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dawgvet

Favorite hair for Elk Hair Caddis?

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I know it sounds like the name of the fly should give away the tying recipe but I was wondering what everyones favorite type of hair for EHCs was? I have read a fair amount about people actually preferring to use certain types of deer hair? Any input appreciated.

Thanks,

Jed

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I use a few types but it seems my most productive one I tie with dark deer hair I preserve myself from hunting, usually from the back of the neck on a winter coat of a

Northern PA whitetail

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I tie a CDC and Elk but like the originator I use deer hair. I've found it's easier to tie than Elk hair caddis and possibly more effective. When I first started tying it, 20 or so years ago, I went to a local fly shop looking for deer hair patches and the owner suggested that if I was going to tie a lot of deer hair caddis that I pick up a deer's mask. He sold me one, I think it was $12 but it lasted me a couple of years. I bought another one from English Angler Trappings and I'm still using it today. If you're going to be tying up a bunch and if you can find one buy a deer's mask. The colors of hair available on it, from light to dark will cover most caddis hatches that you'll run into.

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Like Philly, I prefer deer hair for my EHC and CDC & Elk. Easier to find and works better on smaller patterns for me. My favorite commercially available deer hair is Nature's Spirit "Humpy Hair" which should not be hard to find. Best general purpose deer hair patch that I have found, for stuff like wings, posts, etc. That being said, I do tend to think that elk hair floats a bit better and I still use it on larger patterns.

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Yearling Elk - Thin walled, beautiful tips and just the right amount of flare.

Great for a multitude of uses.
This is one of those items you can't just buy on line.
When Charlie Craven gets a shipment in he sends back

about 80% of it and keeps the good stuff.
When you do find a good piece of it keep a little bit of it
and take it with you when you go shopping again.

Kimo

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I only tie EHC in size 14, and for that size, elk hair works great. I have several pieces that I've picked up along the way. Some have way more underfur, and I don't like working with them. The ones I like have very little underfur and don't flair too much when I cinch down on the thread.

 

I've always found deer body hair to flair too much. Deer hock shouldn't flair as much. I've never used deer mask, I'll have to see if I can find some.

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Most elk hair caddis patterns are tied with the wrong hair. The originator, Al Troth, specified that the hair should NOT FLAIR so that it would lie TENT like over the fly just like the the wings on a caddis. Unfortunately, this fact has been ignored and tiers have used the more common hair that flairs which results in an upright wing pattern.

Caddisfly.jpg

Here is an original EHC as tied by Al Troth from the Al Troth Video below:

35593315811_c71d1866c9.jpg

Here is an EHC tied close to the original.

trad+caddis.jpg

Compare this with the hundreds of Elk Hair Caddis images on the web that look like this.

04-0230_elk_hair_caddis-tan.png

Gary Borger uses polypropylene for the wings which does not flair AND he bends the hook so the wing is flat over the fly. If you only have hair that flairs and want a flatter wing profile, bend the front 1/3 of the hook shank up as in Gary Borger's Poly Caddis. You tie the hair in on this bent section of hook and it will lower the wing profile.


http://www.garyborger.com/2011/06/08/poly-caddis/

Poly-Caddis-2.jpg

I wrote a post on sorting deer and elk hair:

http://www.flytyingforum.com/index.php?showtopic=69829&st=0&p=522278

 

 

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I used yearling and cow elk for years, but recently switched to short, fine deer hair, the stuff usually labled as comparadun hair. That hair is fine and flares just the way I like it. More importantly, though, it has very short tips so almost the whole hair is hollow and the stuff floats so much better than elk. Right now I'm using a patch from nature's spirit that's the nicest hair I've ever used.

 

The water I usually fish an EHC is very turbulent and rough, floatation is very important and wing profile really isn't. If I'm fishing flatter flows I fish a pattern more like the Troth original with a flatter wing and usually leave off the hackle.

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You can use various types of hair for a caddis. But if you use deer hair dies not become a Deer Hair Caddis?

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You can use various types of hair for a caddis. But if you use deer hair dies not become a Deer Hair Caddis?

 

Elk hair hair and caddis are married because of Al Troth.

 

Hans Weilenmann, when he introduced the CDC & Elk to the members of [email protected] in the early 90's, called it the CDC & Elk even though he tied it with deer hair. It was in homage to Al Troth's EHC which was the inspiration for Hans' CDC & Elk. After the WWW was invented with the Netscape Navigator browser in the mid '90s, Hans' original CDC & Elk and his story was documented on a [email protected] swap page. The CDC & Elk is on this page at the bottom right. This is the original posting of Hans' tying instructions for his CDC & Elk.

Dry Fly Swap Page

 

 

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Glad I read your post, Silver Creek before I uploaded mine. I was going to tell the same story. I drove out to a gathering in Seven Springs, Pa to meet Hans and to learn how to tie the CDC and Elk not to long after I joined [email protected] I asked since he was tying it with deer hair why did he call it the CDC and Elk and got pretty much the same story. I initially tied it I using a standard dry fly hook. Being a beginner I always carried a small plastic container with me when I fished to collect specimens. I started collecting caddis flies when they were kind enough to land on me or near me. I'd take them home with me, check them out with a magnifying glass, note the body color and size and wing color. We spend a lot of time trying to exactly mimic mayflies but we don't do that with caddis. The one thing I noticed about the caddis flies I caught was that the body is a lot shorter than how it's tied on both the Elk Hair caddis and the CDC and Elk. The body is usually about half the length of the entire fly, give or take a mm. For example, I was tying up a Little Black Caddis to match a hatch on a local creek. Everything I read said it was a size 16, so I tied the CDC and Elk on a standard size 16 dry fly hook, I believe it was a TMC 101. Didn't do very well. One thing I noticed was my fly was a lot bigger than the actual caddis. I caught a couple of them. When I got them home. I measured them. They were 7 mm long, roughly the average length of a standard size 16 dry fly hook. The body measured 3 mm and rather than being black was a very dark gray. So I looked through my hooks and found some TMC 2488, either size 18 or 20 which gave me the body length I was looking for. I didn't have any black deer hair, so I used black CDC for the wing. Next time out I even caught a couple of fish on it. This is what it looks like.

 

post-309-0-73890900-1519841784_thumb.jpg

 

Since that time I've tied all my CDC and Elks on the TMC 2488 and try to keep the same proportions when I tie with deer hair.

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