Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Crane Creek Missouri
Crane Creek is a true spring creek known for its pure
strain of wild McCloud River rainbow trout. This tiny
stream is protected mostly by the fact it is difficult to fish.
Most anglers will choose to fish one of Missouri's
stocked streams or drive south to one of the nearby
tailwaters such as Tanneycomo or the White River in
Arkansas. That is the blessing that keeps the little
stream from receiving more pressure than it could
probably handle. It is thought to be one of the only
places left with the pure strain of California's McCloud
River redband rainbow trout.
Flies and artificial lures only can be used to fish the
stream and the daily creel limit is one trout over 18
inches. You won't see many on a stringer, that's for sure.
The stream, tightly enclosed by trees in many areas,
stays cool throughout hot summer days. When you need
to make fairly long, accurate presentations using light
leaders and tippet, the tree limbs makes casting a real
challenge. There are areas of the stream where the
stream is not so tightly enclosed but you will probably
find they hold the least number of trout. The ones in the
easy to access, open areas are very used to seeing
anglers and flies. Fooling them can be an even greater
challenge. Wherever you fish this wonderful little
one-of-a-kind trout stream, please provide it all the care
it rightly deserves.
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Crane Creek Missouri
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1. Email us with the dates you will be
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you a list of our fly suggestions. Please
allow up to 24 hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will
help you decide which flies you need.
3. Call or email us with a budget for
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Fly Fishing Guide to Crane Creek:
This is not an easy stream to fish.This little stream is a
tributary of the James River. It flows through the little
town of Crane Missouri in the middle of dairy farming
country. You want find any fly shops down the street
and you may not find many local anglers willing to
reveal their secrets about fishing this stream. In fact,
many of them would just as soon you went on down the
road to one of the tailwaters in Branson or across the
state line in Arkansas.
You can fish this little stream anytime of the
Fish can be taken throughout the winter
mostly on midge imitations.
Springtime is the best time to fish Crane
Creek because of its many hatches of
The trout are the pure strain McCloud
rainbow trout but that isn't what makes much
difference in so far as being able to catch
them. A wild rainbow trout is a wild rainbow
trout. It is the stream itself that take a lot of
getting used to. It is a fragile little spring fed
stream that like all other spring creeks, is
difficult to catch trout from or at least on a
consistent basis. That is a good thing it has
going for it because if it were not for that, it
would probably be highly pressured. Its "flies
only" and "catch and release" regulations
help, for sure.
Naturally, stealth is very important, but theres
a lot more to it than that. You must get close
enough to a trout to present your fly without
being seen. That isn't easy to do in Crane
Creek. There is nothing to hide behind
except trees and bushes and that is where
you fly will end up most of the time trying to
do just that.
Making a cast in Crane Creek is difficult,
much less doing it in a manner that a trout a
few feet from you isn't going to see you.
Another problem is that these little rainbows
have a lot of places they can hide. They will
go to the bottom of a pool or they will get
behind a clump of tree limbs that have fell
into the water.
Wherever you find one, it seems like it is
impossible to get a fly to it without hanging
up or spooking the trout. Some of this
stream flows underground and is a
problem many are worried about. It is also
a fact that even though it has excellent
shade in most places from the tree limbs
enclosing it, it can still get rather warm.
Some of the trees have been planted
along the stream, indicating a lot of effort
has been put forth to sustain the fishery.
The spring water comes out of the ground
at about 55 degrees year-round, but it
doesn't have to flow far on a hot summer
day to get warm and in some places, too
warm for the trout.
The fishing is far more difficult when the
water is low and clear. It is easier to catch
trout when it is high and slightly off color.
That is one tip that may be worth more
than all the others we come give you. If
you can get by with it, don't wade. Cast
from the banks. In many places this is
impossible but it will keep from spooking
the trout as much when you can cast from
the banks. As a final tip, I will say that this
is a very good place to use a bow and
Crane Creek Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and nymphs,
not guess work. We base fly suggestions on
imitating the most plentiful and most available
insects and other foods at the particular time
you are fishing. Unlike the generic fly shop
trout flies, we have specific imitations of all
the insects in Crane Creek and in all stages
of life that are applicable to fishing. If you
want to fish better, more realistic trout flies,
have a much higher degree of success, give
us a call. We not only will help you with
selections, you will learn why, after trying
Perfect Flies, 92% of the thousands of our
customers will use nothing else.
The hatches on Crane Creek are diverse and
numerous. One of the first to start the year
out is always the mighty midge. They are very
abundant thanks to the soft bottom. There
are burrowing red blood worm midges and
light green midges by the zillions.
Blue-winged Olives are the first mayflies to
hatch. They can show up in January but are
more plentiful in February and March. Look
for them to continue into April and May but
they will be different and larger species.
There's also a late season hatch in
September and October.
Little Black caddis show up in April and
early May. Cinnamon Caddis start
hatching in June and continue through
the Summer through late September.
Green Sedges are also plentiful in Crane
Creek. The rock worms, or larvae of the
Green Sedge or Green Caddisfly is worth
You will find sowbugs and some scuds in
the stream. These can be imitated
year-round with good success at times.
Sculpin, several species of dace and
other baitfish are also plentiful.
Terrestrial insects are plentiful along the
banks of Crane Creek. Craneflies, both
the aquatic and the terrestrial variety are
also plentiful. Ants, beetles and grass
hoppers make up the majority of the
terrestrial variety. These become more
important in the summer months when
fewer aquatic insects are hatching
The trout in this little stream can be very
selective and we are certain that you will
find the more realistic imitations at
Perfect Fly are a huge help in fly fishing
You can catch trout during the hot
summer but the fishing is usually better
early or late in the day.
Fall is considered by many to be the best
time for fly fishing Crane Creek.
Crane Creek Fly Fishing Report:
03/11/14 Our Crane Creek fishing reports
will begin in about a month. Check back for
updates. If you want to plan a trip, please
call or send us an email.
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Fishing Report Updated 03/11/14