March 11, 2017

An Ode To The Crane Fly

This insect is mistaken for a mosquito many times.  It is an adult female Crane Fly.  It is the second biggest insect in the driftless that trout love to munch on.

It was an early September day and John Armstrong and I were fishing a way headwater stream in crawford county. We stopped at a bridge we liked and the sun was bright and we thought we wouldn't catch anything.  We were very wrong. There was a serious hatch going on.  There were scads of adult crane flies flying around.  The sun illuminated them and made them look huge.

There was a giant spring just 40 yards up from the bridge we were fishing under. There were scads of trout under the bridge but none were hitting. All of a sudden they turned on and were boiling the surface.  John tried three flies with no luck.

 My friend John picked a leatherback crane fly off the surface and he switched to a yellow soft hackle fly.  He put some goo he called it on the fly to make it subsurface barely.  In the film he called it.  The fly mimics the ribbed bodied worm/grub. The hackle mimics the spindly legs of the emerging adult crane fly from the leatherback. The goo keeps the emerging fly where it needs to be struggling to shed the casing.

 I swear we caught every trout under that bridge twice. Between the two of us we caught 45 trout and didn't take a step forward or back.

Male cranefly

 All of a sudden they turned off. We decided that there were cows in the water cress near the spring and they kicked out the worm like leatherbacks.

 I went upstream and kicked around in water cress and the magic turned on again and we caught another 15 trout.  The trout literally destroyed John's yellow soft hackle and he had to change to an orange.

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