PRO-Team member Paul Procter talks us through his Fly of the Month for August, The Busy Elk Hair Caddis. Be sure to check back for his monthly updates! You can see last months by clicking here...

Al Troth’s elk hair caddis takes some beating, yet this interpretation comes pretty close in my eyes. When first dubbed, the sparkling body appears a little too intense and brash.  However, a palmered hackle helps tone this down to leave a soft glint.  You can secure the body hackle using a fine wire rib, yet a length of Sheer 14/0 doubled over and spun tight makes a neat job. The hackling serves not only as extra buoyancy, but creates a fair bit of disturbance when retrieved. Just the job for attracting trout in near darkness.

Ultimately though, floatation comes from an overwing of elk hair fibres. There’s much debate as to whether bull or cow elk should be used and which part of the body this should be taken from? Some say, cow elk is best for general use with elk hock being popular on smaller patterns. I’ve no complaints with bull elk taken from the flank that doesn’t flare, but splays out just enough to create an attractive profile.  Of course the flecked colouration of some hair copies a natural’s wing to the letter. That said, my preference is a natural straw colour or bleached elk hair, which stands out well in the fading light.

An underwing of CdC fibres softens the edges so to speak, giving your fly a busy look, especially when viewed from beneath.  Leaving butt ends of elk hair pointing forward over the hook eye might be in keeping with the original, but this often causes problems when trying to thread nylon through the eye, particularly in poor light and when trout are crashing all around you!  Instead, try clipping them short, before folding back and taking a few thread wraps through them to form a neat, tapered head.





Hook: Partridge Supreme Dry size 10-14

Thread: Orange 14/0 Sheer

Rib: Tying thread

Body: Olive ice-dub

Hackle: Cream cock-palmered

Wing: Elk hair over CdC fibres



Paul Procter

A resident of the Lake District, AAPGAI Master and Wild Trout Trust Vice-President Paul Procter is a dedicated fly fisher. With 30 years experience on rivers, lakes and tropical saltwater fly fishing, Paul is a leading contributor to the UK’s premier publications-Trout and Salmon and its sister magazine-Trout Fisherman.

A talented and innovative fly tyer, Paul’s flies have become recognised as a signature for his many articles. Having spent the last decade travelling extensively throughout Europe, the Americas and Southern Hemisphere, he has gained a wealth of knowledge on many of the celebrated rivers and streams with an intimate understanding of fly hatches and their imitations required to tempt fish. In turn this has allowed him to develop specialist patterns with the opportunity to field test hook models on a range of fish species and ultimately provide valuable feedback. However, having fished the far corners of the globe, his abiding love remains the light line approach on intimate Northern streams, fishing North Country spiders (soft hackled flies) and dry flies. Here the rivers offer such diversity that Paul has honed all fishing disciplines on systems like the Eden, Wharf and Ure.

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