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Spring crawfish: on the vice and in the lake

By admin - Posted on 25 March 2020

Spring Crawfish:  on the vice and in the lake

Jason Moshonas, Telluride Angler 

Spring is here and with it comes new and exciting fishing opportunities.  Most of the ice is off our local freestone rivers, however, the water is still cold.  Tailwaters still seem to be the better option, although freestone fish can be found, especially at lower elevation.  Another fine option with ice thawing are our local stillwaters.  I was able to fish one the other day, and though there was still ice in the center, the edges were all thawed.  It was windy and a bit cold, but once we got to the right cove, the fish were active.  Also, this reservoir is reknowned for it's crayfish population.  It's literally crawling with 'em.  So, I messed around with a few patterns at the vice prior to heading out.  The pattern in the pic below did quite well.  It is a bit of a hybrid pattern, utilizing attributes from both a Clouser Crayfish (furry foam) and a Bill Miller fly (bucktail pincers).  I have to admit I've been on a crayfish kick of late for a couple reasons.  They are fun to tie and equally fun to fish!  This pattern is weighted so it rides hook point up.  Thus, you can crawl it along the bottom like the natural and not get snagged as much.  



Best gear and technique to use when fishing crayfish in stillwater:

A fast action 6 wt. is my rod of choice due to wind and heavier flies:  Scott Radian 906, Sage Igniter or X in the 9' 6 wt. variety.  A sink tip line is best suited for this type fishing as well:  Rio Big Nasty Sink Tip WF6 F/H/I/S3 (complicated I know).  Cast out and wait for the fly to descend to or near bottom.  Mix up your strips to include slow pulls and fast, short strips to imitate a fleeing crayfish.  This is a tasty morsel to a fish so he won't want to let it get away!

One last thing regarding crayfish patterns.  They work incredibly well on both trout and smallmouth bass.  In fact, it's been said to be the #1 food source for Smallies.  Understandly so.  Heck, I love to eat them too!






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