Al Campbell, Field Editor

May 17th, 2004

Rock Chuck October Caddis #2

Al Campbell

Continuing in the Magic Tools theme from a few weeks ago, I want to expand your view of what these tools can do by tying one of the October Caddis patterns I intend to use at the Fish-In in September in Idaho. Last year I used a similar pattern that had a hackle head, but after watching Dennis Garrison put the hurt to so many trout last year, I decided to add a deer hair head to my caddis and rename it October Caddis #2.

Dennis used a muddler minnow to catch a lot of fish last fall, but after a while he had to replace his muddler imitations when they would no longer float. My October Caddis imitations floated very well, even after several fish, but the hackle head wasn't as effective as the deer hair head on Dennis' flies. The fish are always the final judge, so here I am with an alternative to my original pattern. I'm confident it will perform well.

For those of you who don't know what a rock chuck is, its other name is Yellow Bellied Marmot. Those of us who live in the west just call them rock chucks. They have very durable hair that bends without breaking, and some fine under-fur that is ideal for a hair hackle on the body of my caddis. After coating my original flies with Rain-X, they were able to float all day and catch numerous trout without sinking. I intend to coat all of my RCOC2 flies the same way and maybe use one fly all day, barring any break offs.

Since there are a lot more pictures in this article, I won't use up any more time here. You'll see how valuable the magic tools can be as we go along.

RCOC2 Materials:

  • Hook: Any standard long fly hook. I'm using a size 8 Mustad 9672 streamer hook.

  • Tail: None.

  • Body: A twisted glazed carrot colored punch embroidery yarn, with rock chuck under-fur twisted in to form a type of chenille.

  • Thread: 6/0 - Black.

  • Wing: Rock chuck guard hairs (woodchuck hairs will also do well).

  • Head: Deer hair, spun.

Tying steps RCOC2:

    1. Start the thread.

    2. Cut about a five inch piece of orange punch embroidery yarn and tie both ends of the yarn to the hook.

    3. Cut a small patch of hair from the back of a rock chuck, remove the guard hairs and set them aside, then spread the under-fur over a Magic Tools table as shown.

    4. Place a wire on top of and across the hair on the table.

    5. Now, push the hair down into the table with the wire.

    6. Your hair should look like this while it is in the table.

    7. Use a Magic Tools clamp to remove the hair from the table, then trim the bends of the hairs with scissors.

    8. Now your hair should look like this.

    9. Insert the hair in the loop of yarn you made previously.

    10. Now, twist the yarn and hair into a type of chenille and start wrapping it as a body.

    11. About a third of the way up the hook shank, the hair should be all used up, so tie off the yarn loop there.

    12. Grab the guard hairs you set aside earlier and even the tips, then measure them for a wing.

    13. Tie them in as a rear wing as shown.

    14. Repeat the body process again, leaving plenty of room for a hair head.

    15. Then add a second wing.

    16. Grab a small patch of deer hair, remove the under-fur and even the tips.

    17. Spin a hair head. You may have to spin two patches of hair for a full head.

    18. Whip finish, trim the hair into a small head, and cement. Your finished fly should look something like this.

There is enough orange color in the body of this fly to look like a natural insect. The hair added to the yarn loop works like palmered hackle, and the twisted yarn makes a strong body. The deer hair head adds buoyancy and creates a more natural taper than hackle does. This is a good, durable fly that (with Rain-X applied) should last for many trout.

In case you didn't already realize it, this (with the right body colors) will also work well as a hopper or stonefly pattern. If you care to dye some hair, it could also make a good cricket pattern. As a bonus, it uses the simple, yet effective Magic Tools to create its body. Try it and see if you can create anything else. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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