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Help? I hate craneflies but the fish love em

craneflies crane dry fly entomology

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11 replies to this topic

#1 RiverCred

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 10:44 PM

Hi guys, 

 

I was hoping some of you could share some knowledge with me. I live in Ontario Canada and I have had many a night over the years where caddis flies are everywhere but my fussy browns seem to key in on something else. It took me  a while to figure things out but often we get a significant hatch of small pale yellow crane flies in size 16-20  at the same time and the fish really do focus on them. The research I have done has indicated they are likely the species Dolichopeza tridenticula.  Now I can usually take one or two fish on a drowned soft hackle  but i have seen far too many significant fish refuse my offering. At this point I will usually avoid the dry fly opportunities and turn to a nymph just to keep my sanity. 

 

Can anyone recommend patterns for this long legged and difficult to imitate bug?

 

Photo of cranefly

 

I have also spoken with a number of guides who swear by a size 16 larva imitation drifted under an indicator. I have caught fish using these patterns but I am not convinced the fish are taking it for a cranefly larva as i thought this species grub like larva is purely terrerstrial? Do any of the amateur entomologists have any thoughts?

 

I really appreciate any thoughts on this.



#2 Piker20

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 06:37 AM

I've found that takes to craneflies or daddy long legs as we call them can be very splashy affairs. Fish often using a tail to drown the fly before supping the dead insect.
Our dries don't 'drown' so can be avoided if the fish have lots of choice.
I like the hopper patterns that don't pretend to be an actual cranefly but look good as a low sitting drowned leggy fly.

Also, I think cranefly fill the fish more than other insects so we only get a limited hit per fish.
Matthew 25: 35-36 "Out of every 100 men, 10 shouldnt even be there, 80 are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior and he will bring the others back. "No man ever steps in the same river twice"   Heraclitus, 5 B.C

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#3 tjm

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:42 AM

.Well, if they are hatching on the water as you say, ask how they got there from land as larvae?

In Missouri the crane fly larvae are usually aquatic, living in streams and lakes, but also in moist places such as under leaf litter in ditches and sometimes underground.(according to our wildlife division)

But with over 1500 varieties of crane flies in N America, some might be any where land or water.

 

The Killer Bug is supposed to a crane fly larvae, usually in larger sizes.

 

In that size, I'd try  a #18-22 midge pupa or larva, or mosquito larva in the film- they are near enough in shape that I could mistake them.  Or an Adams dry or a mosquito dry. Try trimming the hackle on your soft hackle- first thinner/more sparse, then shorter to a fuzzy collar. 

Thread jigs are often used under indicators here in that situation,



#4 rockworm

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 11:12 AM

Although some cranefly larvae are found in fresh water, I think most live in moist terrestrial habitats like leaf mold or rich soil. I have seen them in the hundreds emerging from lawns in Indiana. The hatch starting at dawn and being finished by lunchtime. According to Wikipedia Dolichopeza larvae tend to be found in and around mosses and liverworts (probably dining on rotting vegetable matter.)  

 

The Brits have some "Daddy Long Legs" patterns meant to look like the cranefly. The most prominent part of these patterns consists of knotted pheasant tail fibers (to represent the legs.) Considering the size of your adults I doubt you are going to want to be tying knots in legs that small.



#5 tjm

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 03:19 PM

I'll bet a cup of coffee that those in the woods and lawns never hatch on the water. If the hatch is on the water. the worm is in the water.

 

Just a thought, 1500 species in N America. If half of those are land based, and MDC says they aren't, that means the other half are in the water. I have read that cranefly larvae are not so often picked up as they bottom crawl, but are mostly taken as they hatch, true? idk, but they would certainly be vulnerable at that time.

I don't think I've ever seen crane flies that small, but, then again I would likely mistake them for midges or mosquitoes at that size.



#6 rockworm

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 04:45 PM

RiverCred didn't say his craneflies hatched on the water- only that there was a hatch of them. Nothing to stop the adult Dolichopeza tridenticula from flying over the water in search of a mate after emerging from the moss. They may even congregate there- in the free airspace over the water. If RiverCred has correctly identified the species then the larvae and pupae would not normally be on the trout's diet.  



#7 sandflyx

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 03:59 PM

copy this

 

Attached File  DSCF1149 (800x600).jpg   118.13KB   2 downloads  Attached File  DSCF1150 (800x600).jpg   115.5KB   1 downloads  Attached File  DSCF1152 (800x600).jpg   111KB   1 downloads


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#8 sandflyx

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Posted 23 January 2019 - 04:04 PM

larva

 

Attached File  crane fly larva.JPG   67.63KB   1 downloads


sandfly/bob

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"I TIE FROM BILLFISH TO GUPPIE FLY'S" !
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#9 Philly

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Posted 29 January 2019 - 09:26 PM

I've never seen a lot of surface activity for crane flies on my local creek.  Even the pan fish don't seem interested in them.  They range from the huge ones to sizes you're talking about.   I don't really fish either the larvae, a mop fly makes a good imitation.   Any dry pattern I've seen is just too bloody complicated to tie.  I would opt for a parachute pattern with a a buggy CDC body, especially with the sizes you're talking.   I've fished the Grand and the Upper Credit several times.  Crane flies were never on the menu.


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#10 Flicted

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Posted 30 January 2019 - 01:24 PM

If you are trying to imitate a crane fly to a fish, you'd best stick to the larval stage. Even then, many species can hatch and live as larvae in moist bark, leaf, or rotting wood litter. Adults don't see the water enough to cause trout to specifically target them. (in most streams)

#11 RiverCred

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Posted 31 January 2019 - 11:02 PM

Wow some great responses. Thanks everyone. It's useful to know that some spp. do spend their larval and pupal stage in the aquatic environment.

The crane adult looks lije a pretty descent imitation and I'm going to try it.

Philly- I have never seen this bug in the credit either but on the upper Grand near fergus it's a pretty common occurrence in late mornings in June and early July.

#12 brooknut

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Posted 01 February 2019 - 03:44 PM


I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.   Henry David Thoreau
 






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