Craneflies are of the order Tipulidae, also known as Daddy Long Legs in their adult form, and rockworms in the larval form. They are, essentially, a giant midge, and resemble their smaller cousins both in the larval and adult stages. Cranefly larvae are rather large, from one to three inches and quite fat and resemble a big, drifting turd. This is the best description I can give and really is pretty accurate. Cranes bury into the river bottom and only become dislodged when high flows wash them out. Spring runoff and flushing flows on tailwaters push the cranefy larvae into the food chain and the trout relish them. This is a great pattern up on Gray Reef, as well as the South Platte, Colorado and Bighorn. Many waters are home to cranes, but the adults hatch at night, and so, are invisible to many anglers. Anytime you encounter big flows on your favorite waters, try this pattern. I like to fish it as a top fly in a two fly rig, under an indicator. The heavily weighted underbody often eliminates the need for additional weight on the leader, but depending on the water flow and speed, you may need to add a split-shot too. This fly was my secret ace in the hole back in my South Platte days. While everyone else was fishing worms and scuds, I’d throw the meat…it works, trust me.