Craneflies belong to the order Diptera, and the one imitated here is intended to represent Nephrotoma antennata, a medium sized, and delicate insect with a wingspan of approximately 25 mm, predominantly yellow or tan abdomen and thorax with a few black markings. However, tied in different colour combinations and size to match the naturals, the fly could easily be fished as an imitation of other insects such as a Net-winged Midge in a dark brown or black.
These insects are not in any way prolific on our streams, but the general buggy appearance, especially the legs, which move in the surface film with the push and pull of the current, means it is loaded with familiar triggers for the trout. Because of its effectiveness as a deceiver of fish, it has become one of my signature patterns. My experience is that it is best fished in smooth flowing water, close to the banks and under over-hanging vegetation rather than the rough and tumble of the riffles.
The tying sequence is the same as the order of the material list below. The legs are the only unusual tying process in this fly. They are tied loosely as the first step behind the eye with tips facing forward and so that the individual hairs can be manipulated between thumb and forefinger more or less evenly around the shank. After completing the thorax, the legs are pushed back over the wings and held in that position by forming a head with tying thread behind the eye to finish the fly.
Legs – 8 to 10 hairs of Gray Fox or Squirrel, Hot spot (optional) – Red DMC thread No. 4015, Wings – White Z Lon or Antron, Abdomen – Tan Turkey biot, Thorax – Yellow/orange SLF dubbing.
Guest blog by Peter Brigg