Updated
2010-05-13

Swedish version
   

 

 Tying The Steelhead Caddis
by Jason Akl

  Although you almost certainly have to many go to patterns in your spring season fly box, adding one more to the collection really couldn’t hurt. I am almost positive that most early season anglers carry a few of the time-tested standards like leeches, marabou streamers, egg flies and stonefly nymphs. However using something a little out of the ordinary might just be what the fish were looking for. On heavily fished waters trout see the same sets of patterns fished over and over. Whether it is anglers trying to imitate eggs washed out from the spawn, or the big stones hatching of the water a few key patterns spend more time soaking then the rest.

  First and foremost let me make it clear that there are no real caddis flies the same size as the steelhead caddis pattern. This type of pattern does not directly resemble one specific type of organism but rather a grouping of bugs that are seen this time of year in the upper Midwest. Caddis, stonefly and mayfly nymphs are all regularly found in rivers and streams during these early months so patterns that resemble these aquatic insects are at times more attractive to fish. The steelhead caddis in general resembles a large cased caddis but is tied so that it could also pass for large stonefly nymphs or mayfly nymphs. This pattern plays into the opportunistic feeding behavior of hungry trout, hoping that they will not be able to pass up a large easy meal.

  The steelhead caddis can either be fished like a nymph (dead drifted under a strike indicator) or actively stripped in against the current. In most cases with rivers that have large riffles or runs it is a good idea to drift this pattern one or two times with no action applied to it. Many trout will simply pick up on this fly as it rolls along the bottom. If you have no luck on your first few passes dead drifting this fly then switch over to stripping in the current much as you would a wooly bugger. In rivers that are cover oriented and have trout lying under banks and fallen structure; short casts coupled to stripping the fly aggressively will get trout out of their respected hiding spots.

  Materials Used in the Steelhead Nymph

Hook: Daiichi Curved Shank Size 5
Thread: Black Uni-Thread 8/0
Body: Peacock Herl
Rib: Silver Round Tinsel
Hackles: Barred Wood Duck Feather/ Black and White Guinea Feather
Collar: Black Ostrich Herl
Head: Black Bead
Antennae: Pheasant Tail Fibers

  1. Start this fly by sliding the bead over the hook point and up to the front of the hook. Wrap some lead free weight onto the hook (the middle of the hook shank) and attach the thread to the hook. Take a few turns of thread around the weight to secure it into place.

  2. Tie down a three-inch section of silver round tinsel at the point above the barb (extending off the back of the hook shank) and then tie in a group of three peacock herls. Twist the peacock herls in to a rope with your fingers and advance them up the body of the fly. Stop about an eighth-inch from the back of the hook eye. After you have tie off the tag end of the herl rope counter wrap the silver ribbing up the body of the fly stopping at the same spot you finished the herl body.

  3. Select a nice barred wood duck feather and strip the soft fuzz from the base of the feather. Pull the feather quills backwards so that just the very tip is standing straight up by its self. Tie this feather down to the hook shank by this tip at the point where you stopped the herl body (wet fly hackle style). Wrap this hackle around the shank two times then tie off and clip the tag end.

  4. Repeat this process of prepping the feather for the guinea hackle and tie it down in front of the wood duck feather. Wrap the guinea hackle two times around the hook shank then tie it off.

  5. Clip two long (2 inch) pheasant tail fibers and tie them down to the hook shank so that they sweep backwards into the hackles you just created. Cut two black ostrich herls and tie them down as well in front of the hackles. Palmer these herls forward creating a bushy collar for the fly stopping when you reach the back of the bead. Whip finish the thread and cement.

By Jason Akl ©

 

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