This pattern has accounted for the majority of Steelhead that I have caught since I started swinging flies for Salmon River, NY Steelhead. I'm not sure how often the Steelhead see crayfish out in the lake or if they remember the crayfish trying to kill them when they were young, but I do know that they like to grab these under various conditions.
I like to fish other flies as well, but like you, I have some I keep coming back to year after year. This is one of them and I have been told that they work well in Maine for Smallmouth and have accounted for some above average Brown Trout in Montana.
I fish this like most of my swinging flies......down and across.......and HANG ON!!
There is some more to it than that, but I bet this fly will put you in a good mood too.
Tube: 1 1/4" long tube - diameter of 1/8" or smaller
Hook: Blackbird Sabretooth - size 4
Thread: 8/0 black
Antennae: GP tail fibers and Peacock Sword fibers
Ribbing: Small gold or copper wire
First body: Brown dubbing
Antennae/Feelers: Whiting Bird Fur - Coachman Brown
Claws: Hen Pheasant feathers
Mid-body joint: Peacock sword or Peacock herl
Hackle: Hen Pheasant marabou
Ribbing: Small Gold or Copper wire
Second Body: Tan Dubbing
Carapace: 2 Hen Pheasant feathers
(Recently I have been adding a small conehead to the front of the tube and also using orange colored junction tubing in the rear.)
Step 1: Attach the thread to the tube, wrap back to the junction tubing and apply some super glue to the thread wraps.
Step 2: Strip off about 5-8 fibers from a Golden Pheasant tail. Tie them on top of the tube right at the junction tubing.
Step 3: Strip of about 4-6 fibers from a Peacock Sword and tie them on top of the GP tail fibers.
Step 4: Snip of a 3"-4" piece of small gold wire and attach it to the far side of the tube.
Step 5: Spin some brown dubbing onto your thread and wrap the first body. Stop just shy of the midpoint.
Step 6: Rib the body with the small gold wire. Tie off and trim excess.
Step 8: Select two, nicely mottled, Hen Pheasant feathers and tie them onto the sides of the tube right where the bird fur is tied. These will be the claws and they should extend just past the Pea**** Sword fibers. Tie everything on good and tight, then trim the excess.
Step 9: Select a few fibers from a Pea**** Sword or use a few Pea**** herls instead. Tie them in at the mid-body point and wrap them to make a small joint between body sections. Tie off and trim excess.
Step 10: Select a fluffy marabou like feather from a Hen Pheasant. The stem should be long enough to make 3-4 turns. Strip off the fibers on the lower half and tie the feather in by the butt.
Step 11: Snip of a 3"-4" piece of small gold wire and attach it to the far side of the hook shank.
Step 12: Spin some tan dubbing onto your thread and wrap the second body.
Step 13: Rib the second body with 3-4 turns of gold wire. Tie off and trim excess.
Step 14: Wrap the Hen Pheasant marabou feather forward, keeping each turn on the rear edge of the wire. Tie off and trim excess.
Step 15: Trim off the hackles on top of the tube where the carapace will be located.
Step 16: Select 2 Hen pheasant feathers for the carapace. One should be lightly colored and mottled, the other should be dark and mottled. Strip off the fibers from the base of the stem so the lightly colored feather extends to the base of the antennae. The darker feather should be slightly shorter.
Step 17: Hold the feathers one on top of the other and tie them in at the same time, on top of the hook shank. Trim off excess and finish the head.