Clouser’s Crayfish Fly Step-by-Step

Clouser’s Crayfish Fly Step-by-Step:


As a rule, crayfish fly patterns are generally of the drag and drop variety. Leaded dumbbell eyes or bead chain orient the hook point up with claws, either feather or fur, extending from the hook bend. These patterns rely on an active retrieve and mimic a fleeing and/or defensive crayfish.

In contrast, Bob Clouser’s Crayfish Fly is meant to be dead drifted like a nymph. Tumbling along the bottom, it mimics a defenseless crayfish dislodged in the current…an easy and irresistible meal for any nearby predator.

Originally tied as a smallmouth bass fly, this pattern (like many of Clouser’s others) has since proven effective on a wide variety of warm and cold water species.

3x-Long Nymph Hook (#2-12) 140 Denier (Brown) Material Pheasant Tail (Natural)
Mono (Black; Large) *Optional Material Mallard Flank (Natural or Orange) Materials Furry Foam (Olive or Orange)
Materials Synthetic Dubbing (Tan or Cream)Materials Grizzly Hackle Material Lead Free Wire

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Clouser’s Crayfish Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge or rotate phone to landscape)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Color Selection – I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but keep in mind the fact that crayfish come in a wide array of colors. Pay attention to what your local species look like and tie accordingly. Olive, orange, brown, gray and any other number of shades may be the ticket to success when imitating your local crayfish.
  2. Seasonal Sizing – In his book, Clouser’s Flies, Bob Closuer notes that he varies the size of his crayfish patterns dependent on season. While he starts smaller in the spring and increases size into the summer, the pattern may be different on your home waters. Spend some time testing different sizes throughout the year and see what patterns emerge.
  3. Substitutions – For once, the SBS above does not significantly deviate from the original. This should not preclude you from making substitutions of your own, however. Clouser, himself, ties smaller variants of this pattern utilizing turkey quill in place of Furry Foam.

Proof of Concept

Admittedly, Clouser’s Crayfish has yet to grace my line. However, with a few days near the Susquehanna in my future, I’m hopeful that smallmouth may be in my future.

If not, there are always the sandy spotted bass streams nearer to home…

Tight Line!


Clouser's Crayfish Fly Step-by-Step
Species Caught on the Clouser’s Crayfish to Date:

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