The Elk Hair caddis, Peeping Caddis, X Caddis, Stimulators, Walt's Worms, Blow Torch and Foam Caddis are all great caddis fly imitations for anglers to carry with them in the mid spring through fall months. These flies have accounted for some of the most exciting rises from trout for both expert and beginner fly anglers as the fish tend to eat ravenously when the caddis are abundant. The more modern patterns that have been introduced in recent years offer something different to these tried and true patterns and . We will take a deep dive into each of these patterns along with there situational uses and benefits.
Caddis Nymph Patterns and Imitations
The Blow Torch, Walt's Worm, Peeping Caddis, and Caddis Pupa are excellent Caddis nymph imitations that will bring many trout to the net. These patterns are all relatively simple flies that are quite easy to tie. Most of these flies will belong in the size 14-18 size range and often incorporate a touch of flash to attract trout.
The Blow Torch is simply a dubbed hook with an antron tag and optional collar. Whether dubbed, cdc wrapped, or added flash from lazer dubbing, the collar is often used to attract curious trout.
The peeping caddis is the classic caddis fly pattern. Imitating any and all case building caddis which can be found in most trout streams. They can be tied with different materials with the commonality of a touch of bright green exposed toward the hook bend. This is one of the most natural imitations available.
Taking the fly fishing world by storm in recent years, the walt's worm is a must have fly for any box. It's density allows the fly to get down to where the trout are holding quicker than similar patterns. It's simplicity makes it a breeze to tie for even novice fly tiers.
The Best Caddis Dry Fly Patterns
Caddis Dry Fly Patterns are not as diverse as the Mayfly imitations. Three patterns, the elk hair caddis, x-caddis, and foam caddis do a lot of heavy lifting when trout are eating on the surface. These patterns tend to stay in the size 14-20 range. Larger caddis are needed on some rivers but are less common. Stimilators and foam caddis best imitate these larger caddis flies.
Elk Hair Caddis
Without a doubt the most popular caddis imitation and a must have for any fly box, the elk hair caddis has caught trout for decades and will continue well into the future. Don't leave home without a handful of these in various sizes.
Foam Body Caddis
These caddis imitations are next to impossible to sink, even after being mauled by hungry trout. They work best when trout are eating caddis with abandon. More selective trout tend to pass up on these larger body flies as they arent quite as deceiving as other patterns.
The X-Caddis is a slight variation of the Elk Hair Caddis but has the added benefit of a trailing husk which resembles an emerging caddis shuck. Along with visual appeal this shuck also provides a bit more buoyancy on the water.
Caddis Emerger Patterns
While there aren't as many named flies that serve as caddis emergers, many effective fly patterns can be utilized as such. Soft Hackles, CDC Caddis and the aforementioned x caddis fill these roles nicely.
Soft Hackle Caddis
Soft Hackles can serve many purposes for fly anglers. Among those purposes is as a caddis fly emerger imitation. Whether swung, stripped, or dead drifted, these flies will catch plenty of trout.
CDC Caddis Emergers
Similar to the Elk Hair Caddis in construction, the use of CDC in lieu of elk hair can allow this caddis pattern to ride much lower in the water as an emerging caddis pupae would do. Early on during the hatch, these patterns can be clutch when trout first began feeding on emerging caddis.
Our article on What Do Trout Eat takes a deeper dive into the trout's diet. Learn more about Fishing a Fly Hatch and the best flies for trout in our related articles on The Best Stonefly Fly Patterns, The Best Mayfly Fly Patterns, Streamer Fishing for Trout, and Filling out your Fly Box.