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Tying a Shrimp/Crawfish Pattern



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(406) 777-1046



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Tying a Shrimp/Crawfish Pattern


Click on photo for larger image

Please Note:  Colors should be those best suited for the areas that you plan to fish.  Here in the Bitterroot River, we have seen crayfish in bright, almost neon, red-orange colors.  Elsewhere, blue, gray or tan are the dominant colors.  For a natural look, legs, dubbing and shellback should be roughly the same color - whites, tans, etc. Of course, brighter, or even fluorescent colors can be effective.


Shrimp/Crawfish Tying Instructions


  • Hook -

  • Thread - Flat, waxed, nylon

  • Body Dubbing - Coarse, Antron®

  • Legs - Centipede Legs™ from The Montana Fly Company

  • Eyes - Dumbbell eyes, weighted or unweighted - your choice

  • Ribbing Material - 

  • Glue - CA glue such as Super Glue® or Zap-a-Gap®

  • Miscellaneous - Epoxy

  • Markers - 

* Unweighted shrimp are tied in the normal hook position - hook barb is below the body. 
* Weighted patterns that are designed to be fished on the bottom should be tied with the hook upside-down - with the hook barb above the head.

  1. Make a shellback using River Road Creations' Crawfish/Shrimp Shellback cutter and foam or River Foam™ material or cut a similar shape using scissors.

  2. Select a hook with shank length appropriate to the length of the shellback you have selected. 

  3. Place the hook in the vise and attach thread at the bend of the hook, using flat waxed nylon thread.

  4. Attach dumbbell eyes, either weighted or unweighted, as you prefer, using several x-wraps.

  5. Take a six-inch length of ribbing material and tie in behind the eyes.  If you want antennae, tie them in now - projecting over the eyes.

  6. Winding back up the hookshank, attach three sets of evenly paced centipede legs® and return the thread to the bend of the hook.

  7. Trim the shellback so that the front will sit in right behind the eyes and the fan tail will extend over the eye of the hook.

  8. Tie in the shellback right behind the eyes with three turns of thread and lift up and away from the hook.

  9. Using coarse antron® dubing, dub the thread heavily or use a dubbing loop to build up enough bulk to form the underbody.

  10.  Wrap the dubbed thread from the bend toward the hook eye, weaving carefully around the legs and form a bulky body.  Take several turns behind the hook eye.

  11. Pull the shellback down over the body and use the ribbing material to form the segments as you progress back toward the hook eye.

  12. When you reach the hook eye, tie off the ribbing with the thread, then lift the fantail and take a couple of turns around the hook itself - behind the eye.

  13. Whip-finish and cut off the thread.

  14. Trim the legs and antennae to length.

  15. A small drop of super glue at the front and back of the shellback will add durability.  The shellback can also be epoxyed, if you want a shinier finish.


Tying photos pending. 
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