Semi Realistic Caddis Pupa – Alan Bithell

It is a very worthwhile when you are on a river to turn over a few stones and see what is crawling around under there. Pete, at the Fly Fishing Shop, in Bakewell, carries a small aquarium net with which to catch insects that drift past. You can also purchase a seine net to fit the frame of your snowshoe landing net. Pete commented that these must be the most expensive pieces of equipment ever, judging by the very few anglers that carry them. Finding out what is going on in the water is a great clue to catching fish.

There is now another kind of stone turning exercise that we can do from our living room or office. Simply type the name of the insect into Google and hit “Images”. You will find a wealth of information in seconds. That was where I started with this caddis pupa.

Just having a photo of what you want to imitate is a good start, but you need much more. You need an inquisitive approach to your fly tying. Have you ever asked why a particular material is used? I have been asked, “How do you use such and such material” frequently, far less often have I been asked, “Why do you use that material?”

When you understand what properties materials have you will know when and how to use them in creating a new pattern. That is what makes me hesitant in offering step by step instructions for my fly patterns. If you follow the instructions you will end up with the fly, but will you have learned anything about fly tying? I hope you will take more from my tying instructions here than just how to tie this fly. A friend saw this fly and used the translucent body with colour under it to create a corixa pattern. I hope that is the kind of thing you will do with my offering.



This pupa is tied on a Kamasan B100 size 12, though you can use whatever hook you like.

Also you will need:

  • Fl. Fire Orange UTC 70. Or similar bright orange thread.
  • A strip of translucent Nymph Skin (narrow, 3mm)
  • Green metallic tinsel, holographic or standard.
  • Fine strong thread, such as GSP.
  • Two partridge outer wing covert feathers. Or any nicely marked feather.
  • A strip of Flexi Body
  • Golden pheasant tail fibres
  • Cream / tan dubbing
  • A brown permanent marker pen.

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