Fly of the Month: Foam Caddis

Larry Kingrey, who lives down in Canon City calls this fly “Larry’s Better Foam Caddis,” and it is distinguished by a wrapped foam body that not only looks great but definitely keeps the fly on top of the water. It is also quick and easy to tie. Great for the Arkansas River!

Hook: Standard dry fly hook, mostly 14s and 16s, but on down to a 22.
Thread: 6/0 gray or rusty dun for #14 or larger; 8/0 for smaller. Tan for versions with bleached wing.
Foam: 2 mm x 1 mm black, olive or gray strips for a #14 or #16 hook
2 mm x .5 mm tan strip on #18 hook (with bleached elk hair wing)
2 mm x .5 mm black strip on #20 hook (with dark dun coastal deer hair wing)
Ed Note: Larry recommends foam strips by Wrightway Sports.
Hackle: Olive-dyed grizzly for the spring hatch. Can just use something dark, or suit yourself. Use one hook size small.
Wing: Natural elk for darker patterns; bleached for lighter ones. Coastal deer for small patterns (20 or a 22)
Larry's Tying Instructions

Start your thread behind the hook eye and wrap back to the bend and then back forward to just above the point of the hook. Take a strip of your foam and, on one end, cut a taper on one edge. Position that tapered edge over the hook and tie down, with the strip trailing out beyond the bend of the hook. Tie down with snug enough wraps to secure the foam, but not so tight that you compress or cut it. Now advance the thread forward to about 1 ½ hook-eye lengths behind the eye. By leaving some space between the wraps as you move forward, you will create a thread layer that later will grab the edges of the foam a little better than if you do really close wraps.

Now wrap your foam strip forward with just enough tension to smooth the edges. Overlap each wrap about half of the foam width. The object is to create a reverse tapered body – thicker at the rear. The fly will float better if these wraps are snug rather than so tight that the foam is compressed. Tie off the foam and wrap the thread to about mid-shank.

Tie in your hackle. You can X wrap or pile wrap the hackle to force some fibers to flare toward the rear of the abdomen. Larry points out that a caddis has legs that point that way, too.

Use a hair stacker to line up the tips of a small clump of your elk or deer hair. Now tie in a Troth style wing, with the natural tips extending beyond the bend about ½ hook gap. Some folks will want to clip a “V” notch in the hackle so the wing will lie down better, though Larry just lets the hair push the hackle down and back. Whip finish in front of the hair butts and clip the extra length of hair so that you leave a small clump for a head. Put a drop of head cement on the wing to tie down the wraps. This will also help anchor the wing to the foam. -John Haile

foam caddis