Creedon’s Creeper – Modified Version
with John Hey
November has arrived! This is my favourite time of the year with the high country lakes open and a lot more water is available and with a few salmon showing up, it takes the pressure off the trout.
Trout in a lake have to move about to feed. In doing so they spend a lot more energy to get that food; whereas trout in a river have the current to bring their food to them. They can sit in a food lane, which is an area where whatever falls onto the stream gets channelled down with the flow and over the stationary trout.
Our lake trout friend has a beat covering an area sometimes over 30 yards long. He will patrol slowly along picking up tasty morsels till he gets to the end of his area, turns out into the lake and then returns to start all over again.
So casting wildly and covering a large area of the lakeshore is not always productive fishing. Lakes have areas that I look for like shallows leading into drop-offs where trout use the security of the deep, then patrol the shallows for food.
Weed beds also harbour food and trout work up and down, both inside and outside, searching for food. If you wear polarized glasses can tell different water depths by their colour variations.
The scum line, on choppy days, traps food that is swept onto the lake. This area is worth a look when searching for trout. Long casting is not necessary unless you’re “casting a big lure, as trout often cruise within feet of the shore and sometimes closer.
I remember fishing Lake Coleridge one summer, it was one of those rare fishing days when the lake surface was like glass. I decided to walk the cliff tops along to the right of the Ryton River spotting as I went. After an hour’s walk, I made my way down to the lake edge and slowly walked back towards the river. Ahead of me I spot ted a rise only two feet out from the shore and coming towards me. I had on my modified Creedons Creeper, wet it in my mouth and cast it out.
The trout was now so close into shore I had to lie down on the stones or he would have seen me and the fly was only three feet out. A short pull on the line was all that was needed. He moved over and took the fly. A sideways flick of the rod and home went the hook! The fish headed off to the far side of the lake, but my Sage had other ideas. A nice 41b rainbow came to the net.
The Creedon’s Creeper is tied to represent the dragonfly nymph and was invented by Canterbury fisherman Al Creedon. Being a chunky morsel trout eat them readily. Many other smaller nymphs and drys would go well too.
In a lake, trout do everything slowly’ so don’t jump out of the car, pull on your waders, and race in up to your arm-pits. Take your time, survey the water and see what’s happening. Check the wind direction and watch for any surface activity. Don’t turn fly fishing into a chuck and chance game only on very windy days do I use a heavy rod and line. Normally my 9ft 6/7 weight four-piece Scott will do.
If you strike as soon as you see the fish take the fly it can leave you retrieving the fly from the Matagouri bushes, and boy do they know how to do some fancy knitting with your nylon. Wait until the fish turns down with a dry before setting the hook and use an indicator when fishing a nymph.
To tie the Creedons I use a size 8 hook Mustard 3666 or Kamasan B175. Using a 6/0 Uni-thread tie in three cock pheasant tails, pull each of the outside tails forward, bind down then take them back and tie down. This gives you a tail that won’t stick together when wet. The body is normally tied with brown or olive chenille but I use a body of olive Antron. It traps air bubbles and gives a difference that’s very life-like. A body is tied into halfway, then tie in a wing case of turkey tail feather. Pull off three strands of pheasant tail and tie in your back legs making sure they don’t go any further back than half the length of the le4ngth of the tails.
Fold the remaining pheasant tail back to form the front legs making sure they are the same length as the body. So you will have front legs and back legs both pointing back at this stage. Do the same on the opposite side. Tie in a thorax of peacock herl, two or three long strands, wind towards the eye, then back towards middle and tie off.
Now take your thread one centimetre forward through the thorax, take your front legs one at a time, bring forward and tie in at that point with two or three turns of thread.
Wind thread through herl to the eye. Pull over wing case and tie off and whip finish. Apply head cement. Separate the curls of the front legs and you have a juicy mouthful for a hungry trout.