Crane Fly

Flies With a Story


Flies With a Story #75

The Flytier: Fred Bridge of York, PA

Once a professional tier, now that Fred is retired he restricts his tying to flies for himself, friends and family.  Fred is an active supporter of a number of PA Trout Unlimited Chapters.  He enjoys presenting slide shows of trips to Yellowstone Country, New York's Salmon River, and New Zealand's North Island, to conservation and fishing groups.

Read Fred's other stories:
Fred's Weenies (Green Weenie and Red Hot)
Green Drake Nymph and
Green Drake Parachute


The Crane Fly, as patterned and tied by Fred Bridge

 Photo by Peter Frailey

Order of Ingredients:

Hook: 79580 or equivalent, Size 16
Yellow of primrose
Golden Stone Widow's Web
Beige, light tan or cream, cut/burned
Yellow CDC


"I skittered it in the area where I had seen a fish slurp a real fly, and had two trout attach it...."

Last year, in late March, while fishing the Yellow Breeches, there was quite a bit of midge and "micro" stuff flying about but no trout working on them. Here and there among those flies were some larger bright yellow bugs which at first glance appeared to be caddis flies. Wing movements were somewhat similar and they were skittering on the surface laying eggs. Finally, one came flying by within a foot or two of me and I was able to see the "daddy long legs" hanging down and trailing back well past the body. The light went on and "Crane Fly" popped into my head.
Some years ago I tied a dry version of a wet/nymph style given to me by Ronn Lucas.
Fortunately, I had one with me, tied it on, skittered it in the area where I had seen a fish slurp a real fly, and had two trout attack it, one of which I hooked. I landed six fish that morning before losing the fly on a frayed or weakened spot on the tippet and a much too hard strike.
Now, I always have a few with me in the late March to late May time period. I was rewarded a couple weeks ago on the Breeches and had a really good morning. For some reason, skittering works much better for me than does a dead drift.
I have observed these flies in many area streams, and from what I have read they are present across the country. The larva crawl into the mud along the edge of the stream where they transform to the flying insect. They mate, lay eggs, and die.
My pattern and tying technique are shown below. I hope you have equal success with it.

 - Fred Bridge
April, 2006

Photos and Tying Tips from Fred:

Tie in Widow's Web just behind eye and segment it with thread back to the bend.

Split the tag ends of the Widows Web in two equal hanks of fibers, and pull the two sections forward toward eye. Keep each section along the sides and the bottom of shank. Use the thread to segment it to just behind eye.

Tie in cut or burned wings in flat style with tips just beyond bend of hook.

Tie in CDC by the tip and make about three wraps. You want to wrap the section of the feather with the longest fibers as the Crane Fly legs are very long and extend well past the body and wings.

Tie off and go fishing. You can fish it dry but it works best skittered across the surface



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