Friday, January 13, 2012

K.I.S.S. Crane Fly Larva

Crane Flies are the largest of the dipteran family of insects and can be found everywhere.  There are about 14,000 distinct species all over the world.  Some common names are leather jackets, daddy-long-legs and skeeter eaters.

Many Crane Fly patterns imitate the larva.  Frank Sawyer’s Killer Bug and Walt Young's Walt's Worm are popular.  Depending on your location, Crane Fly larva will vary in size from ½ inch to 2 inches.

I’ve added a variation of a Crane pattern to my box, inspired by Sawyer and Young.  I file it under my Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S) rule.

I've written about finding a replacement to Chadwick's 477-wool.  My Rag Bug was a first attempt using rag wool from an old sweater to tie a killer bug variation.  Now I've found Patons Classic Wool Yarn (00229) Natural Mix in a local Michael’s craft store.  The color is just right, but I don't have a piece of Chadwick's 477 to compare it to.  (If you have any, I'd appreciate a small sample.)

Hook – TMC 2302
Size – 6-12
Thread – 6/0 Tan
Weight – .22 lead wire
Tentacles – Dun CDC
Body – Patons Classic Wool Natural Mix (00229)
Rib – .32 gauge Brown Parawire or Copper wire
Shell Back – Hairline 1/8" Clear Scud Back

Patons Classic Wool Natural Mix (00229)

Wrap lead wire to hook.
Bind down with thread.
Tie in CDC Tentacles.
Tie in wire, shell back and wool.
Wrap wool forward and secure.
Pull shell back over the top and secure.
Advance wire in open wraps to define segments.
Whip finish and cement head.


  1. Here in the U.K. Crane flies are terrestrial.
    They are also known as daddy long legs and all of the imitations here are dressed as dry and sinking daddy long legs. Can you tell me the difference between the U.S. version and the U.K. flies.


    1. I found this old thread and saw that you never got an answer. You may have forgotten long ago that you asked it, but just in case you return one day, here it is: Crane flies are like mayflies, stoneflies, and caddis in that their larvae live in the water but their adults emerge into the air. You are describing the adult phase, whereas the "K.I.S.S." pattern that Lou describes here imitates the larval phase.

      More here:

    2. Thanks for the link. The larval stage is found in the bank as well as in the river.

  2. Nice pattern, thanks for sharing.


  3. Send me your postal address and I will send you a (very short) piece of Chadwicks 477 yarn. If you ever match it please let me know.

    Regular Rod

  4. Regular Rod, thank you. I'll send you along any yarn that matches. Cheers.

  5. Semperfli out of the U.K. Now has some yarn that matches the old yarn pretty close. They are a new company available in the US, as of Jan. 2016. Check them out and see if it will work for you.

    1. Juan,

      Thanks, I managed to get three skeins. More than enough.