Shafer's Gummy Crane

The Gummy Crane was born on a fishing trip with fellow Guide Chris Steinbeck. Chris had taken a seine and we found several very large crane flies. I snapped a picture and studied it for a while. How this came about is really funny. I was literally on the toilet, where the best thinking happens for many of us, and the idea hit me for this fly!

After about six months of tweaking, this has proven to be the most effective crane fly I’ve ever fished! I’ve had many others test it and they’ve had the same results. This fly dominates…period! I have put this fly up against the best flies in my boxes and it produced no less than five to one, and that’s in the winter time. This fly is not a looker, but trust me, this damn thing fishes like you wouldn’t believe. I’m very proud of this Gummy Crane Fly and know you’ll love it too.

Shafer Gummy Crane

Laney's Mysis

Laney’s Mysis is named after my Daughter DeLaney Shafer. My nickname for her is Laney. She’s a badass fly fisherman. This fly has been in Fly Fisherman Magazine, High Country Angler Magazine, and a couple books including Pat Dorsey’s new Book “Guide Flies”. I developed this pattern over several years guiding and fishing on the Blue River.

I fish this pattern under an indicator as an attractor fly or the second or third dropper in a dry – dropper – dropper rig. The other application for this fly is a secret so let’s keep this on down-low! I will also fish this in still waters as a chironomid in a three fly rig under an indicator or on sinking line.

Shafer's Laneys Mysis

Ella's Beast

Ella’s Beast is named after my youngest daughter Ella Shafer. This fly really fires my wife, Cindy, off because of the name but Ella is a Kickboxer and she’s a beast! This streamer pattern has many uses just the way I like it. This fly can mimic leeches and small bait fish. This is a big fish fly.

Some of the biggest fish we have stuck over the years have been on this fly! I will fish this on a streamer rig, usually a two streamer rig. I love fishing this one under an indicator as a point fly or as the bottom fly in a three fly rig. This is another great swinging fly when placed under the indicator. I’ll also add some strips with a pause for some outstanding takes. Ella’s Beast also does very well in still waters.

Shafer Ella's Beast

Thin Blue Midge

Thin Blue midge was named after the thin blue line. Some of you will know what I’m talking about. This fly was developed on the Colorado River but I have fished this pattern all over the west and it never disappoints. This fly when wet matches several different kinds of natural midges. The bigger sizes will cross over and match some caddis larva too.

This is another pattern I cross-over to still waters with very good results. I fish this under an indicator as the bottom fly with weight. You want this one to get to the bottom. When you see a midge hatch popping, let this swing at the back end of your drift it makes for some awesome takes! (I will cover this in future posts and videos)

Shafer's - Thin Blue Midge

Punch-It Caddis

This fly was named this because I say punch a lot! “Punch – it – in there” and “punch – it – out”, are a few of the sayings I have when I’m guiding; thus the name. This pattern has really proven itself over the years to be one of my most versatile. I can grease it and fish it as a dry. I can leave it un-greased and fish it in the surface film. I will use it in dry – dropper and dry – dropper – dropper rigs sometimes in all two or three positions. I will also use this fly in nymph rigs.

Punch It Caddis

Tricky Bug

This is another crossover pattern that I use all the time. Just a hint, it is a picky fish bug! I apply this fly in situations when fish are picky on their eating patterns or very specific hatches. The application of this fly is as a midge but it will cross over to the complicated Trico hatches we have out west. I will fish this just under the surface in a dry – dropper rig or as the third fly in a dry – dropper – dropper rig. I will also fish this in a nymph rig as the second or third fly.

Tricky Bug


There are so many different scud patterns, they are really a dime a dozen. This pattern sets itself apart from the others because of the tying thread. I don’t use the standard olive tying thread I use mono as the tying thread in this pattern to keep that crustacean look.

I also incorporate a hot spot on this fly. The hot spot mimics a dying or molting scud. This bug can also cross over as a sow bug. I will fish this under an indicator or on sinking line in two and three fly rigs.

Shafer's Scud


This is a very simple but a very effective still water pattern. I will also use this pattern in bigger river basins. Fish this pattern deep, right above weed lines, and in and around weed beds. I use this under an indicator in a three fly rig or on a sinking line setup with three flies.