Evolution of a Fly – Guest Post by Chip Drozenski

Fly Tying

We are all thinking of Mayfly as I write this. However fly fishing is the same as most things in life. Planning ahead ultimately rewards you. So it’s time to plan for the multitude of of caddis hatches to be encountered throughout the season, particularly during the second half.

In this guest post, Chip Drozenski, experienced fly tier/fisher and marketing director at Andes Drifters, destination fly fishing in Patagonia, reveals the evolution of a fly that has become a firm favorite as well as a prolific fish catcher.


I have been fortunate to be part of a small group of fly fishermen and fishing guides who readily share information for pattern design, application of material, creative techniques and some really crazy ideas in the quest to deceive trout.  Over the last thirty years there have been many “me too” designs and failures but there has been some real GOLD in these pursuits plus some great friendships.  My tying techniques were initially grounded in the “Catskill” style but has evolved over the years.  For me, effective design keys on profile, silhouette, material movement and triggers.

Gary La Fontaine, Rene Harrop, Mike Lawson, Charlie Broe and Hans Weilenmann are a few of the tiers that have had a significant influence on my patterns which gravitate to impressionistic with a natural movement.

One of the great fly concepts is the CDC & ELK introduced by Hans. I was intrigued by the application of the CDC and the tying technique as I already had many  patterns combining CDC and elk that were productive but not special. My fly series, THREAD FLIES, already had proven that CDC movement and profile were very key for highly effective May fly patterns especially for very selective fish.

Abandoning most of my old caddis patterns for the CDC and ELK was easy, it became my best producer.  With a slight change to the body it also is  “killer” as a TRICO cluster.  I also noticed that swinging a wet sparse CDC &  ELK during certain phases of the hatch would, at times, produce.  A diving version was now my quest.  My initial attempts failed as I drifted off course making the modifications too complex, altering its 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 a favorite.  With a beadhead for weight and a teardrop profile, viola, the amber teardrop diving CDC & ELK 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 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:


Hook: TIEMCO 2487 (or equivalent light wire scud hook) #12-16
Weight: Copper bead
Thread: Black 8/0
Abdomen: Natural (Type 1) CDC feather, wrapped CDC&Elk style
Shuck: Amber Z-lon, teardrop style
Wing: Fine tipped deer hair
Thorax: Black ostrich


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