Dedicated To The Smallest Of Skiffs banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have gone down the rabbit hole on freshwater trout fishing since my trip in Nov. Currently I am just tying a lot of flies- probably 4 dozen... I make 4 or 5 of ea pattern I like (Thanks for all the tips and fly patterns- (25) Looking for Pics of Trout Flies | Page 2 | Dedicated To The Smallest Of Skiffs (microskiff.com) )

That said, how much does material matter in the dry fly world. Example- I was going to whip up some "Elk Hair Caddis" but I only have deer hair. I have a ton of deer hair/ buck tails since I tie a lot of saltwater patterns with it.... but I am not sure how many I would tie to justify ordering elk hair (my local shop has no elk).

Does the elk hair have a property (more buoyancy, etc) than deer hair- or is it just bad form to use deer hair!?!

Saw some mallard wing flies- same thing... I have pheasant tail, but no mallard....
How interchangeable are the materials in the dry fly world? I usually improvise with what I have- which is a lot of materials- but none which are really dry fly stuff... but prefer not to have to order a bunch of stuff if what I have works fine .

I don't need to get brownie points on the streams with the locals for having "properly tied" flies if that is what it is... but if the stuff adds value (which is what I am assuming), I am fine ordering away.

Also, any good online fly retailers recommended? I prefer not to order from Amazon - would rather support small companies even if a few dollars more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
899 Posts
I have gone down the rabbit hole on freshwater trout fishing since my trip in Nov. Currently I am just tying a lot of flies- probably 4 dozen... I make 4 or 5 of ea pattern I like (Thanks for all the tips and fly patterns- (25) Looking for Pics of Trout Flies | Page 2 | Dedicated To The Smallest Of Skiffs (microskiff.com) )

That said, how much does material matter in the dry fly world. Example- I was going to whip up some "Elk Hair Caddis" but I only have deer hair. I have a ton of deer hair/ buck tails since I tie a lot of saltwater patterns with it.... but I am not sure how many I would tie to justify ordering elk hair (my local shop has no elk).

Does the elk hair have a property (more buoyancy, etc) than deer hair- or is it just bad form to use deer hair!?!

Saw some mallard wing flies- same thing... I have pheasant tail, but no mallard....
How interchangeable are the materials in the dry fly world? I usually improvise with what I have- which is a lot of materials- but none which are really dry fly stuff... but prefer not to have to order a bunch of stuff if what I have works fine .

I don't need to get brownie points on the streams with the locals for having "properly tied" flies if that is what it is... but if the stuff adds value (which is what I am assuming), I am fine ordering away.

Also, any good online fly retailers recommended? I prefer not to order from Amazon - would rather support small companies even if a few dollars more.
Congrats on your journey! You can substitute materials whenever and wherever, there are no “rules”. The reason that some materials (elk, mallard) are selected is that they may provide better buoyancy and maybe able to be tied more compact when tying #18-24. I agree with not buying from Amazon, if at all possible, buy locally. Visit your local fly shop so that you can actually look at and check out the materials personally.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Use deer belly hair instead of bucktail if you have it. Bucktail doesnt float as well. But most things are interchangeable.

You may want to invest in a whiting 100 pack since dry fly hackle is one of those things thats fairly different and the 100 packs arent crazy expensive.

honestly for backcountry smokies 99.9% of the time im throwing a sz14 yellow neversink caddis with a dropper




Insect Arthropod Pollinator Moths and butterflies Pest
 

·
Registered
1999 Carolina Skiff 16
Joined
·
1,358 Posts
Substitute away! There are folks who will tell you that you have to be specific in materials, sizes, colors, etc. I've got news....the trout don't care! I would be more concerned with matching the profile and getting a smooth drag free drift.
That said, trout can be picky. Sometimes they want a certain color, size, profile, or its no joy. For dry flies, the size and profile coupled with a good drift are most important. A dry fly floating on the surface leaves a very small footprint.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
899 Posts
Substitute away! There are folks who will tell you that you have to be specific in materials, sizes, colors, etc. I've got news....the trout don't care! I would be more concerned with matching the profile and getting a smooth drag free drift.
That said, trout can be picky. Sometimes they want a certain color, size, profile, or its no joy. For dry flies, the size and profile coupled with a good drift are most important. A dry fly floating on the surface leaves a very small footprint.
I think that presentation is more important than pattern! I could glue a live bug to a hook and still not catch fish if I don’t present it properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
83 Posts
I have gone down the rabbit hole on freshwater trout fishing since my trip in Nov. Currently I am just tying a lot of flies- probably 4 dozen... I make 4 or 5 of ea pattern I like (Thanks for all the tips and fly patterns- (25) Looking for Pics of Trout Flies | Page 2 | Dedicated To The Smallest Of Skiffs (microskiff.com) )

That said, how much does material matter in the dry fly world. Example- I was going to whip up some "Elk Hair Caddis" but I only have deer hair. I have a ton of deer hair/ buck tails since I tie a lot of saltwater patterns with it.... but I am not sure how many I would tie to justify ordering elk hair (my local shop has no elk).

Does the elk hair have a property (more buoyancy, etc) than deer hair- or is it just bad form to use deer hair!?!

Saw some mallard wing flies- same thing... I have pheasant tail, but no mallard....
How interchangeable are the materials in the dry fly world? I usually improvise with what I have- which is a lot of materials- but none which are really dry fly stuff... but prefer not to have to order a bunch of stuff if what I have works fine .

I don't need to get brownie points on the streams with the locals for having "properly tied" flies if that is what it is... but if the stuff adds value (which is what I am assuming), I am fine ordering away.

Also, any good online fly retailers recommended? I prefer not to order from Amazon - would rather support small companies even if a few dollars more.
The Fly Shop in CA, Mad River Outfitters in Ohio, LL Bean in ME and Bears Den in MA all do a great job with flies and tying material. Each has a different emphasis
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
I have tied thousands of dry flies commercially and my fly shop has sold countless patches of deer and elk over the years. it's all about the hair when making these dry flies both look right and float properly. It is specific hair that your are looking for. Commercial tyers are always on the hunt for the perfect hair patches.

On deer it's where the hair comes from that determines what it does when cinched down with tying thread. Buck tail belly hair is useless for dry flies but great for streamers. What is correct for dries is the finer body hair from the sides of the animal. Wapsi and Hareline normally sell it as costal deer hair, summer coat hair or comparadun hair. They also will package elk from the same part of the animal for the purpose of winging dry flies.

When picking hair from loose scraps remember this. The thicker the hair the more flair your will get. This heavy hair along the animals back is best for spinning flies. The finer tightly packed patches with almost all of the hairs exactly the same length are what you are looking for. This will flare lightly and resemble the silhouette of Caddisflies and Stoneflies. BTW Deer Hair is hollow. Floats naturally. Fine deer hair patches should run around 4.00 to 10.00 depending on the size patch. One patch should last years for a recreational tyer.
 

·
Registered
‘94 Silver King Signature 16
Joined
·
925 Posts
Interchangeable.

With regard to matching the hatch, do some research on the importance of the following; size, profile, color.

I use CDC since its a great material, straight forward, and for me I'm only really trying to match the main features of the fly.
This times a million. Don’t obsess over particular materials, if anything strive for less. Size is easily the biggest factor in my experience. If a particular trout is used to seeing a billon size #22 midges floating over its head all day, tossing a #12 (because it’s easier to tie/see) will be fruitless. CDC is a great material, inexpensive, floats like a cork, multiple colors, and can be utilized in many different ways (YouTube CDC dubbing loop). Most of my drys consist of tail fibers, tread body, and CDC. Takes 2 minutes to tie and kills ‘em. Good luck!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Most things can be substituted. A lot of folks use deer hair for caddis, you just want to find the right type (i.e. not bucktail). Take a look at Bob Marriott's (a fly shop in California). They have the most comprehensive selection of tying materials in my opinion. If you search their site for deer, you'll find many types (coastal, hock, all purpose, comparadun, etc) of deer that will work for dries.

Most trout fly materials are really cheap in comparison to saltwater materials. The one exception is dry fly hackle. I specifically ties lot of patterns that don't use hackle. First, it keeps the cost down. Second, flies without hackle float in the film, like the naturals.

Here are some easy non-hackle patterns that I have killed with across the technical fisheries of the west:

  • X-caddis: (similar to elk hair, but without hackle and with a trailing shuck).
  • Mole fly (uses CDC - need a powdered floatant while fishing)
  • chaos hopper
  • Snowshoe dun
  • Sparkle dun (will want comparadun deer for this).
  • Foam ant and beetle
Throw in a stonefly pattern and maybe a few midge patterns, and that would be a complete dry fly box in my opinion.

For trout, simple is usually better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
172 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks All. I am having fun whipping some new patterns. It is MUCH harder for my mid 40s eyes to see and tie these size 12 hooks and below. I used to complain about size 6 hooks. Not any more. They look like shark hooks now.

Some much great info on this thread. Much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
497 Posts
I always tie my Elk Hair Caddis with thinner deer hair. Just use floatant, if you use the same fly a lot eventually it will need floatant anyway. Most of mine get broke off after a couple of catches, so I tie a lot of em. I will get lazy and not change out the leader or re-tie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Besides elk and deer you can use other hairs to tie similar flies. One of my favorites is groundhog hair tied just like the classic elk hair caddis. Its not as buoyant and the fly sits deeper in the water, but they look very similar. FWIW, an elk hair caddis is an elk hair caddis because its a western pattern and they had elk to tie with. Sometimes its that simple.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Then there’s this:

“In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing. We lived at the junction of great trout rivers in western Montana, and our father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman who tied his own flies and taught others. He told us about Christ's disciples being fishermen, and we were left to assume, as my brother and I did, that all first-class fishermen on the Sea of Galilee were fly fishermen and that John, the favorite, was a dry-fly fisherman.”
 

·
I Love microskiff.com!
Joined
·
675 Posts
FWIW, an elk hair caddis is an elk hair caddis because its a western pattern and they had elk to tie with. Sometimes its that simple.
A.K. Best mentioned this in "Production Fly Tying". He said he actually prefers midwest whitetail....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
I was an X-Caddis guy for a very long time and switched over to the Bloom's/Swisher Caddis Dry style about 7-8 years ago. When you combine the way they sit flush on the water with the visibility, it was an easy transition to the parachute style. And yes, your deer hair should work fine.

PS - fishing Caddis dries is about as good as it gets, you're lucky to find that type of water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
While all caddisfly patterns have their moments of effectiveness this is the one I settled on a while ago. It is a different direction from traditional Caddis Ties but it just gets eaten. I guide in one of the most demanding Trout fisheries anywhere (Upper Delaware River System) so patterns come and go. This one is a keeper that produces year after year.

The pattern is a dead ringer for the silhouette of a spent Caddisfly or any with it's 4 wings extended, fluttering. This pattern is a blend between the early super effective Bi-Visible Pattern and an X-Caddis. It is one of our exclusive guide patterns.

At this time our guides use this almost exclusively during times when Caddis are about. For super selective fish on slow glassy pools I have also found Craig Matthew's Iris Caddis to be super effective.

A link to my shops listing for these. Also has more photos. https://baxterhouseflyfishing.com/products/3-ag-caddis-cripples

Plant Organism Landscape Terrestrial plant Flower

Insect Arthropod Organism Terrestrial plant Invertebrate

Insect Arthropod Organism Plant Terrestrial plant
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top