Fly Tying Video: Tying the Green Drake Quigley Cripple

Tying the Green Drake Quigley Cripple fly fishing pattern

The Green Drake Quigley Cripple is one of the most productive emerger/dry flies of all time and right now is the season tie some. The green drake comes off in late June and through July on north Idaho waters and the fish pay attention. If you can’t match this hatch when it comes off you’ll forever regret your decision not to tie or buy some imitations. The trout simply kill these bugs when they get the chance, especially on cold days when these insects struggle to dry their wings and spend a good amount of time floating on the surface. On warm or hot days these bugs don’t come off in big numbers. Those that hit the surface don’t spend long there—their wings dry quickly and they fly away often before a trout can reach them.

This pattern can be tied in many formats, meaning pale morning dun, blue-winged olive, grey drake, etc. It can be hatch-specific and is a staple in most seasoned guides boxes. When I was first introduced to this fly I had an amazing day with them during a pale morning dun hatch. I went back to the shop the next morning and tied as many as I could. Later on, as I guided, I started tying these in the green drake style and had just as good results. I like the way this fly sits in the water looking like a mayfly trying to come out of its nymph shuck. The abdomen, when tied in ostrich, really has some nice movement to it as well. When dressing the fly with floatant I try not to get any on the rear portion and only on the hackle and the wing. This way the fly sits properly in the water. The fish see this bug as super vulnerable, trying to get out of its shuck, and will key on the cripple even when fully formed duns are on the water. This is a must have. Tie now or regret later.


Material List:

Hook: Dai Riki #8 270
Thread: 6/0 uni dark brown
Hackle: Whiting bugger pack Grizzly & Olive
Tail: Olive Marabou
Rib: Copper wire
Abdomen: Brown & Olive Ostrich Plume
Dubbing: Hares ear ice dub Tan
Wing: Dark Deer hair


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Tyler Balich grew up in Anchorage, Alaska where, naturally, he learned to hunt and fish. He moved to north Idaho 23 years ago and now manages North 40 Fly Shop in Coeur d’Alene. When not wandering the mountains for elk, or wading rivers for cutthroat trout, or floating down Montana’s Clark Fork River, he spends time with his wife and children.

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