nathan wight october caddis swing fly featured image

by Nathan Wight, Durham ME, J. Stockard Pro Tyer

Fall in New England is one of my most favorite times of the year for fishing. Its cool nights and moderately tempered days bring some of the best fishing conditions for swinging flies to trout and salmon here in Maine. You can stick to a lot of the traditional New England streamer patterns like the Shufelt Special or Black Ghost, but I like to take advantage of some of the last of the hatching insects we have: The October Caddis.

Being one of the larger species of Caddis flies that we have, the October Caddis provides the fly tyer an opportunity to tie larger softhackle style flies for swinging on trout Spey rods or your favorite single hand rod. This simple soft hackle pattern has brought me great success when swung through slower deeper runs. I tend to fish it more during the morning and late afternoons for our native Maine Brook trout.

In a two fly set up it makes a great lead fly with your favorite Caddis nymph below. Add a little Sink It to the fly and trail it behind a Stimulator or larger Elk Hair Caddis in the same colors.


Hook: Partridge K12ST or the TMC 200R in size 10-14
Thread: Semperfli Nano Silk 50d in black
Rib: size small Hot orange UTC wire
Body: Hareline Hare’s Ear Plus, tan and rusty orange blended together.
Collar: composite loop of two tan CDC feathers and one brown colored partridge feather.

Tying Instructions:

  1. Start by laying down a base of tying thread from the eye to even with point of the hook. Return the thread back to the eye and tie in a 3” length of hot orange UTC wire in size small.
  1. Bind that wire down all the way to even with the hook point. I make five wraps of the wire to create a hotspot and then dub a tight noodle of the mixed Hare’s Ear Plus dubbing. The dubbing is equal parts Tan and Rusty orange colors.
  1. Wrap the dubbing with close touching wraps to within two eye lengths of the front of the hook. Don’t be afraid to build a little extra bulk with dubbing near the front. This will help to support the collar much like a dubbing ball prop on an intruder fly.
  1. Counter wrap the orange wire with good even spaces back up to where you finished your dubbing. Tie off the wire and remove the excess.
  1. I combine the 2 Tan CDC feathers and the brown tone Partridge feather into a materials clip. I prefer the split thread method to build composite loops on smaller flies like this. Judge the length of the fibers in the loop and try and make them extend to even with the point of the hook. After twisting your thread to hold the fibers in place you should have 2 to 3 turns of the materials to create the collar.
  1. Build a small thread head, whip finish, and coat with your favorite head cement or UV resin.
  1. You can leave any longer CDC fibers or pinch them short if so desire.

Tip: when wrapping the collar I wet my fingers and stroke the fibers rearward with every wrap to keep from trapping any. Don’t worry if the but ends are a little long in your loop it helps to add extra bulk to the front of the fly.


  1. Interesting fly. I have an issue with Semperfli calling the thread “silk” though. It is gel spun polyethylene which is world’s away from silk. I believe the naming is deliberately misleading and deceptive will never use it. I have other GSP threads that I use if I need extreme strength. In flies like this, it certainly is not. When I do wish a very small diameter , I do have Semperfli Spyder Waxed thread which is also strong, semi translucent and lays flat.

    1. Interesting, Jerrold, thanks for those comments. In what ways do you find GSP substantially different from silk? I have barely used either one, so the question is intended to legitimately pick your brain.

      I agree that having a slick texture does not make something silk…else Naugahyde could be called leather and vinyl with grain grooves could be called wood. Wondering what are the key differences you see in those two materials.

      Nathan, nice pattern. Need to whip up a few more of these.

      1. Please keep this thread (pun intended) going. I’m also interested in commentary, I always like to learn stuff.

    2. To be fair, I think they call it “silk” due to its very small denier and size. And also because it can easily be split like silk for a dubbing loop.

  2. I’m really interested in the technique described in step 5. Does anyone know of a video demonstration on how to combine the feathers and tie them in as described? Thanks

    1. Jason, I might be wrong but believe it’s a reference to using a clip such as the ones shown in the Stonfo “Creative Dubbing Kit” photo on the J.Stockard page. There are numerous such clip products from numerous manufacturers, and also numerous videos out there that show uses of such clips to hold fibers (feather barbs, hair, whatever) until they can be captured by the parallel threads of a dubbing loop. The idea is to hold the fibers parallel using the clip, insert them into a dubbing loop that’s made tacky with some dubbing wax, carefully release the clip without letting the fibers slump or slip (that’s the hard part from my own experience), and then twist up the dubbing loop.

      I *think* that’s what is being described here. What it does is make a “hackle feather” with barbs from different feather types (and even hair), and without a stem–the feather fibers are held in the dubbing loop instead.

      From personal experience it can be tricky with shaky hands, but extra tacky dubbing wax helps, and the possibilities are many.

      – Mike

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