Caddis hatches occur on river and lakes all over the world, and bring trout to the surface in large numbers.  These quad winged insects are the most important bugs we have on the Upper Madison and are an available food source from April through September.  The Caddis patterns listed here are some of our favorites for Southwest Montana but can be used just about everywhere.

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  • There are plenty of parachute caddis patterns available to the fly angler in this day and age, but none of them seem to be quite as effective as Bloom’s parachute caddis.  This fly comes in all the right colors for imitating a wide variety of caddisflies, and the deer hair wing and parachute post ensures that it floats like a cork even in heavy riffles like we have on the Madison.
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  • The Corn Fed Caddis fishes like a champ and is equally at home on fast pocket water and flat tailouts alike.
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  • Al Troth came up with Elk Hair Caddis in 1957 and it has been wreaking havoc on trout ever since.  Needless to say, the elk hair caddis is a staple for us on the Madison and is one of those time-tested patterns that belongs in everyone’s caddis box.  Available in tan or brown.
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  • Tim Fox’s Mother Superior Caddis is an absolute killer when amber or cinnamon colored adults are on the water.  Size 16.
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  • The butch caddis was designed to fish in fast water where visibility is difficult. It also fishes well in slow water, and the reverse style of wing ensures that it floats with the abdomen in the water; however, the wing sits high and is virtually impossible to sink. The butch caddis is a favorite caddis pattern with our guides, and is available in tan or olive. Sizes 14- 18
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  • The Double Wing Caddis is essentially an X-Caddis with another stack of deer hair for extra flotation.  It features a Super Fine body and Z-Lon shuck and was an extremely effective pattern for us on the Madison last year.
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  • The Egg Drop Soup Caddis is a cool little variation on the traditional Elk Hair.  The two main differences you’ll find in this pattern is that there are just a couple turns of hackle in the thorax as opposed to throughout the entire body and an addition of a small green egg sac.  This is a great pattern to use during egg-laying flights, and is available in both brown and olive color variations.
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  • The Goober Caddis is one of the best slow water caddis imitations I have ever fished, and as fate would have it, this pattern also works incredibly well in fast water. Colors: Tan or olive.
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    Kelly developed this pattern on the North Branch of the Ausable in Northern Michigan.  Nearly everything in the North Branch Caddis is made from deer hair with the exception of a few turns of hackle in the head, which makes it extremely buoyant and also relatively easy to tie.
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  • Tied on a short shank hook, Galloup’s Ultra Caddis is a perfect perfect imitation for those tiny adults covering your shirt during July.
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  • British fly tyers John Goddard and Clive Henry created the Goddard Caddis back in the early 1960’s for lakes and stillwater fishing, and it eventually found its way to the states around ten years later.  This is one of our favorite patterns for skittering across lakes because it is very difficult to sink and has a very realistic silhouette to the fish looking for egg-laying females from below.
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  • The Hot Mess Caddis is a buggy creation from the guys over at The Fly Project in Great Falls, Montana.  This is another good choice for darker adults and features a Biot body, CDC and Deer Hair Wing, with a little bit of squirrel dubbing for the head.  Available in size 16.
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