Devil Bug

Here’s another caddis design that I find exceptional. Others have fished it with shot like a nymph, pulled it under and fished it with a rapid retrieve, and many other ways. It’s one of my favorites for the Down Dry/Up Wet tactic discussed in Fishing the Film. All you need is some deer hair and a little dubbing. The illustrations are by Jason Borger, taken from my book, Designing Trout Flies (1991).

Wrap the shank eye to bend and back with thread. End with thread about 3 head spaces behind the eye (one head space = length of eye). Tie in a clump of deer hair with the tips pointing rearward just long enough to form a short tail on the fly. Secure the clump tightly at the front and then spiral the thread rearward and secure the hair tightly at the rear of the shank. NOTE: at this point, stop and add the body dubbing to the thread, leave an inch or two of bare thread between the hook and the starting point of the dubbing.


This is what the fly looks like after the hair is secured front and back.

Grasp the butt ends of the hair and fold the clump tightly back over the top of the body. NOTE: don't let go! Use the thread to secure the clump tightly at the rear of the fly. When the dubbing reaches the body, wrap it forward to secure the deer hair of the body. NOTE: Keep a good grip on the butt ends of the deer hair all this while.

Once the dubbing is in place, fold the hair forward over the top of the body and secure tightly at the head. Clip the butt ends of the hair to about 1/2 the length of the shell back. Coat the back of the fly with several applications of flexible head cement.


  1. Ricardo says:


    I tied some of your devil bugs (sizes 14 and 16, with dark green dubbing) a few weeks ago and finally got to give them a shot last weekend in the west sierras. I don’t know if I tied them wrong but the flies always float on their side, not on their belly. I though they’d float as emergers, with the hook and the back part of the fly underneath the water and the head looking upward, but they don’t- they lie flat and therefore don’t imitate any natural bug. I have read your instructions a thousand times but I have not figured it out yet. What am I missing here?

    Thanks a lot in advance,