Best Tan Caddis Fly Patterns

Tan Elk Hair Caddis

The Elk Hair Caddis continues to perform year after year, dancing across the surface just like the natural. This is also a great searching fly, especially on Rock Creek and the Blackfoot River, when the fish need to make a quick decision on the food going by. If you pre-treat this fly with a liquid floatant before using, it will float like a cork in the roughest of water. A great fly for twitching.

Fly Tying Material List

  • Hook: Standard Dry Fly Size12-16
  • Thread: Tan 6/0 Uni Thread
  • Rib: Fine Gold Wire
  • Body: Hares Ear Dubbing
  • Body Hackle:  Brown
  • Wing: Elk Body Hair


The X-Caddis, while based on the Elk hair caddis, offers a completely different profile on the water. The antron tail gives a sparkle that calls to fish, while the lack of hackle across the full body puts this fly in the surface film, not above it. We like this fly for fussy fish taking caddis, but refusing the Elk Hair. This fly doesn’t twitch well, but perfectly mimics a caddis in the film.

Fly Tying Material List

  • Hook: Standard Dry Fly Size 12-16
  • Thread:  Tan 6/0 Uni Thread
  • Tail:  Tan Antron
  • Body:  Hare’s Ear Dubbing
  • Hackle/Optional: Brown
  • Wing:  Elk Body Hair

Tan Deep Sparkle Pupa

The bead gets the Tan Deep Sparkle Pupa where it needs to go. The antron refracts light just as the natural does during emergence. The caddis is often ignored sub-surface…. by the angler.  The trout are not ignoring the pupa, which many times is the prevalent insect on the Clark Fork River or Rock Creek.

Fly Tying Material List

  • Hook:  Standard Nymph Hook, size 12-16
  • Bead:  Gold
  • Thread:  Brown 6/0 Danville
  • Tail:  Tan Antron
  • Overbody:  Tan Antron
  • Under the Body:  Tan Antron
  • Body:  Tan Antron Dubbing
  • Wing:  Sparse Partridge Hackle Fibers

Translucent Pupa Caddis

The Translucent Caddis offers a very effective alternative to the Lafontaine caddis Pupa. The Film Wings give the fly a very realistic silhouette as it drifts, and this fly can be lifted at the end of a drift to simulate emergence. You can add sparkle by using frogs fanny on the CDC collar, but that will need to be refreshed quite often as you fish.

Fly Tying Material List

  • Hook:  1XS, 1XH Curved Shank Hook Size 12-16
  • Thread:  Brown 6/0 danville Flymaster (70D)
  • Tag:  Small Flat Silver Tinsel
  • Body:  Tan Antron loop dubbed
  • Wings: tan Plastic Film cut to shape
  • Collar:  Pale Gray CDC torn to length
  • Antennae:  Two Strands Hungarian Partridge Extending backwards

Additional Tan Caddis Resources