Photos: Clint BovaThe adult stage of the Cranefly has long been overlooked by the fly fishing world. A pretty bold statement but very true. Crack open any fly fishing catalogue and you will be hard pressed to find an adult stage imitation. As for the larval and nymph stage the range of flys are far more significant. Around the world the Cranefly has a variety of eclectic names and is a significant part of a trouts diet in certain times of the spring and summer. Trout typically “smack” craneflys on the surface for a lack of a better word. It is a hardy morsel of protein and like ants trout will move out of their comfort zone for this insect readily. If you were to connect lines directly from the tips of all six legs splayed it would form a perfect eclipse. That being said the legs are a very important aspect when considering the geometry of your pattern. Craneflys stuck in the surface film splay much like a spider would. The following photos are a result of about a 15 year fascination I’ve had with this fly. Getting the profile, proportion, and dialing in the hook type took a lot of exploration and trial and error. I hope you try it sometime you may be surprised what kind of explosive takes it will evoke.
Gossamer Crane Fly:
Thread: Veevus 14/0 Tan or rust
Hook: Kamasan B160 Short Shank Hook
Abdomen: Micro Chenille dyed tan
Thorax: Beaver Belly dyed rust or tan
Legs: double knotted pheasant tail dyed tan yellow (x6)
Wings: Hen Tips dyed tan
Hackle: Barred Ginger hackle
Tying this fly is much like tying a hen wing spinner but with legs and an extended body.
Quick notes: tie in micro chenille and singe tip | dub in thorax | tie in double knotted legs just in front of thorax | tie in hen tip wings laying them flat and splayed not delta wing style you want to mimic the fluttering insect trying to get out of the surface film not a crane fly at rest | dub in x pattern in front and behind to fix wing | tie in barred ginger hackle behind and in front of hen wings in x pattern