How are some flies suppost to ride [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: How are some flies suppost to ride

01-08-2003, 01:08 PM
I have not had much luck fishing with elk hair caddis, I simply can not get them to ride at the right angle. The adams seems to ride at about 35 degree angle or lower. but my cadis imitations seem to ride on their side, up side down or even flat( paralel to the water). Does any one know how the naturals float? How to tie soem imitation that wil float in the same maner?

This has bothered me over a long time and can't seem to find answers in books.:eyecrazy:

01-08-2003, 01:18 PM
A caddis will ride flat . If your flies are not landing right, you may need to make your wing longer and use a smaller hackle. Most commercial flies are not tied to balance right. By using these two methods your fly will ride lower on the water, and the longer wing acts like a tail on a mayfly pattern.Also try a hook that is 1x or 2x short. Most caddis are tied w/ a body to long in relation to the wing. These tricks have worked for me.

01-08-2003, 01:26 PM
Mature caddisflies (and the artificials that imitate them) shoud sit flush on/in the surface film with the elk hair portion on top of the fly. Caddis adults will skitter around on the surface and your fly should ride upright so you can imitate this behavior without dunking the pattern.

That said, the EHC features a palmered hackle under the wing and sometimes the fly will land on it's side. A quick twitch will often fix this but you can cure the problem by clipping the hackle flat under the belly of the fly. Kind of like you would do with a mayfly pattern to make it a spinner. Another option is to do away with the hackle altogether and simply allow the elk hair to bouy the fly in the surface film. This is a good slow water technique but won't work in fast water or with droppers, etc.

Good luck,


John Desjardins
01-08-2003, 02:25 PM
To follow up on Daves comments, I select my dry flies by the type of water they are used in. Some flies are more bouyant and work better in fast water while others are closer in appearance to a real fly and are suited for slower waters.

In caddis flies this works out to

Fast water: Elk hair caddis, Henryville special.

Slow flows: very lightly hackled flies wit either a hair or feather wing (the pattern name escapes me)

The hard part is deciding what fly to use in moderate flows, pocket waters, etc.

01-08-2003, 06:44 PM
Very good suggestions above.
Here are a few other tricks that might help.
Make sure your EHC is made with the smallest EH you can find, be selective when buying a patch, look for very fine and long hair.
Allow/make your wing to fan out a bit so that it looks like a V shape tent over the boby, this is done by doing the first thread wrap as you would in spinning deer hair (fairly tight), but you control the spread of the EH with your finger, then 2 loose wraps and then 3 tightest wraps you can do without breaking off, 6 wraps should do on any EHC. With this shaped wing, the fly is more likely to settle properly on any water, fast or slow.
Overhook, that is, tie a size 16 fly on a size 14 or 12 hook, the hook weight will make the fly ride better.
Use the highest grade hackle you can afford and make sure it is the proper size for the hook size AND profile of the fly, 4 wraps is all you need and you can usually get that with any grade 3 or better, small hackle, more than that and your fly will "flutter" and the hackle barbule are less likely to penetrate the film and anchor the fly.
Caddis have very small bodies, most tiers I see overdo the body in relationship to the wing
After you have tied down the wing and clipped it in front of the eye, do a few loops behind and around the wing, like you would for a post on a fly, this will raise the wing a bit
Try different knots when you tie the fly to the leader, this sometimes affects the way the fly rides, bend your knot toward the down eye of the fly, not straight or high on the eye

01-08-2003, 09:15 PM
All this discussion!

The EASY way to make 'em float right is to CUT OFF ALL BOTTOM HACKLE.

BTW, I didn't originate the idea - I believe Al Troth suggested it when he came up with the pattern, cutting off the bottom hackles in an "inverted V" pattern.

That way, the fly

1. rides "flush" with the water, like a real caddis;
2. the wing gives the impression of "fluttering" or "buzzing".


01-09-2003, 01:57 PM
I really apretiate the reply and quality of the info. I could not find that kind of info in book or the internet, and most of my fishing friends don't realy fish caddis imitations.


01-09-2003, 04:33 PM
when i finish tying an elk hair i spread the wing out so it drifts upright