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Home / Fishing / Articles



October Caddis Nymph

  by Jason Akl

For any angler who is planning a fly fishing get-away somewhere in the Pacific Northwest during the fall months, there are a few flies that are a must-have for all anglers. These are the October caddis imitations. This hatch of giant caddis can be some of the best fly fishing opportunities an angler can have for targeting quality fish. The October/ fall caddis, belongs to the family Dimcosmoecus, and is characterized by its large size and uniquely colored orange body.

To target these caddis hatches it is best to choose a fast moving freestone stream anywhere from September through October. The peak of the hatch activity on most streams occurs near the last week of September and the first week of October. As far as the hatch is

concerned, don't be expecting huge clouds of caddis hovering over the water all at once. The October caddis generally hatches in smaller numbers so anglers really need to keep a keen eye on the shoreline to spot the beginning and end of the hatch. Don't be fooled, even though there are only a few flies on and around the water the fish take notice, and waste no time eating water-bound flies.

To fish these caddis hatches one needs just a few simple dry fly imitations and one extra special nymph. Fishing dries in and around vegetation or shady spots is the key to triggering violent strikes. If the fish are not fooled by dries alone, or if you are really looking to increasing your odds, try running a nymph or pupa pattern suspended from your dry fly. This dry and dopper technique is very effective for catching all types of trout as it is able to imitate both the egg laying adults and hatching pupa's.

As mentioned earlier almost any bushy October dry fly caddis pattern will do for the top portion of the combination, but when choosing what is going to be drifted below, nothing is better than the October caddis nymph. This nymph pattern has everything needed to catch big fish, ranging from a very buggy look to a soft texture to keep the fly in the fish's mouth a little longer. With a little luck and a few hours out on the water perhaps this nymph will hook you up with the lunker trout you have been waiting for.

Materials Used in the October Caddis Nymph

  • Hook: Tiemco 200R Size 10
  • Ribbing: Orange Ostrich Herl and Fine Black Wire
  • Body: Synthetic Orange Dubbing
  • Weight: Lead Free Weight
  • Thread: Uni-Thread Black 8/0
  • Collar: Soft Grey Body Hackle
  • Eyes: Black Bead Chain Eyes
  • Head: Black Ostrich Herl
  • Other: Plastic Wrap/ Brown Permanent Marker

Tying Steps for the October Caddis Nymph

  1. Start this fly by placing your hook into you vice jaws securely and place several wraps of lead free weight along the hook shank. Make sure that you do not wrap the weight to far forward; you will need to have enough room for some bead chain eyes.

  2. After you have smoothed out the lead free weight tag ends, tie down a pair of black bead chain eyes in front of where you finished wrapping the weight. After you have the eyes in place secure them to the hook shank with figure-eight thread wraps. Also wrap down the weight with your thread and place a few drops of head cement to make sure it stays in place.

  3. Select one strand of orange ostrich herl and strip one side of the herls fibers away. Tie the herl down by its butt section and leave it extending off the back of the hook shank. Cut a three inch section of copper wire and similarly tie in down to the hook shank leaving it extending off the back end. With the herl and wire tied in place start dubbing your thread with the orange dubbing and building a smooth tapered body. Don't be shy when building the body of the fly, the October caddis are known to be quite hardy so putting a few extra wraps of dubbing won't hurt a bit. Also, when you are wrapping the dubbing on the fly make sure that it is packed very tight. In the next step we will be wrapping the dubbing with plastic wrap and if it is not packed together tightly the unevenness will show through.

  4. Once you satisfied with the body size and shape; advance your thread to the back of the bead chain eyes and tie down a small piece of plastic wrap. Wrap the thin plastic strip down and back up the body of the fly making sure to stretch the plastic a little bit as you are wrapping it.

  5. With a brown permanent marker color the body of the fly that is now covered by plastic wrap. After you have completely colored the body brown; wait a few minutes for the ink to dry and then fill in any spot that got missed on the first pass. Also color the copper wire brown to help hide it on the body when we wrap on the body later.

  6. After the body has dried completely carefully wrap your orange ostrich herl forward up the length of the body. Make sure that as you wrap the herl the side that you have stripped is being laid down on the body and the top-side fibers are not being wrapped down. After the herl is secured in place wrap the copper wire up the body of the fly in the opposite direction that you wrapped the herl. Take your time when wrapping the wire so that you do not mat down to many of the ostrich herl fibers.

  7. Once finished with the body, strip two grizzly hackles and tie them down over the body of the fly. The stripped hackle should extend just slightly past the end of the hook. In front of the stripped hackles tie down the grey soft hackle and wrap it carefully around the hook shank. Again, when you are wrapping the soft hackle try not to wrap down any fibers from the hackle with the proceeding wraps. After you have tied off the hackle, take a few wraps of thread back over the hackle to put it into a swept position.

  8. Finally, tie in a black ostrich herl and wrap it around the hook shank until you reach the back of the bead chain eyes. Make one figure-eight wrap with the black herl around the eyes and then tie it off just behind the hook eye. Clip the tag end of the herl and whip finish/ cement the head.

Tight lines and smooth threads,

Jason Akl

Read about Jason Akl and other writers in our Outdoor Writers section.


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