Fly of the Month: Keisling’s Euro Caddis

This month’s fly is one developed by Jonathan Keisling of the Blue Quill Angler. He was our featured speaker in May on the Czech or Euro nymphing technique. This is a fairly simple but effective pattern that you would fish as the bottom fly on your rig, bouncing it right along the bottom of a fast-moving stream. As with other flies used in Czech nymphing, this one has a lot of weight with a heavy bead and then lead wrapped around the shank of the hook. Above this fly, on a second line tied in about 2 feet above and then running about 10 inches off to the side, you might fish a smaller Copper John or some other more common but still fairly heavy fly.

Hook: #8 Knapek Scud (hooks can vary from #4 to #16)
Bead: 3.5 mm Silver Tungsten (smaller for smaller hooks)
Weight: .035 Lead Wire (smaller for smaller hooks)
Thread: Olive Uni Thread 6/0 (match body color)
Tail: Tip of downy plume or filo plume from pheasant rump, partridge or hen (This is the secondary, smaller feather you find behind a main feather, at its base.)
Body base and shellback: Olive nymph stretch skin
Body dub: Olive ice dub (select for body color)
Thread for segmenting shellback: Olive GSP 100 Denier
Coloring the shellback: Black Sharpie
Tying Instructions
Jonathan’s Tying Instructions

Since these hooks are barbless, you start by putting the tungsten bead on the hook and then the lead. Four turns of lead wire are enough, leaving a little space between the wire and the bead. Cover the lead with some head cement to help hold it in place.

keisling caddis

Start your 6/0 thread behind the lead and wrap down about a third of the way into the bend of the hook. Now create a tail by attaching the tip of a downy plume or a filo plume, whatever you may call it. This is the small secondary feather behind the primary feather on a pheasant rump or on a saddle hackle you already have. Odds are that in the past you’ve often just thrown this feather away.

keisling caddis keisling caddis

At this point prepare to tie in your nymph stretch skin by first cutting the tip at a 45-degree angle, not an arrowhead point. This means that at the tip, one side will end up straight and one will be angled. Now, tie in that tip so that the straight side is away from you. It becomes the trailing edge as you start to wrap the stretch skin forward. Wrap forward in overlapping turns to about 1/3 of the shank length behind the bead and tie it off with the 6/0 thread, wrapping back over the stretch skin slightly so that you leave it pointing back toward the bend of the hook. (You are going to use this later for your shellback casing.)

keisling caddis

Now take the GS3 thread, move it to the middle of the thorax, at the bottom, and then make just one wrap right in the middle of the stretch skin wing case, creating two segments. Then tie off the GS3 thread behind the bead with the 6/0 thread.
Complete the fly by whip finishing and clipping all loose ends. Color the shell back with a black marker and tease the thorax slightly with a dubbing brush or something similar (e.g., Velcro stick) to make the fly look nice and buggy -John Haile.

keisling caddis