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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Sickada: A Foam Cicada Fly Pattern

A more realistic body profile

cicada fly pattern foam

In honor of the epic 17-year Cicada emergence this year, I was on an R&D mission for a new fly design. First, I went back over a few older Cicada fly patterns I'd tied in the past. Then I looked at resources online as well as some field research looking at actual bugs. The one below was found and photographed recently here in Utah while I was hunting bugs waiting for Cheech to bring his fat butt upstream. This Cicada is a little more bland than some of the other bugs I've seen but it still fits the mold of what I was planning for the fly pattern.

adult cicada fly pattern

adult cicada fly pattern

adult cicada fly pattern

In the end, I fine-tuned a couple of different fly patterns I'd tied in the past (for both crickets and Cicadas) and ended up with this Cicada fly pattern concoction. Looking at the photo below (thanks, you'll see the more tapered underside profile with a definite striped segmentation. Coloration varies from mostly black to black/orange/yellow to the more traditionally known black and orange. The pattern shown above was tied to imitate the more yellowish insects, but colors can be varied according to the colors you see around your local streams and lakes.

I also wanted the fly to float well enough to support bigger sized droppers, so you'll see this Cicada pattern incorporates as much foam as possible.

UPDATE NOTE: While the original Sickada pattern is a killer fly, I've done much better on the newer Project Cicada shown below. It's an easier tie and is a more balanced floating pattern. 

And best of all, you can buy them here if you'd like: Project Cicadas
My "Go-To" cicada now

adult cicada fly pattern
Old version (orange and black variation)

**Material List

HookPartridge Attitude Extra #4 or Gamakatsu L10-2H  (BUY HERE)
ThreadVeevus Fly Tying Thread 10/0, Orange  (BUY HERE)
BodyTying Foam, 6mm, Black  (BUY HERE)
WingThin Wing, Lt. Dun  (BUY HERE)
Over-WingPara Post Wing Material, Dark Gray & Fl. Orange  (BUY HERE)
Wing CoverCrosslink Foam, 1mm, Black  (BUY HERE)
LegsCentipede Legs, Speckled Orange  (BUY HERE)
Eyes: Mono, melted and colored

**Or buy the flies directly from us pre-tied:  Buy Here

Tools etc:

And the video tutorial for the new Project Cicada...


  1. Brilliant and simple. You guys have done it again! Do they land right side up? I find that's a big problem. With other foam flies.

  2. Hey Josh, you actually make a great point. I found this specific version lands hook up about 2 out of 10 times. Not, bad but to adjust for this, I made a slight change by slicing into the thicker foam, length-wise, and then applying a bit of super glue and sliding the hook shank into that slice so that the foam sits down a bit more.

  3. Curtis loved the presentation at the Wasatch Fly Fishing / Tying expo, wanted to ask you about the wings on this bug. Is there a place in Salt LAke where you can buy river foam and river wing with out ordering it from River Road?

  4. sticky,
    I'd check with Fishtech first. I haven't seen it around a lot, but Hareline will carry it, so if you go to a shop that has Hareline, just ask them to order some for you. Fishtech will do that a lot...

  5. What size cutter for the beavertail and wings? Thanks

    1. Depends on the size of the fly, but these use the medium sized one I believe.

  6. How can I buy this pattern? I can't find it on the price list

    1. We'll have their successor, the Project Cicada, ready to roll by next week