This is really a very simple fly to tie and a good one to get your fingers warmed up for spring tying! This fly is reccomended in a 14 or 16 for the Arkansas caddis hatch, but I think it would work well as large as a ten. This fly was developed by the Dean of the Ark, Don Puterbaugh, and is a simple-to-tie, fish catching pattern. Dig out your foam and hair and get to work.
Hook: TMC 100 #14-18
Thread: UNI 8/0 Black
Body: 2mm Black Foam Strip
Wing: Natural Elk Hair, cow or yearling
Hackle: Brown Rooster
Attach the thread behind the hook eye and wrap a smooth thread base to the point of the hook.
Cut a two by two millimeter strip of black foam. The length should be at least as long as the hook shank. I typically cut a long strip to use for several flies. Tie this strip in on top of the shank just in front of the midpoint on the hook, with a loose turn, then compress the foam with even thread pressure by pulling the bobbin toward you.
Wrap the thread forward over the foam at the front end to compress and secure it. Try to keep this tie down area smooth.
Cut, clean and stack a clump of elk hair. Measure the hair from the front of the foam body to about a quarter-shank past the end of the foam body.
Bind the hair down at the base of the foam with two loose turns, and cinch them down by pulling the thread toward you. Hold the hair in place as you clinch it down to keep if from turning. Spiral wrap the thread forward through the butts of the hair to further secure it.
Clip the remaining butt ends of the hair as close to the hook shank as you can. From this photo, you can see the taper and path of the thread where it goes through the hair. Be sure to leave some exposed shank at the front of the hook to facilitate tying off the hackle later.
Wrap the thread to smooth and cover the butt ends of the wing. End with the thread hanging at the base of the elk hair wing.
Select, size and prepare a pair of brown hackle feathers. Tie the feathers in by their butt ends with the outside of the feathers facing you, at the base of the wing, on the near side of the hook.
Wrap forward over the feather stems to secure them tightly. Return the thread to the base of the wing.
Begin wrapping the hackles (both at the same time) from the base of the wing moving forward with each turn. The tying thread is hanging in front of the hackles, and the tension from the bobbin will help keep the hackles from sliding down the slope created by the wing butts. Wrap the feather all the way forward to the rear edge of the index point (one eye length back from the hook eye).
Tie off the tips of the hackle feathers at the index point. Take care to make a clean tie down here, so there are no hackle fibers protruding out over the hook eye.
Clip the stub ends of the hackle feathers flush with the shank. Build a smooth, tapered thread head and whip finish and clip the thread.
Finished fly, side view.