Fly Fishing with Crayfish Flies for Big Trout.
Our Local Fly-Tier/ designer/ Angler & mate Bevan Clinch shares his thoughts and experiences on fishing for big Trout after Dark with Crayfish imitations...
While the sound of throwing large and/ or heavy flies after dark to trophy size fish that may or may not be there, that may or may not take your fly, and lastly you have a fair chance at best of landing, may not be everybody’s cup of tea. All I can preach to those people is give it a go. This is the best chance in my opinion to at least hook your trophy fish.
In simple mathematics Big Trout = Big food + lots of it to maintain or grow . In my experience trophy size trout may be fine taking Nymphs, Dries and Baitfish during the day, but night time is when these fish really turn predator- especially Brown Trout! This often shy, spooky, elusive fish that dwells in the shadows and the deep goes to work on anything it can fit in its mouth- especially the local Crayfish population.
A familiar face- Dustin Habener with a large Koura eating Brown taken at dusk on Bev's Koura Fly.
Where to fish for Koura eaters?
Most freshwater lakes and Rivers with clean cool oxygenated water will hold abundant Crayfish. If there is plenty of structure like stones, weed beds, undercut banks, submerged timber etc it wont take you long to locate them. I once years ago caught a large 8lb Rainbow in a small Hawke's Bay spring Creek, lined both sides with Water-cress on a Nymph rig. Being a teenager at the time, I had to take it home to show Mum and Dad what a great angler I was, and we had to eat it for dinner. I was shocked to see in its stomach very few Nymphs, beetles, but full of Koura of various sizes from 5- 10cm in length I had never seen a koura in this stream ever!
My ideal setting for lakes is where you have a close drop off and stony shallows. Rivers are a bit different. I tend to fish the softer water near the tail of a pool or the inside edge of faster rapids. There is normally no need for wading. The fish will come right in the shallows to hunt after dark
When to fish Crayfish flies?
No real rules, but the last light of the day and into and through the night have been most successful for me. Koura are active then. I still fish Crayfish flies during the day but in dirtier water or dark cloudy days. The phase of the moon doesn't matter too much to me, just the darker the night the better.
What most Kiwi fly fishers would class as Koura patterns. A Red Setter and Woolly Bugger.Still some of the best patterns around for catching numbers of fish, but just not big enough of a fly for what I fish and fish for.
What Flies do I fish/ How to Fish 'em?
Simple- Big and weighted! You want to be on or near the bottom.While classic patterns like your Red Setter's, Craig's night time, and Woolly Bugger's work on a sinking line, you are limited to size of fly, gape of hook, and what the fly can do. Think more 3- 5 inch flies, heavy, wide gape strong hooks, soft moving materials, often articulated, etc. Now your throwing the big fish a meal worth chasing! Your fly is fished on a floating line and 10-15 lb leader. 9-10 foot leader is normally ample, but go longer if you fish deeper water. Each short strip/ pause in you retrieve is causing the fly to kick up off the bottom and settle again, with all the materials flowing around. Just like a natural Koura fleeing. This proves irresistible to big fish. A crayfish pattern can also be dead drifted on a river under an indicator like a nymph, and can prove deadly on days- especially when the river is rising before a flood.
No nonsense Crayfish/ Koura flies I Tie and fish (L- R) Bev's 'Jenny Cray Diet', Bev's Koura Jig, Galloup's 'Nancy P', Bev's 'Wool head Crayfish'
All of Bevans flies featured are available to purchase and exclusive to Taupo Rod and Tackle NZ. All are proven patterns on numerous trophy sized Trout.
Bevan Resides in Napier, Hawke's Bay, NZ with his Partner and young family. He lives and breathes Family, Fishing, and Flies.