Effective Flies – Championship Caddis

Craig ties a top caddis dry.

In 2010, the World Fly Fishing Championships were held on Poland’s San River, one of the world’s great dry fly streams. Peter Dixon, our team captain, arranged for Englishman Jeremy Lucas to give technical advice and support to the Australian Team in the lead up to the competition. Jeremy has been European Open Champion, and he’s won an individual bronze medal at the World Championships. He’s also won numerous World and European team medals as a member of the English team. And Jeremy happened to guide regularly out of a lodge on the San River.

Jeremy worked very professionally with the team, helping us to improve our skills, develop new techniques, and he introduced us to new flies. Ours was the best-prepared team I’d been a member off.

Unfortunately, in the week leading up to the competition, the San catchment experienced heavy rain, causing this beautiful river to flood. We were just able to fish the competition; however, the San was far from its best and its renowned dry fly fishing was almost non-existent. Even so, in one of my sessions I was able to score well, skittering a caddis pattern Jeremy had given us through a shallow riffle. This was my introduction to the Championship Caddis. A slightly modified version has remained one of my favourite river dries, catching be fish all over the world.

One of the great strengths of the Championship Caddis is its flexibility. It can be tied in sizes from 12 through to 16; fished dead drift or skated; on its own or in tandem with a nymph. It is also very robust, and one fly can account for numerous fish before it wears out.

After catching a fish, simply wash the fly in the river, squeeze out excess water using a Tiemco fly kerchief, finish with a shake in dry fly powder, and it will float like a cork once again. Being a larger dry fly, it has excellent pulling power, making it a good searching pattern.


Hook – Dry fly size 12 to size 16; barbless.

Thread – Grey 8/0

Tag – Fluro orange Glo-Brite multi yarn

Body – Hares Ear dubbing

Under-wing – 3 to 4 natural CDC feathers (depending on the size of fly and quality of CDC).

Over-wing – Natural elk or roe deer hair


  1. Tie in the orange yarn, leaving a small tag.
  2. Thinly dub 70 percent of the hook shank with Hares Ear dubbing.
  3. Tie in the tips of the CDC feathers. (They should extend just past the orange tag.)
  4. Use a small clump of the elk or deer hair for the over-wing.
  5. Pull back the stubs of the hair and whip finish in front of the stubs, but behind the eye of the hook.
  6. Finally, cut the stubs back on a 45-degree angle, creating a tapered head.

I was able to experience the San’s excellent dry fly fishing with the Australian team while training there in the lead up to the 2017 World Fly Fishing Championships held in Slovakia. Jeremy has remained a friend to this day, and he recently fished with me in the highlands of Tasmania. Making such friendships is one of the enduring legacies of my time competition fishing.