Behind the Fly

Behind The Fly - RIO's Cray Cray

Team RIO October 13, 2021

If you’ve never tried fly fishing with crayfish, we think it’s time you do.

Our latest crayfish pattern, RIO’s Cray Cray, was designed by RIO’s own Brita Fordice. As with all the flies Brita dreams up, she aims to ensure they function properly instead of just “looking cool.” Her micro crayfish pattern is no different. Brita recognized the potential effectiveness of these tasty morsels early on but couldn’t quite find one that suited her liking. Fortunately, the good folks at Ahrex released a curved Gammarus hook, which gave Brita an aha moment! The curved hook would be the perfect match for the pattern she’d been seeing in her head all along, and thus RIO’s Cray Cray came to life.

If you love fly fishing as much as we do (and you probably do), you know that fly fishing is all about the places you visit, stories to take home, and good times with your friends. Catching fish is only a bonus. Although sometimes, as anglers, we can’t help but find ourselves longing for the mysterious big fish of the season. Brita is no stranger to that longing. She found herself putting the Cray Cray pattern to the test at a trophy trout lake in her home state of Washington, where one seriously huge brown trout attacked her fly.

“The fish are healthy and huge, but to get one, you need to be on your absolute “A” game. By seining the lake previously, I captured multiple soft-shelled crayfish, most definitely the main food source for these enormous trout. To make this lake even more challenging, it’s complete with submerged logs and overhanging brush, making it essential to go “bass master” style and sort of give up proper casting technique to fish it. With no motors allowed, this can make fishing from a pontoon or float tube interesting. It took one perfectly placed cast—after multiple non perfectly placed versions—to get a 26” brown trout to attack my size six tan, Cray Cray fly.” - Brita

But it isn’t just trout who love and regularly feed on them. Crayfish are abundant in many watersheds, which means you can fish them any way you like. Target big trout, stalk carp flats or wade the shallows for smallies. The most important thing to remember when using crayfish patterns is that they mainly live on the bottom of any river or lake and prefer structure underneath rocks in a river or submerged logs at the bottom of a lake. So fish them deep and along the bottom. If you’re not getting any hits, try changing up your retrieve. Crayfish are best imitated with short strips at fast and slow speeds.

No matter the species or watershed feed fussy but hungry fish with the Cray Cray. Available in green, rust, tan, and sizes 6 and 10, stock your fly box for when the big fish are longing.