I have tied up the Crane fly, after one of my clients spent a frustrating day on the Elandspad river in the Western Cape, watching fish rise all day and very, very selectively pluck adult Crane Flies off the surface, exclusively. He literally threw every fly in his box at them, going home empty handed and disgusted that the Trout could feed so selectively. Primitive Crane flies of the family Tanyderidae are found in the Western Cape, which is what I have tied to match the hatch. However, Crane flies of the family Tipulidae occur throughout the country and are common in both still waters and rivers. The generic fly pattern used to imitate these Crane flies is the “Daddy long legs”, which look like a mosquito on steroids.


This picture is from the book “Freshwater Life" written by Charles Griffiths, Jenny Day and Mike Picker introducing the Crane Fly.


1.The tying ingredients.

2.Tie in the beige and orange polyyarn and rib the hook to just behind the eye of the hook.

3. Take a foam cylinder and colour the one side using the Copic E31 Brick beige marker.

4. Tie the foam cylinder onto the hook ribbing it with the tan thread about two thirds of the way up the hook and mark the top of the foam using a grey/green one touch GG5 marker.


5. Cut and shape your wings.

6. Tie in the wings.


7. Prep three pairs of knotted cock pheasant quill legs.


8. Tie in your legs.


9. Take some Blue Dun CDC Dubbing and roll it onto your thread once you have waxed the thread.


10. Carefully wind the dubbed CDC between the legs and tie off leaving a small gap behind the eye of the hook.


11. Pull the foam cylinder up and tie off behind the eye of the hook

There you have a realistic Crane Fly imitation, to be fished as a dry fly, these colours for the Western Cape, but should be successful throughout the country.

Tight lines.

Return to News