tied by Rene Harrop, photo by Hans Willenmann

Last Chance Cripple

Cripples will often do the trick when trout are being selective.  The fact that a may fly has become disabled on its way into morphing a dun leaves it more vunerable and makes it an easy target which trout recognize.  This pattern was developed by Rene Harrop, a western tier, to entice selective trout on the Henrys Fork in Idaho where he lives and has his shop.  The fly shown above is more of a tying technique as opposed to a specific pattern.  If you Google "Last Chance Cripple" you will find a number of different videos of different may flies tied using Rene's formula.  To view his technique and the particular tie pictured about go to this link:


For tying a cripple pattern for our area substitute material in colors to suit a local pattern.  For instance, aMarch Brown would require something like the following:

  • Hook:            dry fly, size 12
  • Thread:         light brown
  • Tail:               lemon dyed mallard or wood duck
  • Shuck:           bown Zelon (over the tail)
  • Body:            tan biot
  • Thorax:         yellowish tan dubbing
  • Wing:            tan CDC
  • Hackle:         cree or dark ginger grizzly or grizzly (in declining order)


If you don't have a suitable biot use dubbing, but the biot probably will give you a more effective fly (I suspect that is what Harrop would tell you).  The March Brown is just a suggestion, so for the Fly of the Month tie any may fly that you might prefer; however, use the technique described.  Incidentally, if you are not familiar with the use of biots in fly tying go to the reference section on this page for a tutorial.