The Cranefly is probably one of the most overlooked insects on the Yakima river. A closely related relative of the midge with almost the identical life cycle. The adult Cranefly closely resembles a giant mosquito, but it doesn't bite. During the day you will see them fly around the grassy banks, but at night bright lights attract them and you will often see them hovering around your camp lantern. Most adult Craneflies that I see on the river are located in the Upper Yakima Canyon or around the Farmlands of the Ellensburg area where thick, soggy banks are prevalent. These are areas where the larva flourish.
After mating, the females doses the water with her eggs, often triggering eager responses from hungry trout. The eggs develop into a larvae, which feed primarily on organic debris. To date there are some 1,500 Cranefly species.
Brown Wolly-Buggers, Wolly-Worms, and Cranefly Larvae are all excellent patterns for imitating the larvae. I have found the Renegade or Double Ugly to be an excellent dry fly imitation for the adults.
For tying directions see our Fly Pattern Index!