Deer Hair Caddis
By Tom Deschaine, Westland, MI

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

The creation of the elk hair caddis, by Al Troth provided a prototype which spring boarded into hundreds, possibly even thousands of variations. Without exception, every fisherman I know carries a few hair caddis patterns in his or her fly box. The deer hair dressing was popularized by none other than Jim Schollmeyer, a noted fisherman, tyer, photographer and author.

My travels have taken me from one end of the country to the other. The hair caddis patterns work everywhere and for all kinds of fish. The only generalization I have observed is that the Elk Hair Caddis is used more west of the Mississippi and the Deer Hair Caddis, east of the Mississippi.


    Hook: Mustad #94984 or #94833 Sizes: 10-20

    Thread: Gray, 6/0

    Body: Olive Rabbit Fur or Synthetic

    Rib: Blue Dun Hackle (one size smaller)

    Wings: Natural Dun Deer Hair, tied caddis style.


    Step #1. Tie in a good base of thread.

    Step #2. Tie in you rib hackle at the base of the hook.

    Step #3. Prepare your thread with dubbing wax and dubbing.

    Step #4. Dub all the way to the throat, tie off and trim the fly if needed.

    Step #5. Wrap the rib forward and tie off at the throat.

    Step #6. Trim the hackle fibers on top, before installing wing.

    Step #7. Tie in the deer hair at the throat, pull back the excess material and tie in the thread head before trimming the excess material off.

    Step #8. Trim the excess material to form the caddis head, tie off your thread.

    Step #9. Clip your thread, and add head cement.

Now that you’ve tied the pattern please note that modifications are based on your wants and needs. Change the color of the dubbing, the thread, the rib and the wing to match the caddis flies in your area. For an aspiring creative designer of flies, the hair caddis patterns provide you the opportunity to create a new fly almost instantaneously. Remember, when you’re fishing in Montana bring an Elk, in Michigan bring a Deer!

See you on the water … ~ Tom Deschaine

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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