Big Antlered Brute

Guest Blogger: Michael Vorhis, author of ARCHANGEL suspense thriller, OPEN DISTANCE adventure thriller & more to come

We’re all familiar with the Elk Hair Caddis dry fly pattern–very productive, easy to tie, floats high, good for prospecting, works like a wet fly if it gets sucked under. Introduced to the fly fishing world by notable tier Al Troth 61 years ago, it’s said to be a stand-in for an adult caddis fly, although its hair wing fans out far wider and higher than the closed tent-shaped wing of a real resting caddis.

Its current form differs somewhat from the original, which was in fact intended to float low, in the film, like an emerger–an eastern green caddis emerger to be specific. Despite Troth’s love for palmered-bodied flies, this one was not intended to ride high on good dry fly hackle…nor to wiggle like a soft-hackle wet. He envisioned it a ‘tweener.

But now it’s typically tied as dry as can be. The reigning theory is that its modern hairdo–the splayed-wide elk hair wing–may appear to trout to be caddis wings that are vigorously flapping rather than folded. In truth, this fly pattern lets us defy the “perfect drift” rule of fly fishing because with the application of a little gink it can be skittered across the surface, even cross-current…heck, even up-current…and doing so will draw strikes. Skittering the fly makes it resemble a caddis fly ovipositing as it dances around on the top. Trout cannot waste time studying it; they need to strike or it’ll be gone, and ‘gone’ is not in their playbook when it comes to a tasty caddis.

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Tying the Wild Turkey Caddis

 Guest Blogger:  By R. L. “fishingbob” Nelson

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I have several friends who are wild turkey hunters.  When I first saw the iridescent tail feathers on a wild turkey I knew there was a fly pattern there.  I developed the Wild Turkey Caddis several years ago.  I first fished this pattern on the Forks of the Upper Rogue in Southern Oregon.  I have since fished it all over the West and had great success.  The light reflecting properties of the tail feather make the fly easy to see in any water and in any light.

Continue reading → Tying the Wild Turkey Caddis