A favorite topic on bulletin boards,
discussion forums, and around the bar at fishing club meetings is that
old warhorse "If you only had one fly to fish, what would it be?"
If the restrictions are dry fly and trout then I won't hesitate in the
least to answer "Caddis!" I love Al Troth's elk hair caddis enough
to carry at least a couple dozen in assorted sizes and colors in my dry
fly box. In his excellent book
Fly Fisher's Guide to the
Mad River Brian Flechsig references the "Mad River Caddis"
pattern as built upon the EHC with "an underwing of mottled fly film...
some CDC... garnished with hackle stem antennae" and advises that
"caddis flies are very important to the Mad River angler." I
concur wholeheartedly. Caddis have provided some of my finest dry
fly fishing on Ohio's only spring creek.
While this fly isn't exactly Flechsig's
version, it's certainly built upon that variation. I fished the
Mad River with almost zealous dedication for five full seasons.
In that time I learned three things: 1) Flechsig's book is mandatory
if you want to solve the puzzle of this crystal clear flow, 2) other
than terrestrials, caddis are the most important year-round dry fly
opportunity you'll find and, 3) a good caddis imitation is simple,
small and floats flush in the surface. After losing several
dozen more complicated ties to the Mad's low-slung canopy
(not a word, Mark!) I finally
settled on this simple version. I carry it in size 16, 18 and 20
and I've never looked back. This is my most productive general
trout dry fly everywhere I've fished.
Hook – Mustad 94480 or similar dry
Thread – Black 8/0, 70 denier
Body – Tightly dubbed Antron sparkle dubbing
Natural CDC plume
Wing – Natural coastal deer or elk,
stacked and trimmed to form a blunt head