Missoula, Montana Fly Fishing
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Crane Fly

Photo by Steven-Mlodinow

Crane Fly Overview

  • Family:  Cranefly
  • Size: 10-14mm
  • Emergence: Late July through September
  • Emergence Time:  Afternoon

The Crane Fly barely makes Missoula’s hatch chart. Found on Georgetown Lake and the Seeley Lake/ Swan Lake area, it is also found on the Bitterroot river and lower Clark Fork river. But it’s such a sporadic hatch it can’t really be counted on. And just when you decide you don’t need your Crane Flies in late summer, there they are! Crane Flies prefer slow moving sections of the river, and still water. It takes a lot of things to go right to get enough Crane Flies on the water to move he fish, but it’s a good hatch if you find it.

Photo by Steven Mlodinow

Crane Flies are very sparse, and your imitation should be that way as well. They spread out across the surface, and can be a little active on the water. Twitching a sparse fly can be an exercise in futility, but sometimes it’s what you have to do.

Don’t lose your mind over the Crane Fly. It’s a lot like the flying ant. Rarely found, but when you do, they won’t take anything else. We all carry craneflies- I’m not sure the last time one got tied on!

Additional Stillwater Hatches