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Triple Threat Caddis
By Jim Slattery, CA

Not having much luck with caddis larva or pupas made me step back and examine what characteristics flies that were effective for me have. I soon figured out that my go to flies like the Gold Ribbed Hares Ear Nymph, March Brown Spider, and Soft Hackles all had a tremendous amount of built in movement, giving the fly "life." Then I looked at dry flies. The hackled classic style especially with grizzly or mixed colored hackle, the Dorato Hare's ear, and Elk Hair Caddis, which were the only trout producing caddis patterns I had used, The Fluttering Stonefly (AKA the Stimulator) were all effective patterns. Each of these dry fly patterns had one thing in common, they gave the illusion of movement which in turn made them "deadly."

After looking at the caddis pupa and larva I was using I came to one conclusion: They had little to no movement. Incorporating the properties of effective flies with the form of the caddis fly resulted in this solution: The Triple Threat Caddis.

Fished as a nymph, bounced on the bottom of the stream or fished as a soft hackle in the water column, the results were immediate, trout took it! I had finally found a submerged caddis pattern that worked consistently, anywhere it was fished.

However, the final use of this fly was over looked by me, until by accident, in my haste to get fishing, I didn't soak the fly, and as it floated down stream it was taken by a nice trout. Now I had a new dry fly solution for caddis as well. The Triple Threat is a fly that can be fished through out the caddis hatch as well as the life cycle. As a dry, it can be fished with or without floatant. It also works with just floatant on the hare's ear head, allowing the rest of the fly to stay below the surface. With the body pulsating and the hackles kicking with the currents of the water, don't be surprised if the trout jump out of the water when taking it this way!

A Few Tips on Tying the Triple Threat Caddis

  • Use a blend of different types of dubbing materials Hares ear, Rabbit, Antron Seal ex, Seal, and Angora goat in various shades to get the overall color.

  • I've found dubbing the body using Jim Leisenring's technique makes a difference, but the standard method will work too just pick out the dubbing to make it shaggy.

Materials for Triple Threat Caddis

    Hook: Scud, Caddis Larva.

    Thread: Olive Uni 8/0.

    Ribbing: Gold oval tinsel (fine or extra fine).

    Body: Olive blend.

    Hackle: Natural brown Partridge.

    Head: Spun natural hare's ear.

Instructions for Triple Threat Caddis:

1. Tie in ribbing and prepared dubbing (dub body if using conventional method).

2. Wind on dubbing a forming a tapered body. Then rib body.

3. Tie in Partridge Hackle. Wind on and tie off. Use 2 to 3 turns of hackle. The hackle should be the length of the hook from eye to back of the hook curve.

4. From a dubbing loop and spin hares ear. Wind on dubbing. Tie off.

5. Whip finish. Apply head cement.

Notes from Jim:

The Triple Threat can be tied in various colors to suit the species of which you are trying to imitate. Try using Orange thread when tying a tan Triple Threat, it is "deadly".

The Triple Threat Caddis is currently available at the Dette's Fly Shop in Roscoe, N.Y. 607-498-4991.
~ Jim Slattery


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


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