Copyright 2016 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
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 Fishing Report:
04/08/14 No reports from anyone fishing
came in this past week. One customer
ordered scuds and Blue-winged olives and
will be fishing this week.
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(Bottom Of Page)
Fishing Report Updated 09/12/16
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send 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. Email us (email@example.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
04/15/14 One customer reporting catching
some trout on our BWO nymphs and
scuds. The weather is nice and warm and
the water in good shape, so let us hear
04/22/14 Customer ordering more flies
reported catching a few rainbows this
past week using Cream midge larvae and
04/29/14 No reports from this past week
but good weather is in the forecast
05/06/14 Water has warmed up some
and at good levels. Two customers
ordering flies but no reports from anyone
05/13/14 There is a chance of rain
forecast every day but Friday during the
next few days. It will be cooler with highs
in the fifties and sixties. Blue-winged
olives are hatching. One angler reporting
catching a few trout this past week on
05/20/14 We didn't receive any reports
from anyone fishing, we assume due to
high water levels. This coming week
should be much better with clear
weather forecast all week.
05/27/14 Water is in good conditon and
warming us some. One angler reporting
catching a couple of trout on streamers.
Expect BWO hatches. Scuds and Sow
bugs are also recommended.
06/03/14 Water levels have been up and
down some but stained water is actually
makes it a little easier to catch trout in
Crane sometimes. One customer
reporting catching trout on our BWO and
streamers (sculpin pattens)
07/08/14 Sorry for the lack of reports.
One customer reporting slow fishing
conditions but was able to catch a
couple. Another one reported normal
summertime tough conditions.
07/29/14 Two good reports came in this
past couple of weeks. There are some
BWOs and caddis hatching and
terrestrials are also working.
08/12/14 Cooler weather has helped the
fishing conditions according to our local
contact but few anglers have been fishing
during the past week.
09/02/14 Only one report this past two
weeks. A regular customer did well but
noted the water levels were very low and
fishing fairly tough.
09/16/14 No reports came in but much
lower water temps and good stream
levels should improve the catching.
09/23/14 One customer reporting
catching a few rainbows this past week on
BWOs and terrestrials.
10/07/14 No reports came in but
conditions should be good. There is a lot
of rain in the forecast but off color water
10/14/14 The creek is high and rising
more from recent rain. Conditions should
be good again by the weekend.
10/28/14 Still no reports from anyone
fishing. Conditions have been good this
past week. A little stain helps.
11/11/14 Still no fishing reports. The
weather is going to be much colder but it is
still very possible to catch some trout in the
spring creek water. Let us hear from you.
12/04/14 The stream is in very good shape
and much better weather is forecast. Two
customers reporting catching trout using our
BWOs and Brown Sculpin streamers.
12/16/14 Two good reports from regular
customers. They use midges, cream larva
and pupa, and BWO nymphs, size 18.
12/2914 One more good report from one of
the guys above. Conditions are fairly good.
01/05/14 No reports from the past week.
01/26/15 I guess all the die hard anglers are
fishing nearby tailwaters. We still don't have
any recent reports from Crane.
02/04/15 Two good reports came in the
past week. Both anglers were using size 20
BWO nymphs and both caught several nice
02/16/15 Very cold weather and heavy snow
will limit the fishing for the next week for sure.
03/02/15 No reports from anyone fishing but
much better conditions - warmer weather is
on the way.
03/16/15 Along with the warmer weather
came some heavy rains and high water
levels. We didn't receive any reports. This
week should be better.
03/23/15 One loyal customer caught some
rainbows this past week using BWO nymphs.
04/06/15 We have received a couple of good
reports lately. Good weather is forecast and
decent stream levels. Let us hear from youl.
04/20/15 The stream was fishing good
before the rain and it is forecast almost every
day this next week. Keep a check on the
04/27/15 Don't put your midges away yet. A
good report from a wise angler that used the
cream and red midge larva and pupa.
05/04/15 Expecting the best conditions yet
this coming week. Rain is forecast but that
should only help put some color in the water.
05/18/15 As usual we had mixed reports from
good to bad. Crane isn't easy to fish. Water
levels have been up and down. Lots of
hatches, mostly BWOs are taking place.
05/25/15 No reports from anyone fishing this
past week. Conditions remained good but
expect some higher water levels.
06/08/15 One good report for the past week.
Not much hatching. Scuds and streamers was
what reportedly caught trout.
06/15/15 No reports from last week. No change
we know of.
06/29/15 Lots of terrestrials along the banks
including moth larvae (inch worms), ants,
beetles and hoppers.
07/13/15 The stream is back high again but
should fall out rather fast with less rain forecast.
07/20/15 No reports from anyone fishing.
Stream still high.
08/03/15 Good stream levels, a few hatches
and a few trout are being caught. Midges/BWOs
and terrestrial insects are working.
08/10/15 One compliant of not catching any but
in taking to the gentlemen, it was obvious he
was not prepared. Crane Creek isn't a pushover
08/17/15 Tricos and Mahogany duns are hatching.
No reports from last week.
08/31/15 Still no reports from anyone fishing.
The weather has cooled off but is back hot
again but it makes little difference to the cool
spring water and trout. little BWOs should start
hatching again soon.
09/07/15 Still no reports from anglers fishing.
The weather is going to change and so will the
hatches. Right now, sculpin streamers, scuds
and BWOs should be the main flies to use.
09/21/15 Much cooler weather should really
improve the fishing opportunity. Lots of BWOs,
Mahogany duns and Cinnamon caddis hatcching.
09/28/15 The creek is running high right now
but will fall out fast. There is no rain in the
forecast for the next week.
10/12/15 The little creek is in good condition
and the redband trout are eager to take a fly.
You should begin to start seeing little BWOs.
10/26/15 There is rain tonight and tomorrow and
from Friday through the weekend. Right now
conditions are fine. Blue-winged Olives are
hatching. If the levels rise, use the Brown Sculpin.
11/09/15 A good report came in from last week.
Customer caught 8 rainbows on BWO
nymphs/duns. There is little rain forecast for
this week. Stream levels should be goodl.
11/30/15 It is raining as I write this but clearing
by tomorrow. The stream is high and stained.
Little BWO nymphs and midges have been
working. The water is in the high 40's.
12/14/15 The stream is extremely high and off
color. It is going to take three days or more to
12/21/15 The stream levels are back down low
enough to fish not wade. There is only a little
rain in the forecast this coming week.
01/11/16 The stream is still high but fishable
from the bank. It is stained and that often
helps. It should continue to fall back down to
normal. Winter stoneflies and midges are the
flies you need to be using.
01/25/16 Stream levels are back near normal
conditions. We didn't receive any reports.
02/08/16 The creek is flowing at near a normal
level and clear. Fish midges, reds and cream
larva and pupa, scuds, and Brown sculpin
streamers early and late or when cloudy.
02/22/16 Highs of 45 to 50 degrees, good
stream levels now, with rain tomorrow. We
haven't received any reports from anyone
fishing. Conditions are good.
03/07/16 The stream is okay as I am writing
this, but there is a lot of rain on the way for the
next week, so expect high water levels.
03/28/16 The creek is in good shape as I am
writing this but it has often been high and
stained. BWOs and midges are hatching good.
Scuds and sowbugs should also work good.
04/11/16 The creek has been high and stained
a lot recently but it back in good shape with no
chance of rain for the next week.
04/25/16 It has been great the past week with
good stream levels but on the way back up
with lots of rain coming. It can be good when
slightly stained and high.
05/09/16 The stream is back up and stained.
No reports from anyone fishing the past week
but sculpin streamers and BWOs, size 18,
nymphs, and duns should catch trout.
05/16/16 Stream levels are down near
normal and the water clear. Some hatches
are taking place and a good time to fish the
stream. BWOs and Scuds are working.
05/30/16 We finally got a good report.
Customer caught several bows on scuds,
dragonfly nymphs and BWO nymphs.
06/20/16 Craneflies are usually a good choice
of flies to use at this time of the season. The
water is down and clear, in good shape.
07/04/16 The creek is in good shape but we
haven't received any reports from anglers
fishing. We have several customers planning
trips during the next two or thee months.
Staying hidden from the trout is key.
07/25/16 A good report from a customer using
our Japanese Beetle. Terrestrials are working
good. Levels are low but rain is on the way.
08/08/16 (report from angler)
I fished Crane Creek yesterday and fished at
several locations including the Quail Spur Rd
bridge, the lower Wire Road access, and the
City Park. Caught fish at all locations, mostly
on a #14 foam ant and one on a #18 green
zebra midge dropper that I added when high
sticking through a faster run. The fish at the
first two locations were in the 10" range while
the two I got at the city park were both about
12". These were both caught on the ant. This
was my first visit to this unique fishery and I
was surprised by the remarkable strength of
these wild fish. I plan to return.
08/22/16 Stream in good shape with
terrestrials like ants, beetles and hoppers
working. Fish early and late in the day.
09/12/16 One report from a loyal, local
customer came in this past week. He caught
a few rainbows on ants and beetles.