Madison Guide Cripple


A nice emerger-style attractor for the pockety water of the Madison.

Materials & Components 
White poly yarn
Peacock herl colored to suit
Zelon colored to suit
Danville 6/0 colored to suit
TMC 2457 14 – 16
Saddle colored to suit (I prefer grizzly)

Rowan Nyman ties flies for Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone and has done great work over the past few years simplifying complex patterns. A lot of his tweaks have involved using easy-to-work-with synthetics when tricky-to-handle natural hair was used in the past. This fly takes a cue from his dead-simple wing style and adapts it to an emerger.

The hanging body and shuck make this fly deadly on even the most heavily pressured streams.

The original pattern uses epeorus died zelon and a light cahill thread, but I prefer to use a rusty brown thread and light dun zelon.

Start by wrapping your thread on the hook shank and then tie in a length of zelon.

Secure the zelon with touching wraps down around the bend and back up to the thorax.

Trim zelon to length (a little less than the length of the hook).

Tie in your peacock, build up a thorax, tie peacock down and trim.

Tie in polyarn with a hooks length of yarn above the tie-in point. Trim excess leaving a short butt of yarn.

Tie in hackle and wrap three turns behind wing (on top of butt) and four or five turns in front.

Whip finish.

Clip notch in bottom of hackle to insure that fly floats upright.

Watch a video of Craig Mathews tying the Madison Guide Cripple.


said on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I've fished this in the original colors, but this looks really nice. It also seems like it's a lot easier to tie than the Film Critic or other similar flies.

said on Thursday, August 30th, 2012

That's a good-looking bug. What other color combinations have you had luck with?

said on Thursday, August 30th, 2012

I’ve tied them in the lighter original colors (Cahill thread, epeorus died zelon), a straight brown with natural peacock and an olive body with gold synthetic peacock. I’ve had decent luck with all of them, but the rusty brown body seems like it may outfish the other colors.

said on Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Thanks! I'll have to tie up a few tonight and give them a shot on some of our streams out east.

said on Monday, November 11th, 2013

What style of bug is that fly an imitation of?  Sorry for the novice question but i'm trying to see if I could apply that fly on rivers in the southeast and would like to know if that's more of an attractor or something I could use during a hatch.



said on Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

I've had great luck using it both as an attractor and fishing it to rising fish.

If you want to use it as a specific bug, just change the colors to suit. I've also used a good number of them tied up in drab adams-style colors that have worked in a variety of hatches.


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