Big Daddy Crane Fly
I can hear it now- "Crane Fly... You mean that wacky giant mosquito thingy that flies out of my yard and gets stuck in my screen door?" Yes, and no. That ungainly and seriously leggy bug we know as a "Mosquito Eater" or "Daddy Long Legs", (They do not eat mosquitos and we also call a type of spider Daddy Long Legs too, confusing I know) is actually a member of the Order Diptera - or common Flies. From my research, the Crane Fly family is comprised of 14,000 species and is considered the largest single group, or family, of flies in the world. The Crane Fly we are almost entirely concerned with, unless your fishing above Cle Elum, Washington where some yards come in contact with the river, is the aquatic Crane Fly.
A really strange insect in a lot of ways. The first oddity is that the larva can be huge and not many anglers use them, which is a shame as the fly is simple to tie. Second oddity, the observant angler will see the larva along shore, as they migrate OUT of the water to pupate in the loose shore soils. A larva, fished similar to a Pat's Stone, is good year round, as they are abundant and fish see them often. The pupae is sometimes available when freak storms swell the river and high water washes the pupae into the river system.
When metamorphosis is complete, the almost comical adult Crane Fly is nearing death. Like many of our aquatic insects, adulthood is short in lifespan and frenzied in mating. After mating, they die. In Fall the fish really start responding to the swing/skate of the fly, something all Yakima River anglers should be doing at the end of the drift. When the fish really start keying in on skating, tie on a Crane Fly pattern and hold on!