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Paul's Fly Box will feature a new pattern each month from our own Paul Weamer
(click here to learn more about Paul)

Paul is a contracted fly designer for Montana Fly Company and the inventor of the Weamer's Truform series of flies. Paul has teamed up with Daiichi Hooks where he designed the Daiichi #1230 Weamer's Truform (tm) Mayfly hook.

Paul's first book, Fly fishing Guide to the Upper Delaware River, is proving to be a must have for anyone fishing the Delaware! He has also collaborated with Jay Nichols on a Tying Dry Flies book and co-authored the Pocket Guide to PA Hatches with Charles Meck. Paul is Fly Fisherman magazine’s Northeast Field Editor and his articles and photographs regularly appear in the magazine.

Bird of Prey Caddis

Caddis fly imitations should have a favored place in every angler’s fly box. Sure, mayflies, stoneflies, midges, crane flies, terrestrials, scuds, and sow bugs are important, often vital, for catching fish. But it’s the caddis fly’s ability to survive, even thrive, in every trout environment from the most pristine mountain stream, to oozing valley limestoners surrounded by farmland, to urban waterways degraded by mankind’s “progress” that make the caddis fly so important to anglers.

Caddis flies have a complete life cycle which differs from the mayfly’s incomplete cycle. This complete cycle means that caddis flies have an extra step in their development, called a resting stage, when they pupate before becoming winged adults. But for most of their brief, one-year life cycle (some species like Psiloteta labida have a two year life cycle) caddis flies remain in their worm-like larval state. And they are the reason why the Bird of Prey Caddis is one of my favorite sub-surface fly patterns in the spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Caddis fly larva fly patterns are often very simple flies, usually little more than a hook, dubbing, and a bead. But my favorite larva imitation is a little more involved, though not much more. John Anderson developed the Bird of Prey Caddis in the western U.S. But I began using it in the East’s fabled Upper Delaware River. Now that I have returned to my home waters in Central Pennsylvania, the Bird of Prey Caddis has proved itself on the fertile, limestone caddis factories here: Penns Creek, Big Fishing Creek, Spring Creek, and the Little Juniata River.

The Bird of Prey Caddis can be adapted to imitate many of the important caddis fly species simply by changing the dubbing color. My favorite version incorporates a tan body, probably due to the proliferation of the pollution tolerant Hydropsyche and Symphitopsyche caddis species called Spotted Sedges or Tan Caddis by anglers. But I’ve also caught a lot of fish using olive, bright green, and brown versions. I generally fish these flies with a dead drift through riffles like any standard nymph pattern. But swinging the flies through, and below, riffles can also provoke vicious strikes from trout.

Spend the extra time to tie your caddis larva imitations a little more realistically like the Bird of Prey Caddis and you’ll be rewarded with more trout in your net throughout the year.

Hook: TCO or TMC 2457 (size 14-18)
Head: Gold Bead
Thread: 8/0 Uni-Thread (colored to match the body)
Tail: clump of natural Hungarian partridge fibers
Rib: pearl Flashabou accent
Body: rabbit or beaver dubbing (usually tan, olive, brown, or green)
Hackle: natural Hungarian partridge
Thorax: peacock herl

Past Issues:
The Zuddler
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