in at.

4. Create and secure a dubbing loop and take wraps of thread down to directly behind the hook eye so you can meet your dubbing loop. Place a portion of trimmed CDC from 3 feathers in the loop and spin the loop so that the CDC fibers become secured with the thread rope you are creating. Now wrap the dubbing loop with the CDC spun down to the hook eye. Be sure to gently work the CDC fibers back towards the bend of the hook as you wrap. This will ensure a full thorax area that will float better. Once your dubbing loop is directly behind the eye of the hook, secure the loop and trim away the excess portion of the loop. Now all there is left to do is to whip finish a clean head and trim the bottom of the CDC off. Trimming the CDC will allow the fly to ride lower in the film and works great for fish that are being selective on emergers.

5. Put your favorite CDC floatant on and enjoy.


  1. The CDC Elk Hair caddis is the only dry caddis pattern I use in the Eastern Sierra streams. However I don’t use dubbing for the dubbing for the abdomen, just palmer the CDC feathers around the hook, add elk hair and it works perfectly.

  2. I tie this fly the same way as Mr. Brown states above: I palmer the body with CDC feathers, then add the elk hair. Don’t grim the butts of the elk hair.

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