Cripple patterns

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
I've been trying to tie a Baetis cripple from looking at pictures in catalogs or online. But I'm feeling I'm not getting the hackle on right. And they get real tired of me over at Gary's when I stand around reading their books for hours and only buy a package of chenille.

I figured I'd just tie a pheasant tail nymph without the copper wire and put a hair wing on backwards. But most patterns show a couple wraps of dun hackle around the wing tie-on. I thought maybe I should tie in the hackle butt before the wing goes on, but then should I tie off the hackle tip on top of the wing too? And tie the fly off on top of the wing too? It seems like the eye is hard to get to once the wing goes on.

o mykiss

Active Member
Take this with a grain of salt because I'm not much of a trout fisher and even less of a trout fly tier. (In fact, tying trout flies is a good way for me to lose my cool; just isn't as easy as those big ol' steelhead flies that I love to tie.) Last year I was up at Chopaka and another angler showed our party a fly he was fishing with great success that he called a Chopaka Emerger. Despite the name, it looks more like a cripple. My recollection of how it was tied was this: (i) take a small pinch of deer hair about 1 1/2x length of hook, (ii)put deer hair in hair stacker so tips are even, (iii) tie deer hair in about 1/3 back from hook eye with tips facing back and clip of butts, (iv) take thread back to just before the bend, then dub forward with (I think) your basic hare's ear dubbing all the way to the hook eye (i.e., dub around the wing all the way to the front of the hook, (v) then bend the wing forward over the hook and tie it down right behind the hook eye. I do not recall any hackle at all on this fly.


The hackle goes on top of the wing. When you tie the wing down create a "thread base" onto which you will tie in the hackle. Check out the Quigley Cripple patterns @ Open the "Archive of Patterns" and enter a search for "cripple." Many of these patterns have instructions.

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