I have been fortunate to fish many storied waters where selective fish sipping flies are the targets that really get the juices flowing. A given is a flawless cast on a very fine leader hoping to get away with 6X. All the readers have been there and have experienced the thrill of victory and many agonizing refusals and defeats.

Fast back cast to the tying bench and fly designs that improve your success ratio. It’s all about selection and application of material, creative tying techniques and lots of experimentation in the quest to deceive big trout.

My tying techniques was initially grounded in the Catskill style but has evolved over the years to impressionistic with natural movement.
For me effective design keys on profile, silhouette, material movement and triggers. Gary La Fontaine, Rene Harrop, Mike Lawson and Hans Weilenmann are a few of the tiers that have had a significant influence.

Let me share a pattern that you should add to your tool bag.

One of the great fly concepts is the CDC & ELK introduced by Hans Weilenmann. I was intrigued by the application of the CDC and the tying technique he used. I had many caddis patterns using elk that were productive but not special.

Abandoning most of my old caddis patterns for variations of CDC and ELK was very easy. They became good producers especially for big selective trout.

I noticed that swinging a sparse wet CDC & ELK during certain phases of the hatch would induce strikes. Perhaps taken readily as a spent caddis or an emerger.

I now had the top water feeders covered and a diving version was now my quest. My initial attempts failed as I drifted off course making the modifications too complex, altering the effectiveness. I needed a profile and trigger that could really get the fish going. I had added various color teardrops early on but had no noticeable success.

After much trial and error I went back to my early teardrop variations searching for a difference maker. A small olive / gray parachute with a black post and amber antron shuck is my go to baetis. The X-CADDIS with amber antron is also a favorite.

Adding a bead head for weight and a teardrop profile, viola, the amber teardrop diving CDC & ELK was born and started to immediately produce. Just a slight change, but now I am confident during the hatching phases top to bottom. I vary the size and color of the CDC & ELK but
not the color of the teardrop. I have received lots of feedback from fishermen and fishing guides worldwide that like the results. In many places they fish it as a dropper off a small bugger and in the Box Canyon on the Henry’s Fork they drop it off a large stone fly. Give it a try and any feedback is appreciated.

Oh, well! Back to the vice…………. Chip

Pattern and tying instructions: