The Stickfly

by Jonathan

This fly has been popular with reservoir and stillwater trout fisherman since the seventies. It is an imitation of the caddis grub in its shell. The caddis grub eventually matures to be a sedge which is also popular with the trout. This fly can be tied on all sizes down from long shank 10s. Smaller sizes can be good on rivers.

Back in the mists of time when I was a young lad we used to turn over the bigger stones on the local stream and collect the caddis grubs in their shells and use them for bait, but that is another story.

This is a relatively easy fly to tie. You will have used all the steps at some time on the previous lessons. The peacock herl is fragile and does need the ribbing. You can give the body 2 coats of varnish and it will make it more durable. The hackle can be any shade of brown or orange. I have used brown partridge hackle to good effect, particularly on the rivers.


  • Hook – Long shank 10/12/14.
  • Thread – Black or Brown. If you tie some flies unweighted use a different colour thread to the weighted.
  • Rib – Wire copper, or black.
  • Tag – Fluorescent antron or wool. yellow, green / lime.
  • Body – 3-5 strands of peacock herl depending on the size of hook.
  • Hackle – Henny cock. brown, ginger, orange or brown partridge.
  • Underbody fine lead wire. If not available copper wire.

Regards Dave C and The Team  

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Wayne Coady February 14, 2010 at 6:13 am

Hi Dave: Just found your site and I am a new fly fisher and now very interested in fly tying, thanks to your wonderful instructions. Here in Nova Scotia Canada we have many lakes and rivers…very healthy fishing areas.

I look forward to trying out my new fly tying kit and hopefully learning to be a good fly fisher.

Great job Dave.

Wayne Coady Nova Scotia Canada

murray mcavey January 12, 2010 at 7:18 am

What a fantastic lure, used my first one yesterday on my fly rod, third cast whamo! a thirty minute battle and my biggest brown trout ever; a 6.9kg monster. Thank you very much.

vic perry September 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm

hi dave & teem thanks for a simple fly to tie all the verry best vic

Stuart Poll March 12, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Hello David, Thanks for the advice on joining a fishing club in Derbyshire,i had already joined Matlock angling club for 2009 but i would love the chance to spread my wings a little so next year i will join Derbyshire county club. The reason i am contacting you today is that i would like to start tying some flies using wing slips like the Iron Blue and The original Greenwells pattern. With this in mind i was wondering if you could do a vid on the preperation and tying of wing slips such as teal and mallard. i have to say a final word of thanks as i caught my first ever fish on a self tied fly today, an immaculate and beatuiful little brownie from the Derwent using your Stickfly pattern. As i mentioned before i have only been fly fishing and tying for about 5 weeks so today’s small victory was more down to luck than judgement, it still felt like a great achievement though and lets face it…if your not good it doesn’t hurt to be lucky. Tight lines and thanks again. Stuart.

topflyman January 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Hi Dale
Thanks for your kind comments.
There is nothing more satisfying than catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself.
The Woolley Bugger gave me 2 notable days in New Zealand last year……about 40 rainbows to 31/2 lb on a river I doubt I would ever find again.
Most of my fly fishing is on stillwaters and can be unpredicable but my first love is fishing buzzers and nymphs. We do bait fish for the grayling in the winter, on the Derwent about an hours drive away, and sport can either be fast and furious or totally dead(not very often)
There will be more vids as we can find the time to get together this year.
Remember a bad days fishing is better than agood day at work.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

Dale Ruth January 18, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Hello Dave,

Received an unexpected but welcomed ” Flytying Kit ” for beginners; however, I was somewhat reluctant to try my hand at fashioning even a simple pattern taking into account that I had never tied a fly before ( main concern ) and as a result the Kit sat for months shamefully collecting dust. That convenient and unfortunate procrastination quickly came to an end when I happened to stumble across your wonderful website.

I must extend a great deal of personal complimentary recognition to you and your instructional flytying videos which ultimately inspired me to take the plunge and begin tying my very first fly – Wolley Bugger. I have now tied numerous and various fly patterns including several of my very own designs which I’m proud to boast have produced good results.

For me fishing – somedays I do more fishing than catching but always enjoyable nonetheless – is an experience and passion that I cherish deeply and furthermore that experience, without question, has now been greatly enriched especially when fish are caught on flies that were made by one’s very own hands.

So thanks very much for your contribution to the Art of Flytying and do keep up the awesome work.

Dale R – British Columbia, Canada

topflyman August 25, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Hi Gustav
Good to get your message again. Thank you for your comments and it pleases those of us on the Team for your appreciation. It is good to know that you are catching fish. I am finding it hard work at the moment because a lot of our lakes have weed very badly.
I have been on holiday for 2 days with my wife Jean, and friends. While I have been away Jon has put out a new vid. It is an emerger pattern which floats and you will find it good when the fish are taking flies off the surface. Let me know if you have tried it.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and theTeam

hello im gustav on youtube themangaking12 August 24, 2008 at 1:31 pm

hey i appresiate youre vidds and i have watched att alll of them under a long time you brougt me in yo flyfiching and flytying and i have gott a lot of fiches on your flyes hope you write toome soon

gustav 13 yers old sweden

topflyman February 20, 2008 at 10:59 am

Hi David
Nice to get your comments. We try to do a cross section of patterns and the list is endless. I think our flies are quaint rather than weird. I am not yet sure that the trout in their various countries are aware of their cousins abroad. Roll on the day when the experts realise that there could be universal patterns. The fish would just have to learn to accept them. I am off to New Zealand next week to have a go at their brownies.
I have faith and confidence in the 75% of traditional patterns I use here in the UK.
Happy Fishing
Dave C. and the Team

David February 20, 2008 at 1:10 am

Thanks for advancing fly tying. I live on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon, and I also tie flies, and I always learn something by watching someone tie. Some of your flies are those “weird english ones” and other’s will actually work. (This was a joke).

You have an odd whip finish, different than I have ever seen.


topflyman February 17, 2008 at 11:52 am

Hi John
When tying dries I usually wind the thread thro the hackles, this is easier because you should be winding the hackle forward in touching turns. The hackles on wets and spiders are usually more sparse, usually two turns, and I always tie off at the eye side.
Hope this helps.
Happy Fishing
Dave C, and the Team

John Brown February 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Dear David
Can you please advise, when tying in hackles some advocate the tying thread being on the “barb” side of the hackle. You would then work the thread through the hackle to give extra strength to that finished hackle. Others simply wind the hackle and tie off on the “eye” side. Do you find any merit in either method?
many thanks

topflyman February 16, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Hi Roberto
Good luck on your trip to the mountains.Hope the fly does the job.
There will be more patterns to follow.
Happy Fishing
Dave C. and the Team

Roberto Reino February 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Nice fly ! I’ll do it in a small size and go to the mountains here in Santiago de Chile this week-end (feb 16th, 2008).
Thanks a lot. I had this pattern (fish loved it) but lost it in the last trip. Now I know how to tie it again.
Thanks again and keep going !!!!


topflyman February 10, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Hi John
We do try to keep it simple…too much ‘magic’ associated with fly tying and experts re-inventing ‘new’ patterns. The basic patterns will always take fish I catch more on skinny black buzzers. flexi bloodworm and g/h hares ear than anything else and they are all easy ties.
Happy Fishing
DaveC. and the Team

John Boon February 10, 2008 at 6:42 pm

Hi Dave,
Tied the fly this afternoon, very easy to tie due to the great instructions.

Thanks very much, John Boon

P.S Cant wait until the next one.

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