I clearly remember the first time I saw a Crackleback. I was guiding on Alaska’s Lake Creek in 1993, and my clients were a nice couple from Missouri. I took them to a stretch of river where I knew that there were lots of big grayling and suggested that each of them tie on a Parachute Adams. The woman said, “I’m going to try a Crackleback.” When she showed it to me, I was a bit skeptical that it would work, but she proceeded to slay the grayling for the next few hours. I was sold, and I’ve since used the pattern to catch all manner of salmonids, from Maine to Montana. It’s one of those dry-fly patterns that you can also strip below the surface to great effect.
In this great how-to video from Tightline Productions, Tim Flagler shows just how easy it is to tie a Crackleback. The key is to ensure that the hackle cants forward, and Tim explains exactly how to make that happen. Twist up a few of these and keep them in your box for those times when nothing else is working.
Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (here, a Dai-Riki #300), sizes 12-16.
Thread: Rusty brown, 8/0 or 70-denier.
Back: Peacock herl.
Hackle: Furnace or brown.
Body: Cream rabbit-fur dubbing.
Head: Tying thread.