[Video] Baetis Cripple by Davie McPhail

Davie McPhail demonstrates how to tie a Baetis cripple in this fly tying video tutorial.

Baetis Cripple

The cold hard reality of the life of a Baetis fly is that many of the poor mayflies never make it to adulthood. Rather they die while struggling to break free of their nymphal shuck or through the water’s surface. While sad and tragic for the mayfly, Baetis cripples are a venerable bonzana for hungry trout.

Quigley vs. McPhail

Baetis cripple patterns are often tied “Quigley style” with a forward wing extending over the eye hook. Tonight’s fly tying video by Davie McPhail, one of my favorite tiers, incorporates a more laid-back style wing and a classic trailing shuck. Davie’s mayfly cripple pattern is designed to ride low in the water and to me looks like a little BWO that actually made it to the dun stage but just couldn’t shake his shuck and get lift off.

4 Tips for Fishing a Baetis Cripple

  • Fish on dead drift
  • Give fly a few twitches during drift to simulate fly struggling to escape nymphal shuck
  • Don’t be afraid to fish during a heavy hatch as cripples are easy for trout to catch and your fly just might stand out better
  • Fish with an indicator or in a dry-dropper rig as strikes are often very subtle and hard to detect

p.s. This video is one in a series on Baetis fly patterns including deep nymphs, floating nymphs, emergers, cripples, duns, wet flies and spinners.

Ken Sperry

About the author

Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.

Get Directions to the Best Places to Fish in America!

Check out our interactive map of over 30,000 of the best places to fly fish in the US. Get directions to access points, boat ramps, and real-time USGS stream flow data. 

Get App

Install
×