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Floating Caddis Pupa

In August we featured a Gary LaFontaine caddis larva pattern. Last month we presented you with an alternative called "Ryacophila Caddis" created by Randall Kaufmann, another creative, innovative tyer. This month we feature a third caddis bug, which is interesting because the manner in which it is fished and presented is entirely different than the two previous bugs.

This pattern, although termed a "pupa" in its name, seems to me to be more of an emerger. I suppose the last stage of the pupa is its emergence, so there probably is no difference--but then we fly tyers do like to split hairs, so to speak.

Anyway, the pattern was created by Ken Bostrom. It is designed to sit squarely in the surface film, and so is fished as a dry fly. As you will notice, it is very sparse and so will float well. It is also simple and uses readily available material, in keeping with our philosophy of making it easier on tyers.


Hook:  Tiemco 100; Mustad 94845; or equivalent, #8-14
Thread:  Black 6/0 or 8/0
Butt:  Black hackle, clipped short
Body:  Gray-brown rabbit dubbing
Antennae:  Two lemon wood duck flank fibers
Hackle:  Grizzly hackle, trimmed on the bottom


1. Cover hook with thread.
2. Tie in fine dry-fly quality black hackle just above back of hook barb (which should be promptly smashed). Do not wrap it just yet. (Hint: look for hackle with fine, supple stem).
3. Apply a tiny amount of dubbing to thread, and dub onto hook from where the black hackle was tied in, forward to just in front of hook point.
4. Wrap the black hackle over the dubbing just applied and tie off. The hackle should extend forward only a bit in front of the point.
5. Trim hackle very close to hook shank (see diagram below).
6. Now dub a very thin, sparse body forward to a point about 3 or 4 eye-lengths behind the eye.
7. Take 2 wood duck flank feather fibers, and tie them in at the point where the body ends, with the butts forward and points to rear. The length should be exactly the length of the hook, and they should be tied in at about a 30 degree angle. (See diagram above).
8. Take a high quality grizzly hackle, sized proportionate to the hook, and tie it in at the same point. Wrap 2 or three wraps (this is a very sparse fly), and tie off leaving room for a nice small head. Clip bottom fibers of the hackle off even with the body.
9. Whip finish and float this bug down to gulpers. (Hint: if it isn't working on the surface, tie it on as a dropper fly on a two-fly rig and fish it in the water column, as sometimes fish will feed at this level on small food items.)

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