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Lateral view of a Female Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeridae) (Hex) Mayfly Dun from the Namekagon River in Wisconsin
Hex Mayflies
Hexagenia limbata

The famous nocturnal Hex hatch of the Midwest (and a few other lucky locations) stirs to the surface mythically large brown trout that only touch streamers for the rest of the year.

Dorsal view of a Holocentropus (Polycentropodidae) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This one seems to tentatively key to Holocentropus, although I can't make out the anal spines in Couplet 7 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae nor the dark bands in Couplet 4 of the Key to Genera of Polycentropodidae Larvae, making me wonder if I went wrong somewhere in keying it out. I don't see where that could have happened, though. It might also be that it's a very immature larva and doesn't possess all the identifying characteristics in the key yet. If Holocentropus is correct, then Holocentropus flavus and Holocentropus interruptus are the two likely possibilities based on range, but I was not able to find a description of their larvae.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Freepow
menomonie, WI

Posts: 83
Freepow on May 21, 2008May 21st, 2008, 1:39 pm EDT
Does anyone have a good crane fly pattern? They are smaller and quite yellow/gold in color for the ones I am trying to match. I can't find anything...
"I fish...because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip..."
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on May 21, 2008May 21st, 2008, 3:02 pm EDT
Time until Softhackle suggests a softhackle: 3-2-1...

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Freepow
menomonie, WI

Posts: 83
Freepow on May 21, 2008May 21st, 2008, 3:55 pm EDT
Sorry, I'm sort of new to tying...I don't understand what that means.
"I fish...because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip..."
Taxon
Taxon's profile picture
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Taxon on May 21, 2008May 21st, 2008, 4:40 pm EDT
Freepow-

Don't believe it has anything to do with flytying. It's more like, if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Shawnny is implying that Softhackle is just about to suggest a softhackle pattern to imitate a crane fly, and he has even commenced a countdown for the event, sort of like the one for a space shuttle launch, but much shorter.

Actually is may be a little late in the evening for much action on this forum, but I'm confident you'll get a serious response tomorrow.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Freepow
menomonie, WI

Posts: 83
Freepow on May 21, 2008May 21st, 2008, 5:47 pm EDT
Ahh...I see said the blind man. I didn't notice the capital S in Softhackle implying a person, not a material. I await Softhackle's softhackle suggestions...
"I fish...because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip..."
GONZO
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
GONZO on May 21, 2008May 21st, 2008, 7:17 pm EDT
Jason (Freepow),

Many crane flies pupate terrestrially, but I believe a few species emerge in the water. If your crane flies are actually emerging, then a softhackle (like Softhackle's Lil' Dorothy) might be the ticket. Otherwise, you can imitate active adults with one of the old spider or variant dries. These are little more than an oversize hackle on a short-shank dry-fly hook. For resting flies, a simple body with a sparse oversize parachute hackle might work. If you think you need something more accurate, here's a cool old Chas Wetzel pattern you could try:

Wetzel's Orange Crane Fly

Thread--orange
Body--mixed orange wool and red fox fur
Rib--fine gold tinsel
Legs--six long knotted pheasant tail fibers
Wings--cream hackle points tied spent

You can adjust the tying/materials to match the crane flies you see.
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on May 22, 2008May 22nd, 2008, 10:39 am EDT
My apologies, Freepow - I wasn't trying to confuse. As Roger said, I was merely making a joke about the love our friend Mark (Softhackle) has for softhackles, and since softhackles can make good crane fly patterns... anyway, you get it. I am a bit surprised he hasn't posted any patterns yet, but you can check out his website (http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/) if you'd like some ideas.

And you can be pretty much guaranteed that the pattern Gonzo posted is a good one, or he wouldn't have bothered to post it.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Vlad
Posts: 2
Vlad on May 24, 2008May 24th, 2008, 1:42 am EDT
Here's one and it is an easy tie...

http://musicarskikafe.blogspot.com/2008/05/umbrella-hackle-cranefly.html

Regards,
Vlad
Shawnny3
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Shawnny3 on May 24, 2008May 24th, 2008, 2:07 am EDT
Nice looking pattern, Vlad.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
Vlad
Posts: 2
Vlad on May 30, 2008May 30th, 2008, 11:32 am EDT
Thanks Shawn,

Vlad
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on May 30, 2008May 30th, 2008, 4:16 pm EDT
My friend Al fishes the pattern Gonzo suggested, though he prefers a yellow body, and he does very well with this version. I like oversize and very sparse parachutes as well, and these can be tied with spent wings, with the parachute just in front of the wings. The post can be clipped short to imitate the hump craneflies have just before the wings. Vlad's pattern looks very effective also, and offers the opportunity to fish it wet or dry, which makes it versatile.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Freepow
menomonie, WI

Posts: 83
Freepow on May 30, 2008May 30th, 2008, 4:32 pm EDT
Fantastic solutions to this difficult problem. I will need to pick up the materials next time I am at the fly shop...I'll let you all know if I find success. It is so great to have this forum to be able to exchange ideas. Thanks a bunch to all!
"I fish...because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip..."
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on May 31, 2008May 31st, 2008, 11:11 am EDT
Freepow,

I should have been more specific. I tie the hackle oversize, using long hackle to suggest the legs. Or I use knotted pheasant tail, and tie the parachute a regular size. Fish will really smack crane fly patterns--I don't think they see many of them. Good luck!
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Flash
Flash's profile picture
Titusville, Fl. Formerly of Boulder, Co.

Posts: 1
Flash on Mar 12, 2012March 12th, 2012, 3:29 pm EDT
Check out my pattern at www.flyfishingthings.com/troutflies go to bottom of page. There you can see the finished pattern, see a video on how to tie the pattern and learn all about the crane fly larva. My pattern (the BFM Big Fish Mover) has been fished all over the US with fantastic results. It is by far the most effective crane fly pattern ever created even if I say so my self. I have caught more big trout with my crane fly pattern than with any other pattern I have ever fished. The key is to get the color and size right, make it weighted so it gets down to the bottom and make it translucent. Forget about trying to fish a dry fly pattern.
Fish the larva pattern and you'll hook up quicker and get into bigger fish. Good luck
CaseyP
CaseyP's profile picture
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
CaseyP on Mar 12, 2012March 12th, 2012, 3:47 pm EDT
another take on the crane fly larvae. this is the one i fish, with good results.

http://www.springridgeclubs.com/newsletters/favorite_fly_wi04_spring_ridge_club.html


thanks for posting the question about the dries. always wanted to try one!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 12, 2012March 12th, 2012, 6:48 pm EDT
Hey Guys -

I've only had memorable fishing to hatches of cranefly on the Beaverhead. They are the little yellow guys that kinda look like little sulfur mayflies in the air with their legs trailing back like tails. The best fly I found by far was the Tup's Indispensable wingless wet sans tails and with a longer hackle than normal all crumpled up. I don't have any left in my boxes that I can find, so I'm hoping Mark (Softhackle) reads this and can put one up to show. Though it's a wet fly, I fished it floating in the film. It far outperformed any other pattern at the time and was deadly.

The larger craneflies (Mosquito Hawks, Daddy Long Legs) never constitute a hatch per se, but always seem to be out and about near water in the Summer, particularly if there's a lot of lawns nearby. Below is my interpretation of a great pattern from the creative mind of Bob Quigley (I wished I had come up with it). It is one of the coolest, buggiest flies I've ever seen, and the design features are nothing short of genius. It has the lightness & ethereal quality of a skater combined with an accurate silhouette. The sparse unstacked tail and the oversized hackle wound both parachute and conventional simulates the legs going every which way quite well. The hair "bubble" simulates the silhouette of the thorax beautifully without adding weight. The 2x long dry fly hook gives the shank length to work with, but also keeps the weight down. Though it presents a great likeness, it is still literally 'as light as a feather'.

I remember fooling around with it on a stream in the Sierra's when an interesting thing happened. I was skating it around, getting a kick out of the little tiddlers attacking (but missing) it constantly. After a few more casts and performances in the same pool, one precocious youngster in particular whacked it three times in a row on successive twitches, the last time swapping ends in an awkward belly flop. After that last move, I was laughing so hard I just left my fly sitting there sodden on the surface. That's when Grandpa rolled on it with a whale breach. He was just letting the little guys do the work for him!:)

Actually, I think what happened is all the fish activity at the surface stirred him to life. I'm sure he would have preferred one of the little guys that scurried away but at least the stunned cranefly was something for his labors!:) He went a little over 2 ft...

Anyway, here's the fly.


"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRoberts
PaulRoberts's profile picture
Colorado

Posts: 1776
PaulRoberts on Mar 13, 2012March 13th, 2012, 8:57 am EDT
Wonderful fly, description, and story, Kurt.

I can see some damselfly possibilities there too.
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Mar 13, 2012March 13th, 2012, 10:36 am EDT
Thanks, Paul.

I can see some damselfly possibilities there too.

Ah... I have another fly for them! Perhaps I'll start another topic.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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