Fly Tying: The Cranberry Larva
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Fly Tying: The Cranberry Larva

Though it was -9C when I got in the truck this morning, I know that we are almost halfway through March and ice-off is not all too far away.  Laying eyes on an ice-free interior lake you’ve been dreaming of since December is one of the best feelings in the world for an obsessed angler.

This tutorial covers one of my favourite ice-off patterns.  This fly has proven effective for over five seasons now in the early windows of spring stillwater as well as late fall and even mid-summer lake fishing.  The cranberry holographic Flashabou is (in my opinion) what makes this pattern.  It is dulled a little bit by the red scud backing but I believe that is a good thing.  A subtle amount of sparkle from the holo flash mixed with the true hemoglobin colour that the red scud backing brings is a deadly combination.

Do not be hesitant to make this fly one of the first ones you tie on during the ice-off period of the upcoming stillwater season!


Hook: Dai-Riki #270 sz. 14

Thread: UTC 70 Red

Underbody: Cranberry Holographic Flashabou

Body: Red 1/8″ Scud Backing

Rib: Red Wire (Small)

Glue: Brushable Zap-a-Gap

Attach UTC 70 Red to the hook shank

Tie in a length of small red wire.  This aids in the segmentation effect as well as providing durability to the fly.

Tie down the shank, cut a V in your red scud backing and tie it in.  Once it is locked in you can stretch it fairly aggressively without worrying about it breaking.

Attach one strand (doubled over itself) of Cranberry Holo coloured Flashabou.  This will be used for the underbody.

Wrap your Cranberry Holographic Flashabou for the body, do not worry about the wraps being perfect as this will all be covered by the scud backing.

Wrap the scud backing over top of the cranberry flashabou.  I prefer to stretch it out for the first two wraps, then apply little pressure when wrapping forward to form the body.  This exaggerates the segmentation effect.

Wrap wire forward, tie off, glue and pray for warm weather!

That’s about it!  This is a very easy fly that can really do a number on them at any time through the open water season.  I know one thing, this will likely be the first fly I fish upon putting the boat in an ice-free lake.  Fish will turn on these staple food sources like bloodworms, shrimp, daphnia and leeches during the first few weeks after ice-off.

Thank you for reading this article, if you are interested in getting on the water for a day this spring fill out the form below and we will put something together for you!








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