Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Elk Hair Caddis Fly
The Elk Hair Caddis is by far the most popular trout fly for imitating adult caddisflies. It has been around
for years and is sold just about by every fly shop in the World. The Elk Hair Caddis comes in many
different colors to imitate a large variety of caddisfly species, especially when they are depositing their
eggs. The Elk Hair Caddis fly was designed by Mr. Al Troth, a fly tier from the state of Pennsylvania. He
later moved to Montana and became famous for his flies and was considered an excellent guide. The Elk
Hair Caddis has been around since 1950 and as its name implies, uses elk hair for its wings. Mr. Troth
designed the fly to imitate down wing flies, as they were called before anglers knew one species of
caddisfly from another. Even today, most anglers aren't really familiar with the many different species of
caddsflies. Most hatch charts call the Yellow Caddisflies, Green Caddisflies, etc.
Mr. Troth used a wing profile and body style that mimics a whole range of small to large size caddisflies
rather than a particular species of caddisfly. The versatility of the Elk Hair Caddis is a big part of its
success. It can be fished dead-drifted over a rising trout that are eating egg laying adult caddisflies. It
can be skated and twitched to mimic caddis depositing eggs on the surface of the water. Some species of
caddisflies skitter across the surface to reach the banks as soon as they emerge and the Elk Hair Caddis
does a good job of imitating them.
Anglers have two different chances to catch trout on adult caddisfly imitations. The first opportunity
comes when the caddisfly emergers, provided the species emerges on the surface. Some crawl out of
the water to emerge. The second opportunity is when the females are depositing their eggs. This is done
different ways by different species of trout. Some dive and deposit their eggs on the bottom, others drop
them from the air above the water but most species dip down and knock the eggs off on the surface.
Some just land on the surface and deposit them. The fly work equally as well during the hatch as it does
when the caddis are depositing their eggs.
Most anglers prefer to fish the Elk Hair Caddis dead drift. Others like to impart some action to the fly. The
fly floats well and although it need a dab of floatant every once in a while, it floats high and dry. It even
floats well in rough water. Elk hair is hollow and floats very well.
We sell the Elk Hair Caddis in a variety of colors and hook sizes to imitate just about all the major species
of caddisflies. They come in brown, black, olive, green, yellow, and tan.
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