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Rick's Favorite Crappie Flies

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

There is always a danger in doing this as folks will think that I am some sort of expert. That is far from the truth but I do try to collect flies that are recommended for crappie and give them a shot. These are the twelve that produce for me in the most consistent manner. That is not to say that these are the only flies that can work.

Marabou Miss

The first is the Marabou Miss. This fly has a special place in my heart. It is one of the first flies that I ever tied and it still catches fish.

Materials Marabou Miss

    Hook - size 6 to 10 thread - orange or yellow.

    Tail - yellow marabou, body - white chenille.

    Wing - yellow marabou with silver or pearl Krystal Flash in it.

This is a variant with white cactus chenille for the body. Beads with a silver lining in the middle can also be used. Another variation is to wrap a little red floss on the hook just before putting the wing on to imitate gills. I fish it very slowly with 1 to 3 inch slow strips.

I have tied a few with a thin strip of white foam palmered up the hook before the chenille. I think it helps the fly to suspend a little better.

Next is the Thief, a Muddler variation. I like this as my spun deer hair leaves a lot to be desired.

Materials Thief

    Hook - Size 6 or 8.

    Thread - Black.

    Tail - Red hackle feather barbs.

    Body - Silver flat Mylar or beads.

    Underwing - Deer hair.

    Wing - Turkey feather barbs.

    Head - Black chenille.

I fish this fly very slowly and it takes some very hard hits. This fly works all summer for me.

Crappie Dark

The Crappie Dart is a fly that I received from Gary Miller. This is a fly of his design. I have not received permission to post the materials from him. I think it will be available from him shortly. It has worked very well for me and made my best list after one year of use. Can be done in silver or gold.

Crappie Charlie

The Crappie Charlie is a fly that goes a little deeper than some of the others but has worked well.

    Materials Crappie Charlie

    Hook - Size 6 or 8.

    Eyes - Bead chain eyes.

    Thread - To match body.

    Body - Rubber hackle.

    Wing - Marabou to match body.

This can be tied in white also. By changing the size of the bead chain eyes you can get it to fish deeper. This is a nice pattern for those days when the fly has to be deeper to catch fish.

Estaz Streamer

Estaz Streamer. This is a quick, easy-to-tie fly that has caught a lot of crappie and bass for me.

    Materials Estaz Streamer

    Hook - Size 6 to 10.

    Thread - Yellow.

    Tail - Yellow marabou.

    Body - Root beer estaz chenille.

    Eyes - Bead chain eyes.

I tend to fish this fly a little faster than the others but it does catch fish. This has been the best color combination for this fly.


The Perch-a-bou was a fly I had to try before I would believe it. It came in a swap that I ran and was like nothing I had seen for crappie before.

    Materials Perch-a-bou

    Hook - Size 8 to 10.

    Thread - Black.

    Tail - Grey marabou.

    Body - Copper braid or dubbing wrapped.

    Wing - Olive over orange marabou.

    Eyes - Bead chain.

I have caught a ton of crappie on this fly and a fair number of gills. I do fish this fly slowly. I am not sure what it imitates, but the fish do like it.

The rest of my twelve favorite Crappie flies next time. Then we'll work on the Bluegill Flies!

I hope that you can get out on the water. ~ Rick ziegeria@grm.net

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