SwittersB Wading SB BBasic Black in fly patterns is a given concept of acceptance for sub-surface patterns and presentations, but many fly fishers don’t stay with the black on top of the water’s surface when fishing. Whether it is working with a fly pattern that offers more visibility, or attempting to provide more exacting “match the hatch” markers the fly fisher doesn’t tie or fish many black patterns.

A few years ago, I started using the Black Elk Hair Caddis pattern. My mind also questioned the blackness of it all. Maybe a more exacting shade of brown was in order? But, I have to say the black pattern has done quite well on rivers and lakes. I haven’t tied many up, but I plan to this Winter in assorted sizes along with Black Soft Hackles.


The patterns have merit and produce when the size of the pattern is matched to the existing hatches coming off. 

bow shallows wet cuff SB
In my excitement and admiration, I dunked my fleece jacket in the water to hold/release the fish. It was a cold day and a little forethought to this possibility was in order. This fish took the Black Elk Hair Caddis skittered on/in the surface chop. (Photo by Bucky)
Bow Caddis Reflection SB
This pretty fish also took the Black Elk Hair Caddis. (Photo by Bucky)

Give black surface patterns a try for Midges (Chironomid/Buzzers), Caddis, Stonefly and Mayfly. Even a big, fluttering Dragon pattern might entice a wallop. Trout Caught/Released