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10/24/2014
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Email a Friend Mayfly Cripples/Emergers
By Jason Akl

Although mayfly emergence on most good quality rivers are rather large, the actual number of cripples in the water at any time is relatively small. In all actuality most fly anglers really never pay any mind to these mayfly cripples because they are not able to see the water covered with these critters or fish feeding on them.

Mayfly cripples are very interesting because of there unique emergence method. The duns swim to the waters surface to shed their nymphal shuck and rise off the water surface but as fate has it this cycle sometimes never comes to completion. The cripple is a dun that never completely emerges from it shuck, staying on the water surface or just below it. It is amazing how trout are able to recognize and accept cripple patterns whether fished on the surface or underneath.

When fishing cripples anglers must be prepared to change their tactics. Trout will readily switch from feeding on mayfly emergers/cripples, duns, and spinners at the drop of a hat. Although you will be able to still hook fish with one type of pattern, keying in on what the fish are actively feeding on increases your chances of hooking trophy trout.

One key to fishing these patterns is to dress the front half of the fly with floatant and present the fly as you would any other dry fly. Long, thin tippets are a good idea seeing as you want to present the fly as naturally as possible, and with thin leaders and tippets these is less chance for drag on the water and possibility of spooking away feeding fish.

Tie this fly in sizes 12-18.

Mayfly Cripples/Emergers
Step 1 Start this fly by securing the hook into the vice securely and attaching the thread behind the hook eye. Clip a tip from a marabou feather and tie down to the hook shank so that it extends off the back of the hook eye about 1 times that of the hook gape. Additionally tie down a single strand of tan thread to use as a rib for the body.
Mayfly Cripples/Emergers
Step 2 Advance the thread to the point above the barb and tie in three herls from a marabou feather. Wrap these three herls forward up the body of the fly creating a buggy looking profile to the fly. Counter wrap the strand of thread forward up the body of the fly tightly binding the herls to the hook shank. Clip, clean and stack a small bunch of deer hair and tie it down to the hook shank extending over the hook eye. Cut the tag ends of the deer hair off square and bind the deer hair in place tightly.
Mayfly Cripples/Emergers
Step 3 Select a small fine grizzly hackle and attach it to the hook shank between the tag and tips of deer hair. Wrap the hackle three times around the hook shank and tie off. Loop the thread in front of the deer hair tips and create a small neat head. Whip finish the thread and cement the head.
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Mayfly Cripples/Emergers
Products for this fly:
Tiemco TMC 100 Hooks
Uni 8/0 Tying Thread
Wapsi Select Marabou Plumes (12 Piece)
Wapsi Deer Hair - Short & Fine
Whiting 100's Dry Fly Hackle
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