Don's Crayfish

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I first became aware of the pattern while fishing the Eleven Point River with guide Brian Shloss of the Eleven Point Canoe Rental.  Brian is located in Alton, Missouri just a few miles from Greer Springs.  Brian suggested this as one of his go-to-flies and the fishing results were not disappointing.  I would suggest that the fly originated with someone named Don, but know little else about the fly, other than it is a fish catcher.

Al Bourisaw


Hook:Dai-Riki 730, size #8 or #6Crayfish
Thread:Red - 8/0
Pinchers:Red Fox Squirrel Tail
Carapace:Pheasant Tail Fibers or Turkey Tail Fibers
Body:Dark colored yarn - black or brown
Hackle:Brown furnace or brown hackle
Lead:Lead wire or substitute .035 - 10-12 wraps
Epoxy:Two part clear 30 minute set epoxy

Tying Instructioins

  • Mount the hook and make 12 wraps of .035 lead wire on the shank.
  • Start the thread and lay a layer of thread over the lead.  Super glue the thread and lead.
  • Wind the thread to a point just behind the lead towards the rear of the hook.
  • Cut a width of turkey or pheasant tail fibers the width of the gap.  It helps if the fibers have been previously sprayed with a clear lacquer which will bind them together.
  • Tie in the turkey or pheasant fibers, shiny side down, at the rear of the hook.
  • Cut a clump of hair from the tail of a fox squirrel about the size of a pencil.  Clean out the small hairs and then even the ends with a hair stacker.
  • Tie the clump on at the end of the hook.  Using a bobbin, separate the clump into two equal parts.  Bundle wrap each part so that you have two pinchers.
  • Tie in the hackle by the tip with the dull side facing towards the rear.
  • Move the thread back to the eye of the hook and tie in the yarn body material.  Wrap over the yarn to the rear of the hook.  Bring the thread back to behind the eye.
  • Wrap the yarn body material forward and tie off behind the eye.
  • Fold the fibers of the hackle into a "V" with dull side to dull side.  Wrap the hackle forward (with your fingers, comb the fibers towards the rear as your wrap) and tie off behind the eye.
  • Pull the turkey or pheasant tail fibers forward over the fly and tie off.  Whip finish.
  • Mix an amount of epoxy and lay a film over the carapace - turkey or pheasant fibers - and head.  Allow to dry overnight.  (A drying wheel really works well to keep the epoxy on top of the fly.)


The crayfish can also be tied in olive using a dyed olive fox squirrel tail, olive yarn for the body and an olive hackle.

Fishing Techniques

Don's Crayfish can be fished under and indicator or stripped like a streamer.  Since the hook rides down on this fly, it has a tendency to snag alot.  Be prepared to lose a lot of flies.