Tying the simplified Nitro Caddis Pupa.

Winter is in the rearview, and as the water warms, local trout will be looking for aquatic bugs as they become more active. Some anglers will try to match the hatch while others will look to fool fish with emergers. While both great tactics, we must remember one thing: in spring, caddis is king. The fly that has saved many days of fly fishing is a caddis pupa.

This version of a Nitro Caddis Pupa is not difficult to tie and is full of effective triggers that trout cannot resist. The pearl cord braid is lifelike, colorful, and just flashy enough. The UV squirrel collar is super buggy and is paired with the magical movement of CDC that trout go nuts for. It can be fished with many different nymphing approaches or used as a dropper behind a dry fly.

fly tying nitro caddis pupa

Hook: Ahrex FW541 or Tiemco 2487 size 12-18
Bead: Match hook size with black nickel tungsten bead, 2-3.5mm
Thread: 70 denier UTC thread, brown olive
Body: Pearl Cord Braid, olive
Wings / Legs: Premium CDC in caddis dun, Nature’s Spirit UV Tracer Squirrel dubbing in natural fox

1. With your bead on the hook, start the thread at the eye and wrap 1/4 of the way down the hook shank.
2. Cut a two-inch length of pearl cord braid and burn the end with a lighter. Roll the material between your pointer finger and thumb to taper the tail.
3. Tie in the pearl cord braid so that the tapered end extends behind the hook. It should extend about the length of the hook gap behind the bend in the hook.
4. Trim the excess pearl cord braid and secure it with a few wraps of thread. Adding a small amount of superglue to this tie-in point will make the fly more durable.
5. Create a dubbing loop and select a premium CDC feather. Arrange the fibers and trim them from the stem (tools like the Swiss CDC Multi-Clamp and Petitjean Magic Tool make this much easier).
6. Wax your dubbing loop, then transfer your CDC fibers to the dubbing loop. Spin the dubbing spinner to create a short rope of CDC.
7. Wrap your CDC rope toward the eye of the hook, preening the fibers back to keep them from getting caught. Tie off the loop, and trim it flush.
8. Take a small pinch of squirrel dubbing and loosely dub a one-inch dubbing noodle on your thread. Wrap the dubbing a few turns to create a collar the same size as your bead.
9. Do a four-five turn whip finish and apply your favorite UV resin to secure the thread.

This fly can be tied with various bead sizes to accommodate a wide range of nymphing tactics. Try using a tan core braid or other colors of squirrel and CDC for a different effect.

Drew Daniels works for Bozeman Fly Supply.