Doug's Crayfish

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This was a favorite pattern of the late Doug Christian.  Doug was a member of Ozark Fly Fishers and an accomplished fly tier.  This pattern has bought to net many fish for those who fish it.


Hook:Eagle Claw 630 size 6 or 8. This is a jig hook with approximately 3X long shank, Oshaughness6y bend; A smaller version can be tied on an Eagle Claw 570 #8
Tail:Black or root beer Krystal Flash. Top with light mottled natural deer hair tips. Size and tie deer hair tips over the point of the hook and extending just beyond the end of the fly. This will form a base for the larger head of the crayfish and the tips will be the mouth parts.
Body Carrapace:Tan furry foam. Start with a strip approximately 5/8 to 3/4 inch wide for a size 6 and use thinner portions for the smaller sizes. Cut a slight V and tie in the strip upright, but on the under side of the deer hair tips. Stretch as you wind back to the end of the fly.
Body:A light ginger dubbing mix of rabbit (1/2), tan antron (1/4) and gold Brite Lite chopped (1/4) or a suitable loose dubbing mixture. Ginger chenille may also be used, but the flash mixture seems to work better. The dubbing will be applied in three parts: a loose dubbing over the deer hair tips (head - 1/3); a loose dubbing applied in a dubbing loop for the leg portion (middle - 1/3) after the claws: ribbing and hackle; a tightly dubbed tail section (front - 1/3) unless you use a tube jig head.
Claws:Natural cottontail rabbit fur tuffs. Moisten slightly will allow you to size easier to extend, one tuff on each side about to the ends of the mouth parts.
Hackle:Medium large ginger variant 3 or 4 turns palmered over the dubbing in the middle third.
Rib:Copper wire secured at the midpoint of the hook and used to fib the over lay. Front half only
Weight:1/32 ounce tube jig painted tan. A small dumbbell lead eyes may be substituted and secured at the hook eye.
Marking Pens:Brown, tan and/or olive mottling marks on the over lay. Black for 2 eyes and for the two prominent bands in the middle parts. Fluorescent orange for the end of the tail and tips of the claws.

Tying tips: When pulling the overlay back over the completed fly, turn the hook over and stretch the furry foam slightly centering over the upright jig eye.  Cut the foam beyond the front of the jig for a tail of the crayfish.  Despite the number of steps this fly was designed to be an easy tie and still look like a crayfish.

Fishing Techniques

The crayfish is fished dead drift in the deep pools or twitched very slightly on the bottom of streams.  Expect to lose flies in the rocks, hence the attempt to be simple. When fishing weedbeds, use a predominantly olive version.  Stained water may require a black or dark brown version.