A size 16 deer hair caddis is one of my workhorse flies. In my previous post I described the experience that led to tying some size 18’s, and this was a deviation from my normal winter tying regimen.
Now that I completed the size 18 project, I refocused on the size 16’s that have faithfully served my needs since my earliest days of fly fishing. Generally I limit my color choices for the body to light gray and dark olive hares ear. I abide by the theory that caddis adults are on the water for a very short amount of time, and the fish recognize only a dark or light body.
I counted my stock of each color and determined that I had roughly 25 carry overs of each. In February 2015 I tied a batch of deer hair caddis, but they were all refurbished flies. I concluded that it was time to tie a fresh batch of ten dark olive and ten gray for the upcoming season. By tying them from scratch I assured myself that they would be relatively consistent.
One of the most desirable developments in the realm of hackled flies is the availability of size 16 saddle hackles. I pulled out two Whiting 100 size 16 grizzly hackles, and these two feathers provided enough material to produce twenty deer hair caddis. As described in the size 18 deer hair caddis post, I tie these small caddis in a very sparse manner. I keep the abdomen relatively narrow; the deer hair wing does not flare more than a quarter inch beyond the hook; and three turns of hackle suffice for the collar. If I want a bushy look for prospecting and fishing frothy water, I opt for one of my stimulators. If I am matching a caddis hatch or prospecting smooth water, I knot a deer hair caddis on my line.