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.