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Emerger Fly, Caddis Emerger, Cripple Fly Patterns

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Emerger flies make up a very important part of a fish’s diet. Caddis emergers represent nymphs as they emerge from the bottom of the water column to the top. As these insects emerge, they become an easy food source for a variety of different fish. Most of your common emerger fly patterns will represent mayflies, dry caddis flies, and midges.

The emerger fly is designed to be fished in two different ways. The first way you can fish the emerger fly is just under the surface of the water. Typically, this involves a dry/dropper rig. Choose a fly that mimics the adult version of the insect you are trying to match, then tie a short 6-8” piece of fluorocarbon tippet to the bend of the hook of the adult fly. Select a corresponding fly and tie it to the end of that piece of tippet. Use improved clinch knots throughout this entire process to make life easy. The adult fly will ride high on the surface of the water, and act like an indicator for the emerger fly hanging below it. Any subtle movement of the adult dry fly will represent the caddis emerger being gobbled.

The second way to fish these flies, is to place dry fly floatant on them, and fish them right in the surface film on the water. Since most caddis emerger fly patterns are tied out of CDC feathers, it is very easy to get them riding low on the water. Because they have such a low profile to begin with, the best emerger patterns will often induce strikes that adult fly patterns will not. Especially on pressured waters. Some of the caddis emerger patterns, or a good cripple fly pattern, will out fish nymph flies and standard dries any day of the week!

So, the next time you are fly fishing, and you see plenty of adult insects floating on the water but nothing is eating them, tie on one of these flies and be prepared for battle!