Video: How to Tie the Iris Caddis

[Editor’s Note: Since there’s nothing new this week from our friends at Tightline Productions, I figured we’d reprise this great caddisfly pattern.]

The Iris Caddis is the creation of Craig Mathews, longtime owner of Blue Ribbon Fly Shop in West Yellowstone, Montana. The pattern imitates an emerging Hydropsyche caddisfly, which is the most important genus of caddisflies on the Madison and other waters of the region. With its Zelon shuck and wing and ratty-looking hare’s-ear thorax, the fly looks like a caddisfly struggling to escape its pupal shuck—a defenseless position that means an easy meal to a trout. One of the great things about the Iris Caddis is that it’s extremely durable. “[Y]ou can catch five or six fish on it and it looks the same as when you first tied it on,” Matthews wrote on

This video is by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, but the tier is Matt Grobert, host of Caddis Chronicles. As with all Tightline tying videos, this one offers clear, step-by-step instructions for tying the pattern, as well as important tips that will help you when tying other patterns. Here, you’ll learn about “carding” your hare’s ear dubbing, applying it via “touch dubbing,” and how wetting your fingers will allow you to control buggy materials.

Iris Caddis from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.


          Iris Caddis
          Hook: Tiemco 100, sizes 14-18.
          Thread: Olive, 6/0.

Shuck: Amber Zelon.
          Body: Tan or olive rabbit-Zelon dubbing mix.    
                 Wing: Clear Crinkled Zelon loop. 
Thorax: Hare’s-ear dubbing.       

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *