“Shy Dad-Dee”

The Crane fly (order Diptera) is often an overlooked pattern that proves to be an important part of a trouts diet from mid-summer through the fall. Unlike many terrestrial patterns the Crane fly really begs to be tied with a very gossamer and sparse geometry. It is not a “beasty” like a hopper or cricket pattern. Instead upon close inspection you will see that is is very wispy, gossamer, and quite delicate. It is a common misconception that the bulbous end on the abdomen is an egg sack found on the female Crane fly. In fact this is the males genitalia. The female has a more pointed geometry at the end of the abdomen.

Proof of the pudding above: This shot of a nice 16" Brown shows two Crane fly's in his mouth, the lighter ochre colored one shown in the rear portion of the jaw was hooked and 18" of tippet snapped and trailed behind the fly, the fish got away. Three hours later I caught the same fish on a mahogany Crane fly! Both fly's retrieved. Shows that even when the fish is under duress this pattern proves very deadly indeed.

Over the last ten years I have distilled my Crane fly patterns down to some simple and natural materials that have made it a favorite in my fly box especially when fishing over finicky and skittish Browns.

The use of knotted pheasant tail, dyed turkey biots, and hen tips make for a very lightweight fly that can easily be casted with a 2wt. line using 6x tippet if need be. This is not a bulky pattern which was my major incentive for the use and combination of the following materials. This fly has also worked well when hoppers are just too conspicuous. This Crane fly imitation makes for a great search pattern during the months of August through October when rises become exponentially more sporadic on many spring creeks.

~Photos: Clint Bova all rights reserved® Copyright 2012

“Shy Dad-Dee”
Hook: TMC 5212  #10 or #12
Thread: 8/0 Tan
Wings: Dyed Hen tips (I use Veniards dyes, but you can also use Rit Tan)
Body: Tan Biots tied over beaver belly or Rainy's Float Foam
Thorax: Silk dyed to golden tan (silk will be easier to control to get good leg positioning)
Legs: Knotted Pheasant Tail
Hackle: Cream Variant or Badger

Tie in dyed tan turkey biot over beaver belly                      
dubbing or Rainy's Float Foam. You can
dub a male or female abdomen geometry.
Tie in knotted pheasant tail (3 pairs) just
above the mid point of the hook shank
making sure that you get good leg separations.

Dub the silk dyed to a golden tan. I use silk
because it lays down extremely tight and I
can control my leg positions so that they splay
perfectly even after getting soaked. The splayed
legs act as outriggers and help the fly sit perfectly
in the surface film like the natural.

Tie in Hen tips dyed tan, I use Veniards dyes but
Rit will work just fine. Make sure you tie them in
with a delta wing configuration. You can vary the
degree of the “V” the wing should end a hook gap
beyond the bend of the hook.

Hackle collar is either Badger or a cream variant.
Other colors I use for entire fly is a rust or mahogany
color or a creamy yellow like the color ways of a PMD.

~Photos: Clint Bova all rights reserved® Copyright 2012