Project Description

Mugly Caddis

Pattern Description:

The Mugly Caddis is a pattern I developed after my first evening on the Henrys Fork. I had fished to sporadically rising fish all evening with little success. Meanwhile, another angler, slightly downstream seemed to be hooked up every time I looked his way. I cornered him near dark and with a sharp jab to the back of the head, put him to sleep for a few minutes while I inspected his pattern. The fly he was using was both disappointing and offensive to my fly tying sensibilities. It was merely a no hackle elk hair caddis pattern tied with a poorly dubbed body. The dubbing was too long with strands hanging out all over the place and the wing was too sparse. I hated it.
I went back to my room and tied up a few variations of the poor guy’s fly and proceeded to use them the rest of the week with great success.
Once I got back to Colorado, I sat down and perfected the pattern. The Whitlock SLF blend dubbing is a perfect match for this scraggly bug and the CDC underwing provided more movement and better flotation than the elk hair on the original.
I believe this pattern imitates a stuck in the shuck caddis, trapped partially in the nymphal shuck. The long fibered dubbing imitates the struggling legs of the natural and traps air bubbles to closer mimic the emergent caddis.
I fish this fly both dry and wet. I will often let it swing under at the end of the drift and hang for a second or two before recasting. The Mugly can draw some incredibly aggressive strikes and it is important to remember to drop the rod tip to avoid breaking the fish off on the strike.
I think of the poor guy I cracked every time I use this pattern and send him a silent thank you&its the least I could do.

Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 100SP-BL #12-20
Thread: 6/0 or 70 Denier, Tan
Abdomen: Whitlock SLF Blend Dubbing, Color of Choice
Underwing: Natural Mallard CDC
Overwing: Natural Cow Elk Body Hair
Thorax: Whitlock SLF Blend Dubbing, Color of Choice

Step 1

Attach the thread at the seventy-five percent point and wrap a thread base back to the bend.  Return the thread to the starting point.

Step 2

Apply the dubbing to the thread in a loosely dubbed manner.  Wrap the dubbing from the front of the hook back to the bend and forward again.  The abdomen should form a reverse taper that is fatter at the bend than it is at the front.

Step 3

Select two matched CDC feathers and even their tips.

Step 4

Clump the two CDC feathers together into a bunch and measure the clump against the hook so it is equal to one shank length long.

Step 5

Tie the CDC feathers in at the front edge of the abdomen with a narrow band of thread.

Step 6

Clip the butt ends from the CDC and build a smooth thread base over the stubs.

Step 7

Cut, clean and stack a small bunch of elk hair.  Measure the elk hair so it is the same length as, or just slightly shorter than, the CDC underwing.

Step 8

Tie the elk hair in at the base of the CDC underwing so it flares across the top of the CDC.  Form a small band of thread to secure the hair and clip the butt ends off at an angle.

Step 9

Wrap a smooth thread base over the stubs.

Step 10

Apply more dubbing (Don’t worry about getting the dubbing onto the thread very tightly.  The nature of this fly is unkempt and the loose dubbing contributes greatly to this effect.)

Step 11

Apply more dubbing (Don’t worry about getting the dubbing onto the thread very tightly.  The nature of this fly is unkempt and the loose dubbing contributes greatly to this effect.) to the thread and wrap it from the rear edge of the hook eye up to the base of the wing.  Make a wrap of dubbing over the base of the elk hair wing to gather it all on top of the fly.  This will create the tented wing of the real caddis. Wrap the dubbing forward again to the hook eye.

Step 12

Whip finish the thread at the back edge of the hook eye.  Clip the thread.

Step 13

Pick out the dubbing on the thorax and abdomen with a wire dubbing brush.  Really get after it to shag out the dubbing and create the halo effect.

Step 14

Finished fly, Side View.  Note the length of the Elk hair wing in relation o the CDC Underwing and the shagginess of the body.

Step 15

Finished Fly, Top View.  Note the wing is not flared but is, instead, tightly bundled along the top of the fly.

Step 16

Finished Fly, Bottom View. Shaggy!
And since you made it this far, Ill fess up to the story above being mostly a fabrication. The guy did catch a bunch of fish, but he willingly showed me the pattern when I chatted with him on the bank. I never did get his name, but I sure got your attention with the story! Let this be a lesson to us all. Share your information willingly and beware the consequences of not heeding this advice!