Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Caddis Nymph

Jun 15 2012



Caddis Nymph



Published by Bob Bates
International Federation of Fly Fishers - Washington Council

Click Here to Download PDF version

Opening Comments


Caddis flies are an important food for fish, which makes them important for the fly angler.  Bob Scheidt, Fresno, California was demonstrating this pattern at the 2012 Northwest Fly Tyer Expo, Albany, Oregon.  He caught fish in a lot of places with this fly.


When you open the books on caddisflies you can be confused with the tremendous number of species (1,200 in North America) and many sizes (2 to 24).  Do not despair, just pick a few patterns that other anglers use and learn where and when to use them.


A pattern like this can be used before caddis start hatching, when they are starting to hatch, actively hatching or when the females are laying eggs.  At first caddis larva stay near the bottom of the stream or lake.  They might build a variety of cases or be free swimming.  Any of them make an attractive bite for the fish.  In fact one book says that fish eat more underwater caddis critters than any other food.  That research was conducted in clear water streams so the anglers studying British Columbia, Canada lakes will argue the chironomids are more important.  As they grow the larva add to their cases to make them larger.


This pattern reminds me of the green sedge or Rhyarcophila caddisflies.  It is a free living caddis larva that wonders over the stream bottom in search of food.  It doesn’t build a case.  The silken thread that helps keep it from drifting away doesn’t always work.  Additionally, the female, which is also green, lays her eggs underwater.  As she swims down to attach her eggs to a rock on the bottom she carries a bubble of air with her.  So the fish have a couple times when they can feast on these caddisflies.


Fishing this pattern in streams means casting up stream so the fly drifts along the bottom, beside boulders or in current seams.  When the caddis are actively hatching or egg laying females are present fish it anywhere in the water column.

Materials list

Hook: Tiemco 2487 or 2457, 14 or whatever you want

Weight: Bead, 7/64, white and 0.015 lead wire

Thread: Black

Rib: Small copper wire

Bubble: Several strands of pearl Flashabou

Body: Dubbing, green or tan

Hackle: Whiting hen, furnace, etc.

Tying steps

Caddis Nymph - Step 1 

Step 1

Attach thread near bead.

Caddis Nymph - Step 2 

Step 2

Tie in copper wire and wrap down to the bend of hook.

 Caddis Nymph - Step 3

Step 3


Attach several pieces of pearl Flashabou (10 to 14) and wrap down to bend.   Let them hang out back.

 Caddis Nymph - Step 4

Step 4

Bob put in four turns of lead behind the bead, but you can put in as many as you want.  You can slide the lead into the bead.

 Caddis Nymph - Step 5

Step 5

Dub body (Hairline: Mixed pale yellow, caddis green, bright green, light green, a little Ice Dub).  You can vary the color of the body using hair’s ear.

 Caddis Nymph - Step 6

Step 6

Pull Flashabou over the top to simulate gas bubbles when insect comes to surface or when the female swims down to lay eggs.  Spiral rib forward over the Flashabou in six or seven turns.  Tie off behind bead.  Trim excess materials.

 Caddis Nymph - Step 7

Step 7

Bob likes using a Whiting Hebert-Miner hen hackle, but you can use others if you can find them.  Starling, if long enough, partridge is probably too long or anything else is good.

 Caddis Nymph - Step 8

Step 8

Put on two turns of hackle and tie it off.  Use heat shrink tubing that is a little larger than the bead to push the hackle back. 

  Caddis Nymph - Step 9

Step 9

Whip finish behind the bead, and trim thread.  Bob puts a black dot on the bead to simulate eyes.  He uses an oil based fine pen that he bought from an art store.  It takes 24 hours to dry, so he skipped that step on the fly he gave me to take home.  I put on the eye you see with the computer.

Closing Comments

This is a great pattern for many situations.  Try it and see.  I tried to put eyes on the white bead with an India ink pen.  However, it always had a ragged edge.  They didn’t look good so I wiped them off.  I didn’t try the finishing nail method because my paint had dried.  If you want to try it, gather a bunch of finishing nails with head sizes that are right for the eyes you want.  Get a small jar of paint used for bass lures.  Touch a finishing nail to the paint surface and then to the fly.  Use very little paint and let it dry.  The method worked great for the Thunder Creek flies which had eyes that were yellow with a black center.  With large flies you can always get eyes at the fly shop.

 Please Credit FFF Website or FFF Clubwire with any use of the pattern.

You can direct any questions or comments to FOM at


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