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
Photos and Tying Tips from Fred:
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
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