Brian Smolinski of Lund’s Fly Shop came up with this simple cool cranefly larva pattern. He slathers us with details below!
Over the years I would get a few requests here or there for a cranefly larva pattern, but it was never very many. Since demand seemed low, I never justified stocking one, I always just gave excuse that a hare’s ear nymph is close enough. Well this past year cranefly nymph enthusiasts were coming out of the woodwork from all over asking for this fly.
After looking at several entomology photos of these critters and walking past the windows of the yarn store next to my own shop, the idea of a yarn bodied larva sounded pretty good. Not only does this fly look great, but it is pretty easy and fairly quick to tie.
Hook: Size 12 TMC 200R
Head: Dubbing Mixture:
Dark Hare’s Ear Plus
Chocolate Brown Hare’s Ear Plus
Dark Rainbow Scud Dub
Thread: 72 Denier (Danville 6/0) – Coffee
Ribbing: Medium UTC Ultra Wire – Brown
Body: Natural Mix Wool Yarn
Weight: .025” lead wire
1 – make a section of lead wraps around the shank of the hook approximately half of the overall length of the hook, and so approx. a quarter of the hook length is on either side of the lead wraps.
2 – make a few thread wraps over the lead to secure it while tying the ribbing wire at the rear of the hook
3 – then lightly coat wire with a adhesive of your choice. I use a UV Resin which hardens instantly under an LED ultraviolet flashlight. This not only covers & secures the lead wire, but creates a perfectly shaped tapered base to wrap over with the yarn. (see pic)
4 – tie in yarn at the rear of the hook making sure that all three segments of the yarn tightly tied down.
5 – untwist the yarn and separate each segment by running a bodkin or something similar in between each “strand”.
6 – pull all three strands of yarn so they are taught and lay flat. Begin winding the yarn forwards to the front of the hook, overlapping each wrap to create the desired bulk and taper.
7 – tie off yarn and rib over body of the fly with the ultra wire.
8 – trim excess wire and yarn, then use the dubbing mixture to dub head of fly.
9 – finish and apply head cement notes
10 – when head cement is dry, brush both the yarn and the dubbing fibers with a stainless steel dubbing brush, pushing the head fibers forward.