This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Quigley Cripple, developed by Bob Quigley in the late 1970’s for Northern California’s Fall River. Seems like Northern California is the birthplace of several flies I like.

Here is my Green Drake Quigley Cripple.

Quigley Cripple |

As the story goes, Bob was fishing a Humpy and catching fish with it. The wing got chewed up and he caught many more fish with the tattered fly. That got him thinking. Perhaps he should tie a fly with a wing facing forward. The result was the Quigley Cripple. I read where he is credited with inventing the term “cripple” to describe this form of mayfly.

The fly represents a mayfly emerging from the nymphal shuck. Many fish key on struggling bugs as they are easy picken’s. Imitating this stage of insect can provide a great day of fishing.

The tail and body should be the color of the real nymph, whereas the thorax and wing will represent an adult trying to get free. A key identifying feature of the Quigley Cripple is the forward facing wing.

You’ll find many more fly patterns these days with forward facing wings – the Mayfly Cripple from Blue Ribbon Flies and the CDC Last Chance Cripple from Rene Harrop are a couple that quickly come to mind. 

In my experience, fish key on cripples as they are easier to catch and don’t have to worry about them flying off.

Green Drakes will be hatching in the next few weeks. I think I’ll sit down at the tying bench and tie a few more.

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