Last winter after completing my production tying of tried and true patterns that have earned a permanent place in my fly box, I decided to experiment with some new patterns. I paged through magazine articles and several of my fly tying books for patterns that caught my eye. As I flipped thorugh Charlie’s Fly Box, I spotted the muggly caddis. This fly appealed to me because it had a very shaggy buggy look and used snowshoe rabbit foot hair as an underwing. I’d read articles about snowshoe rabbit foot hair, and my friend Jeff in Pennsylvania had mentioned that he experimented with it. The hair possesses natural oils that repel water, so I was intrigued to use this material in a dry fly.
The other interesting thing about this fly is it is tied to look used. Charlie Craven provides an explanation for this with a story in his book before describing the tying steps; but in short another fisherman was outfishing him, and Charlie asked to see his fly, and it was mangled and chewed up to the point that it barely looked like an insect.
I bought a pair of snowshoe rabbit feet and tied 10 or 15 muggly caddis with tan and olive bodies in sizes 14 and 16. They looked great, or perhaps it is better to say they looked shaggy and used, and I tested them on several occasions during 2013 with some positive results. In addition the snowshoe rabbit feet brought me an inordinate amount of good luck in 2013. Actually I did have a reasonably good year in 2013, but I’m hesitant to attribute it to the good luck charm of a rabbit’s foot.
For 2014 I decided to augment my supply of muggly caddis by tying five more to bring my total inventory to 20; however, I got carried away and made five with a light gray body and then five more with an olive brown hares ear body. These are the two body colors I use the most when prospecting with caddis to match the local insects.
Once I’d completed the 10 muggly caddis, I thought of the idea to create some muggly sallies to imitate yellow sally stoneflies. I always seem to be short of these flies, and a quick scan of my box indicated that I only had 5-10 in my backlog, so I churned out five yellow muggly sallies. The yellow versions were tied in size 16, and they look very similar to the deer hair yellow sallies I normally tie minus the hackle. Hopefully the fish like them as well, and the snowshoe rabbit hair makes them float well. The fish will be the ultimate judge of the muggly sally.